The Truth About Plant Protein – Part 2

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February 26, 20243

Last month, we talked about plant protein covering the different types, how it is processed, the health benefits, and how it tastes. If you missed it, click here to read The Truth About Plant Protein – Part 1. This month, Part 2, focuses on the taste, texture, and mouthfeel of plant protein.

Plant protein is typically sold in powder form and mixed with water or milk to make a shake. Texture and temperature are the easiest ways to improve the taste. First, you need to start with the right tools. Because plant protein powders can be gritty, and some do not dissolve as well, you need to blend it very well. A drink bottle or shaker will not cut it. Try mixing your protein powder using a blender, a stick blender, or a food processor. This will make your beverage smooth without the gritty mouthfeel. The colder the temperature of the protein beverage, the more palatable it may be and the more aromatic compounds are less noticeable. The smell of the beverage will be a little more pleasing, which improves the overall tasting experience.

Another way to improve the taste is to sweeten it with artificial sweeteners. Many manufacturers of protein powders do this to improve the taste. They contain few, if any, calories. However, they can provide an overpowering or intense sweetness which leaves an unpleasant aftertaste. You might want to try your own natural sweetener, such as honey, agave, or maple syrup to improve the taste in your protein beverage.

The traditional way to have protein powder is to mix it with water. You can also try milk or fruit juice to give it a little more taste and flavor. There are several ways to consume protein powder other than a shake or beverage. You can add it to yogurt, baked goods, oatmeal, smoothies, soups, and sauces.

If you are a manufacturer of plant-based protein powders, we should talk. At LifeWise, we offer several products that smooth out the flavor profile, mask cardboard notes, enhance a fatty mouthfeel, reduce sugar, and more. Check out the many ways you can apply our flavor modifiers in your products by clicking here. Make sure to request a sample of any of the products you would like to try.

High-protein meals give you energy to change the world. – Protein Chefs


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July 31, 20230

The newest taste buzz is Kokumi! We all know the “Big Five Tastes” – Sweet, Sour, Salty, Bitter and Umami. Well, Kokumi is said to the be the newest taste sensation and potentially the sixth taste on our pallet. While it doesn’t have a taste of its own, it does provide a rich texture. Kokumi is a Japanese word which roughly translates to “rich taste” and/or “rich mouthfeel.” It’s kind of like the experience you get from drinking skim milk versus whole milk. You get a much richer and fuller taste drinking whole milk. It leaves a coating on your tongue and makes foods taste richer. It also rounds out sweet, salty and umami tastes.

Scientists have found that the Kokumi sensation is not owed to one molecule, but rather depends on an interaction or activation between various receptors and peptides. Researchers with the Ajinomoto Group managed to determine the chain of amino acids responsible for the sensation of kokumi, noticing that calcium receptors are activated by kokumi foods. As a result of the activation, the signals to the brain regarding textural mouthfeel, complexity, and duration of flavors are magnified. The Ajinomoto Group was then able to isolate the compound and create a powder that can be added to food, increasing its richness, roundness, and savoriness. A heightened experience of kokumi can be created by adding the powder to foods. However, it is also naturally present in protein-rich foods and fermented food such as alcohol, soy sauce, and fish sauce.

Kokumi has a bright future since it magnifies flavors and increases mouthfeel. The flavors pop and it also balances out flavors like salt does or increases sweetness in reduced sugar products. Imagine something tasting better and having less salt and/or sugar. It would be much healthier. In addition, it can be used to increase flavor in nutritious foods given to malnourished people and make food more appetizing for elderly people who have a diminished taste sensation.

(For more information on tastes, read our previous blog: “How Many Flavors Do We Taste?”)


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February 26, 20230

Although there is no definitive answer as to who actually invented the snack bar in the US, it is clear that it started with some healthy granola in a kitchen that ended up in bar form. They became popular in the 1980’s by athletes and fitness enthusiasts. They typically contained cereal grains, nuts, protein powders, sweeteners, fats or dried fruits. It was deemed a healthy and convenient, on-the-go snack that provided quick energy on demand. You would typically find them in the health food section of the grocery store.

Today, you can find snack bars in several grocery store aisles, like cereal, snacks, health food, and even in the candy aisle. You can also find them in gas stations, convenience stores, pharmacies, gyms and grocery stores. We have a variety of flavors to choose from, such as peanut butter banana with dark chocolate, s’mores, blueberry cashew, lemon meringue, and so many, many more. They sound divine!

Snack bars are deemed to be healthy snacks for when you are on the go. It’s no wonder snack bars are all the rage! You can throw them in your bag, have some on hand in the car, quick snack when you’re out and unable to eat a meal, they don’t require refrigeration. The global market for protein bars is growing quickly and expected to surpass more than $2 billion by the end of 2026, according to the financial analysis site, MarketWatch.

What’s the catch? Many snack bars are highly processed, high in salt, and loaded with sugar. “Many protein bars are really just candy bars with a lot more protein,” said Dr. Eric Rimm, a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Would you purchase a box of candy bars to have on hand as quickly as you would a box of snack bars (also known as nutrition and/or protein bars)? Probably not.

You want to pay attention to the nutritional content of the snack bars you choose. Check the grams of added sugar and protein, as well as the number of calories. Look at the ingredients. Nuts and fruit are good. What about the other items? It is good to be informed. You might want to take a look at your go-to snack bar and compare it to sweets such as candy bars, cookies, and bakery items. Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not saying don’t eat snack bars. They have all of the conveniences I mentioned above. You just might want to rethink whether or not you are eating something healthy for you. If that’s your goal – verify the ingredients or grab a healthy snack such as a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts.


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February 6, 20230

We’ve kicked off the New Year!  Now is the time when the highest number of people from coast to coast are focusing on decreasing their waistline and improving their health.  The start of the year is when the most gym memberships are sold, new diets are started, and healthy foods, like protein shakes, are sold.

Protein shakes have been known to help lower body fat, retain lean muscle, and to help you feel full and lose weight.  They are ideal for the repair and growth of your muscles.  Protein shakes can supplement your diet and help you achieve your wellness goals.  While there is a lot of debate on the timing of when you should drink a protein shake, pre or post workout, most recommend after your workout to help you recover and refuel.

This all seems ideal! However, the big downfall is that protein drinks usually taste as bad as they smell. They have cardboard or chalky notes, especially from plant-based proteins.  Or, they can have a metallic or chemical aftertaste from artificial sweeteners. The mouthfeel is also not what you would expect. It can be too thin like water, too thick (because it is disguised as a sugary milkshake), or gritty because it doesn’t mix well and you have protein floating on the top.

How do you make them taste better?  Some say to add ice and flavor enhancers such as fruit, nut butters, or even a shot of espresso. Natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup can greatly improve the taste. Spices such as cinnamon, even cocoa powder or vanilla extract can add extra flavor.   

How do you improve the texture? You can use a creamier base like milk, almond milk or coconut milk, among others.  You could also add ice to the blender to chill it and give it some bulk.  Others add a banana or avocado to smooth it out.

All of the items above will help improve the taste and mouthfeel of your protein shake.  However, if you are a manufacturer of protein shakes, please reach out to us for a free sample of one of our flavor modifiers to improve the issues mentioned above.  At LifeWise Ingredients, we have proven products that give you the ability to reduce the sugar in protein shakes without adding real or artificial sweeteners while keeping the sweetness you desire.  Doing this helps keep the calories down. In addition, we have a few products that are GMO-free and add mouthfeel back to no/low fat products. They can also eliminate acidity, bitterness, mask off-notes and aftertastes from vitamins and soy, and optimize the overall flavor.

Click here for a free sample.


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June 13, 20220

In last month’s blog, we shared how eating a healthy salad each day can help you to obtain the daily amount of vital nutrients, fiber and good fats that you need. The big question was, “Is this too good to be true?” Perhaps. There are actually a few common mistakes you can make with salads that reduce the health benefits, the primary culprit being salad dressing.

Salad dressings are like the icing on the cake. They add lots of flavor and encourage us to consume more fruits and vegetables, hence “A salad a day can boost your health!”

In an attempt to minimize the number of calories you consume you might choose a fat-free salad dressing with the thought that less calories in will maintain or create weight loss. Fat-free dressings are just that – free from fat, and they are primarily made up of water. Without the oil molecules, your intestines won’t absorb certain vitamins like A, D, E and K. Bottom line is that you need fat to absorb the nutrients from the vegetables and fruits you consume. It also helps to increase your fat satiety so you’re not hungry right after you finish that salad with fat-free dressing.

If you’re looking for less calories and fat, but still want flavor and all the health benefits of eating those delicious fruits and vegetables, you may want to opt for a light dressing versus fat-free, or make your own salad dressing from scratch. There are two primary types of salad dressings: creamy and vinaigrette. Creamy has a base of mayonnaise, sour cream, yogurt, heavy cream, etc. Vinaigrette has a base of oil and vinegar. The latter is probably your healthiest option, and it becomes even more flavorful with herbs and seasonings.

If you consume a light salad dressing, you may notice high acidic notes, a reduced fat mouthfeel or increased levels of sugar and/or salt. Bottom line, you want a flavorful taste, good mouthfeel and you want to absorb all of the vitamin and nutrient benefits from your salad. That’s why, at LifeWise Ingredients, we produce a variety of flavor modifiers to create a great flavor profile, improve mouthfeel, while reducing acidic notes, salt and sugar and all this while our product lands on the ingredient declaration under ‘Natural Flavors”. A salad a day can boost your health and taste good too!

Eat your salad today!


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April 30, 20220

Most of us are health conscious these days. We want to be healthy, not just from a weight and/or fitness perspective, but healthy throughout our entire bodies.

Evidence suggests that eating five servings of fruits and vegetables each day is good for your health and lowers the risk of many health conditions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only one in ten American adults actually eat their recommended amounts of fruits and veggies each day. We could, however, easily include a salad each day to meet or exceed this recommended guideline.

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, “A diet rich in vegetables and fruits can lower blood pressure, reduce risk of heart disease and stroke, prevent some types of cancer, lower risk of eye and digestive problems, and have a positive effect upon blood sugar which can help keep appetite in check.”

It’s important to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, diverse, and all colors of the rainbow. By doing so, you will receive a wide array of minerals and nutrients. If you eat a salad every day, the primary side effect you will notice is a huge boost in nutrient consumption. Here are just a few examples of some of the health benefits:

Leafy greens, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes are all common in salads and they are a great source of natural fiber which helps to reduce your (LDL) cholesterol and control blood sugar levels, as well as avoid constipation.
Citrus, berries, bell peppers broccoli, tomatoes and carrots are rich in vitamin C which serves as an antioxidant to protect your cells against damage and improves the integrity of tissues, like skin and blood vessels.
Raw or roasted seeds added to your salad will aid your intake of healthy fats. Olive and avocado oils found in salad dressings help as well.
Spinach, watercress, kale, broccoli, and Brussel sprouts are rich in vitamin K which plays a key role in bone health and proper blood clotting.
Spinach helps to improve the performance of mitochondria that is found in our cells to help produce energy, and to inform and power our muscles.
Romaine lettuce provides two key ingredients that help protect the heart muscle: folate and fiber. High levels of folate have been shown to assist in the prevention of stroke and cardiovascular disease.
The water found in vegetables hydrates our bodies and is necessary for youthful skin tone and basic bodily functions.

Let’s face it, eating a salad every day is healthy because you get vital nutrients, fiber and good fats. And, one of the great things about salad is that you can be creative and make it with whatever you have on hand, including: lettuce, vegetables, proteins, herbs, sprouts, toppings and a dressing. Not only that, but they are cool, crunchy, and fun to eat with lots of textures, colors, and flavors. They are delicious, attractive, easy to make, easily ordered at a restaurant, and are good for you.

Sound too good to be true? Well, there are a few mistakes people make with salads. The primary culprit is the salad dressing. Stay tuned for next month’s blog to find out how you can enjoy a delicious dressing on your salad without the added calories, sugar or fat.

Eat your salad today!


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June 15, 20210

Chocolate products have been a treat for centuries. Early usage can be traced back to the Aztec word “xocoatl,” a bitter drink made from cocoa beans. When Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés arrived around 1519, he found the beverage unappealing. Cortés added cane sugar and honey to it and brought the concoction back to Spain where it quickly became a popular drink.

Chocolate’s key ingredient is the fruit from the Theobroma cacao, a tropical tree whose name means “food of the gods” in Greek. Cacao (or cocoa) bean plantations are located 20 degrees north and south of the Equator. Harvesting the bean from the cocoa pod (fruit) is a multi-step process before it is ready for shipment to food processors worldwide.

While the refined processed product imports a smooth, velvety taste, the cocoa bean itself has natural bitterness and astringency. Manufacturers producing chocolate products, including snack bars, frostings, syrups and sauces, brownies, cakes, and beverages, are tasked with potentiating the flavor profile to its fullest.

LifeWise SimplySavor can help with this task. It is a natural flavor modifier which can be added to your formula to boost the decadent chocolate notes or even to replace some of the cocoa within it, while still maintaining the rich indulgent profile. The usage level (depending on application) of 0.1-1.0% by weight does not affect critical label claims.


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May 26, 20210

At one time or another, you have probably been at a tailgate or other social gathering that included hummus – that popular Middle Eastern dip and spread that is composed of chickpeas, tahini, olive oil and lemon. Some hummus spreads can include red pepper, garlic, nuts, and a variety of other ingredients.

Hummus is considered a healthy food by nutritionists, high in fiber and protein and low in sugar. According to the USDA, a typical 100 gram serving of hummus contains 10.71 grams of protein, 7.1 grams of fiber, 71 milligrams of calcium and 2.57 grams of iron.

Hummus’ main ingredient, chickpeas also known as garbanzo beans, also have antioxidant properties and a low-glycemic index, which may help in managing blood sugar levels. They also are a source of healthy phytonutrients, including phytic acid, sterols, tannins, carotenoids, and isoflavones. The chickpea is also a source of folate, zinc, copper, iron and manganese.

And, according to a 2016 study from the National Institute of Health, “The Nutritional Value and Health Benefits of Chickpeas and Hummus,” chickpea and hummus consumption may help prevent or offset the development and progression of diseases like cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes, as well as helping with weight management.

Although hummus is a “good for you,” food, it can also give off bitter notes. Chickpeas are earthy in flavor and have nothing to cover up bitterness. Too much tahini, too much garlic, too much lemon juice or blending paprika directly into the hummus can import bitter flavor. And when blending tahini with olive oil, the oil can react to the heat of the spinning blades and take on a bitter flavor.

SimplySweet & Smooth from LifeWise provides a solution to bitterness. It masks metallic notes, stops acidic and bitter aftertaste, improves mouthfeel with a full, rich texture, and enhances the overall flavor profile.

SimplySweet & Smooth also benefits plant/nut-based milks and dairy alternatives, nutrition shakes/smoothies, nutrition bars, and low-fat/low-sugar yogurts.


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