Fish-oil fortified yogurt helps you meet nutritional needs

Washington: A number of people seek increasing their intake of heart-healthy n-3 fatty acids, found naturally in fish and fish products, but find it difficult to consume the recommended levels.

Scientists at Virginia Tech have demonstrated that it may be possible to achieve the suggested daily intake in a single serving of a savoury-flavoured yogurt, providing an easily incorporated dietary source for these valuable fatty acids.

“The international popularity of yogurt and the health-promoting properties associated with probiotics, minerals, vitamins, and milk proteins suggest yogurt could be an excellent vehicle for the delivery of n-3 fatty acids,” said lead author Susan E. Duncan, PhD, Professor and Director of the Macromolecular Interfaces with Life Sciences Program, Food Science and Technology, Virginia Tech.

“Recent innovations in exotic yogurt flavours provide innovation opportunities. We tested different levels of fish oil in a savoury chilli and lime flavoured yogurt, and found that a 1 percent concentration of fish oil, which provides more than the suggested daily intake, could be acceptable to a large proportion of the general population, and have a potential market among health- and nutrition-conscious consumers.”

In a preliminary study, tasters could not differentiate between low levels of fish and butter oils in unflavoured yogurt, but they could discern yogurt flavoured with oxidized fish oil, which has a strong fishy taste.

A second panel underwent 6 hours of training so that they could accurately describe and measure lime, sweet, heat, acid, and oxidized flavour attributes.

They found the fish flavour more pronounced than the lime and acid characteristics in a chilli-lime flavoured yogurt fortified with 1% oxidized fish oil, compared with yogurts containing 43 percent or 1 percent fresh fish oil.

The oxidized flavour was higher in chilli-lime yogurts containing oxidized fish oil and a high level (1 percent) of fresh fish oil.

In a second study, 100 untrained consumers who were generally nutritionally motivated and aware of the health benefits of n-3 fatty acids evaluated the overall acceptance and flavour acceptance of chilli lime yogurt enriched with butter oil or fish oil.

Fifty percent of the tested group rated chilli-lime flavoured yogurt fortified with 1 percent butter oil or fish oil in the positive end of the scale (“liked extremely” to “neither liked nor disliked”).

Thirty-nine percent reported they would be highly likely or likely to consume the chilli-lime flavoured yogurt on a regular basis. The low overall acceptance of the product by the remaining 50 percent of the tested group may be attributed to the chilli-lime flavour or the lack of sweetness in the product.

These studies demonstrate the potential for consumption of the entire suggested daily intake of n-3 fatty acids in a single serving of savoury-flavoured yogurt, providing an alternative and easily incorporated dietary source of these heart-healthy fatty acids.

“Innovation of unsweetened, savoury flavouring in combination with the powerful health functionality of n-3 fatty acids and dairy components is of interest to a large segment of the health- or nutrition-aware population. A potential market exists for this population,” Dr. Duncan concluded.

The study has been published in the Journal of Dairy Science.


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