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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April 2, 20230

Consumers are growing more health-conscious than ever before. Because of this, the demand for health and wellness products is on the rise. Spices and herbs are replacing sugar, salt, and artificial additives. Consumers want natural flavoring, organic foods, and safe dietary supplements.

Spices and herbs have been in use for centuries both for culinary and medicinal purposes. They enhance the flavor of our food, and provide aroma, texture, and color to feed our senses. We use them to preserve foods, and many contain incredible nutritional and health benefits that protect from acute and chronic diseases. According to the National Institutes of Health, there is now ample evidence that spices and herbs possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antitumorigenic, anticarcinogenic, as well as glucose and cholesterol lowering activities, and they contain properties that affect cognition and mood.

According to Medical News Today, the top ten healthy herbs and spices are as follows:

  • Turmeric
  • Ginger
  • Cumin
  • Peppermint
  • Echinacea
  • Cinnamon
  • Chili Powder
  • Parsley
  • Oregano
  • Cardamom

Spices and herbs not only improve the taste of food but are also a good source of vitamins B and C, iron, calcium, and other antioxidants. It’s like having a medicine cabinet in your cupboard.

Why not add a little spice to your life today?


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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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February 16, 20221

Consumers love their snacks, but their tastes have changed from sodium enriched or sugary to better for you.

Mindful eating, a greater awareness of health and wellness, has created a demand for snacks that are plant-based, have increased protein, and reduced sugar.

In fact, limiting the intake of refined sugar was the second most widespread dietary preference/restriction among consumers in 2021, according to Euromonitor International’s Voice of the Consumer: Health and Nutrition Survey.

While high-protein snacks, bars and bites are popular choices as a quick way to boost energy and reduce hunger, they also contain highly processed ingredients like artificial sweeteners or high fructose corn syrup.

But when replacing key ingredients to make snacks healthier, it can result in a different taste, texture, and mouthfeel. So as much as consumers say they want healthy, reduced sugar products, they still want them to taste good!

To keep the good taste in protein bites, protein bars, baked goods, cereals, drinks, dairy products, and desserts, LifeWise offers SimplySweet, which reduces the sugar and/or other sweeteners without sacrificing flavor. SimplySweet masks metallic notes in high intensity sweeteners and makes products taste more like real sugar. Less sugar also assists in calorie reduction, a plus in combatting obesity.

 


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November 9, 20210

Pie is a traditional, favorite dessert whether it’s apple, blueberry, cherry, peach, raspberry, and countless more, the sweet and sometimes savory taste is an American favorite.

While we think of pie as a sweet treat, the early pies were predominately meat pies.

According to the American Pie Council:

  • “Pyes (pies) originally appeared in England as early as the twelfth century. Often these pies were made using fowl and the legs were left to hang over the side of the dish and used as handles. The crust of the pie was referred to as “coffin.” There was actually more crust than filling. Fruit pies or tarts (pasties) were probably first made in the 1500s. English tradition credits making the first cherry pie to Queen Elizabeth I.
  • Pie came to America with the first English settlers. The early colonists cooked their pies in long narrow pans calling them “coffins” like the crust in England. As in the Roman times, the early American pie crusts often were not eaten, but simply designed to hold the filling during baking. It was during the American Revolution that the term crust was used instead of coffyn.
  • Over the years, pie has evolved to become what it is today “the most traditional American dessert.” Pie has become so much a part of American culture throughout the years, that we now commonly use the term “as American as apple pie.”

Recent consumer surveys reveal consumers have a distinct preference for whole fruit and products that have fruit fillings because of the similar qualities whole fruits have — taste, naturalness and health. Plus, they are looking for products made naturally, free from artificial flavors and colors, and added sugars. They want a product that has a clean label.

Food manufacturers face a variety of factors in formulating pie and pastry fillings including texture, moisture, stability, shelf life, percent of sugars, pH, and of course flavor. The finished product should have the characteristic fruit flavor with no artificial or chemical aftertaste and mimic the sweetness of the fruit as well as the acid bite (because fruit is normally acidic).

LifeWise P-60M is a flavor modifier for fruit fillings and fruit flavored products. It enhances the fruit flavor consumers expect, adds zest while keeping the tart taste of acid, and masks off-notes.

It’s clean label, GMO-free and free of allergen-label requirements. No added MSG, HVP, gluten, soy nucleotides, yeast or other common allergenic ingredients. In addition, all are cRc-certified kosher and manufactured under SQF certified quality control standards.


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October 13, 20210

A Halloween staple, Candy Corn can be found in almost every retail establishment that carries food or snacks. Like it or hate it, this triangular shaped morsel has been around for more than 120 years.

According to the National Confectioners Association, Candy Corn was invented in the late 1880s by a Wunderlee Candy Company employee named George Renninger. Wunderlee was reportedly the first to produce the candy, followed by the Goelitz Candy Company (now the Jelly Belly Candy Company), which has been producing the candy since 1898.

Candy Corn was purposely designed to look like chicken feed and at one time that’s exactly what it was called. That came from an era when candy companies were mixing up slurries of mellow creme and molding the confection into the shape of pumpkins, chestnuts, turnips and other agricultural products. At the time, farmers made up about half of the American labor force and companies marketed agriculture-themed candies to children in farm country all year round, according to history.com.

Making Candy Corn

The basic ingredients of Candy Corn are sugar, corn syrup, and water. Later on, marshmallow and fondant were added and so was carnauba wax. However, since several brands make Candy Corn, their own ingredients are used. Some use corn syrup, others might have a sugar cane base or include different flavors for a taste twist.

The actual making of Candy Corn is a multi-step process. Per the National Confectioners Association, this is how candy corn used to be produced:

In 1900, it was the job of many men to produce candy corn several months of the year. Sugar, corn syrup and other ingredients were cooked into a slurry in large kettles. Fondant and marshmallow were added to give a smooth texture and bite. The 45 pounds of warm candy was poured into buckets called runners. Men dubbed stringers walked backwards pouring the candy into cornstarch trays imprinted with the kernel shape. It took three passes to make the white, yellow and orange colors. Originally, it was delivered by wagon in wooden boxes, tubs and cartons. The process is largely the same today, though now it involves more machine labor.

Since sugar is its main ingredient, Candy Corn tastes sweet. Candy makers have made Candy Corn more than just a Halloween treat; there is Christmas-inspired reindeer corn, Valentine’s Day cupid corn, and pastel colored Eastertime, bunny corn. However, each variation has the traditional vanilla undertones and buttery notes.

LifeWise has developed SimplySweet T for candies, snacks, cereals, beverages, pies and cakes. SimplySweet T increases tart flavor, masks metallic notes in high intensity sweeteners, makes products taste more like real sugar, assists in calorie reduction while achieving desired sweetness, improves overall sweetness, and brightens flavor.


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