Many consumers want to increase their intake of heart-healthy n-3 fatty acids, found naturally in fish and fish products, but find it difficult to consume the levels recommended by the American Heart Association. 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 yoghurt, providing an easily incorporated dietary source for these valuable fatty acids.
Their work is detailed in the Journal of Dairy Science®.
"The international popularity of yoghurt and the health-promoting properties associated with probiotics, minerals, vitamins, and milk proteins suggest yoghurt could be an excellent vehicle for the delivery of n-3 fatty acids," says lead author Susan E. Duncan, PhD, Professor and Director of the Macromolecular Interfaces with Life Sciences Program, Food Science and Technology, Virginia Tech.
Chilli and lime yoghurt with fish oil
"Recent innovations in exotic yoghurt flavours provide innovation opportunities. We tested different levels of fish oil in a savoury chilli and lime flavoured yoghurt, and found that a 1% 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 yoghurt, but they could discern yoghurt flavoured with oxidised fish oil, which has a strong fishy taste.
A second panel underwent six hours of training so that they could accurately describe and measure lime, sweet, heat, acid, and oxidised flavour attributes. They found the fish flavour more pronounced than the lime and acid characteristics in a chilli-lime flavoured yoghurt fortified with 1% oxidised fish oil, compared with yoghurts containing .43% or 1% fresh fish oil. The oxidised flavour was higher in chilli-lime yoghurts containing oxidised fish oil and a high level (1%) 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 yoghurt enriched with butter oil or fish oil.
What the study revealed
Fifty percent of the tested group rated chilli-lime flavoured yoghurt fortified with 1% 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 yoghurt on a regular basis. The low overall acceptance of the product by the remaining 50% 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 yoghurt, 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 concludes. - (EurekAlert, March 2012)
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