London: Adding calcium, Vitamin D and pre-biotic dietary fibre to a beverage made of whey can have huge health benefits for those who drink it, a team of Lithuanian scientists has revealed.
The scientists created -- and tested -- two different versions of whey-based beverages. Both the drinks had Vitamin D and pre-biotic dietary fibre added -- one was enriched with calcium phosphate and other with calcium lactate.
The aim of the study was to determine how much their chosen health-giving additives would affect the "physiochemical and sensorya¿ qualities of the drinks, as well as what effects drinking them would have on the health of volunteers.
"Sometimes consumers agree to compromise sensory attributes for other perceived benefits, such as nutritional value or country of origin of the products. However, if the sensory attributes of the product do not meet consumers' expectations, it is unlikely that such product will be used again," the researchers said.
There was no appreciable difference in the visual appeal of the two formulas and the one made with calcium phosphate did not taste as nice after periods of storage.
With taste being so important, only the formulation with calcium lactate was put to 30 volunteers against a control drink for further testing.
After 21 days of drinking the beverage, the volunteers' blood analysis showed a significant decrease in LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations -- changes which would be likely to have a beneficial impact on their lives.
"Nowadays, consumers can find very different functional products with the same ingredients and the same effect on health, so sensory properties of products should meet consumers' expectations in order to encourage consumers to include the product in their diet," the researchers concluded.
This open access study gives a fascinating insight into the design and production of today's "functional beverages". It also shows clearly the simple steps -- like choosing a certain drink -- we can take to improve our health.
The study was published in CyTA -- Journal of Food.