Formulation and Physical, Chemical and Sensory Analysis of a Novel Flaxseed-enriched Milk-based Beverage to Deliver Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Lau, Clara Sueling
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An increased interest in functional beverages is occurring, and omega-3 fatty acids (FA) are one of the most commonly sought ingredients to fortify such beverages. Omega-3 FA produce beneficial health effects, likely due to their anti-inflammatory properties. The majority of current omega-3 FA-fortified products include marine-derived omega-3 FA sources, often producing undesired flavors due to lipid oxidation. Little research regarding incorporation of alpha-linolenic acid in functional beverage formulation has been conducted. Alpha-linolenic acid is less susceptible to oxidation and may be a candidate to deliver omega-3 FA into the diet via functional products. Flaxseed is the richest plant source for alpha-linolenic acid; consumption may increase omega-3 FA intake and lower the omega-6:omega3 FA ratio, thereby, attenuating inflammation. Finely ground flaxseed was, therefore, incorporated into a chocolate milk foundation ("flaxmilk") to increase dietary omega-3 FA. An untrained consumer panel tasted and rated flaxmilk's palatability using a 9-point hedonic scale. A score of "6.0" ("like slightly") was targeted. A mean hedonic score of 6.35 was achieved, surpassing the targeted score and indicating an acceptable product. Sensory and analytical analyses of flaxmilk were conducted and compared to standard chocolate milk. Flaxmilk was significantly different in most physical, chemical and sensory characteristics compared to chocolate milk. A reduction in the omega-6:omega-3 FA ratio may attenuate inflammation; inflammation has been linked to osteoporosis. Thus, a secondary analysis of data collected from 202 women was conducted to estimate the dietary omega-6:omega-3 FA ratio and examine relationships between the omega-6:omega-3 FA ratio and total body and site-specific bone mineral density (BMD). The omega-6:omega-3 FA ratio had no appreciable association with any measure of BMD in the overall sample of women or in younger or older subsamples of women. In summary, consumers found flaxmilk to be an acceptable product, despite sensory and compositional differences compared to chocolate milk. The relationship between the omega-6:omega-3 FA ratio and BMD remains unclear.
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