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Functional Sweets


by Linda Milo Ohr

Functional Sweets
     andy is no longer just a treat for children.
     While still enticing kids with novel
     flavors, colors, and taste sensations,
candy manufacturers are also catering to
the more-mature population, offering health
benefits packed in things small and sweet.
    The growing trends in healthy living have
affected practically every type of food, from
prepared meals and desserts to snacks and
confectionery. This was evident in some of the
unique products showcased at this year’s All
Candy Expo ® in Chicago this past June. Dynamic
Chocolates, Delta, B.C., Canada (phone 888-515-
7117,, launched
its Botticelli ® Choco-Omeg line, a combination
of Belgian chocolate and omega-3 fatty acids.
Japanese-based N.I. Corp. (phone +81-72-875-
3034, introduced Pure Beauty
Strips, edible strips with skin-nutritive ingredients,
including collagen, ceramide, and hyaluronic acid.       in part, linked to the reported vascular effects          Promoted as a heart-healthy snack,
    In addition to omega-3 fatty acids and               observed after the consumption of flavanol-rich           CocoaVia™ contains a patented blend of
                                                                                                                   cocoa flavanols and cholesterol-lowering
antioxidants, other nutraceuticals are formulated        cocoa. Researchers gave subjects a specially
                                                                                                                   plant sterols from soy.
into candy products, offering heart-health benefits,     prepared cocoa drink containing either high or            Photo courtesy of Mars Inc.
energy, and overall wellness. This makes confec-         low concentrations of specific cocoa flavanols.
tionery a growing product area in the functional         Only the group that consumed the flavanol-rich
foods market. Ingredients like botanicals, vitamins,     drink showed blood vessel relaxation. The role of

Ingredients like botanicals, vitamins, minerals, and cocoa flavanols
                   are making candy, one of our guilty pleasures, a bit more justifiable.

minerals, and cocoa flavanols are making candy,          (–)epicatechin was directly linked to nitric oxide,
one of our guilty pleasures, a bit more justifiable.     a molecule used by the endothelium to signal
                                                         surrounding muscle to relax, thereby dilating
Chocolate                                                the blood vessels and increasing blood flow.
Dark chocolate is enjoying much attention,                   Buijsse et al. (2006) conducted a long-term
thanks to a growing amount of research                   study of elderly men that showed that cocoa
highlighting its health benefits, particularly for       intake was inversely associated with blood
the heart. Studies suggest that the naturally            pressure. The study measured cocoa consump-
occurring flavanols in cocoa may have positive           tion from cocoa-containing foods for 470 men
effects on heart health by promoting healthy             with an average age of 72. The median cocoa
blood pressure, improving elasticity in blood            intake among users was 2.11 g/day. On average,
vessels, and maintaining healthy blood flow.             men with the highest cocoa intake exhibited
    Schroeter et al. (2006) demonstrated that            lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
ingestion of the flavanol (–)epicatechin is, at least        Fisher and Hollenberg (2006) showed that

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                    Functional Sweets continued...
                                                                     of milk chocolate, dark chocolate,      Fortitech Inc., Schenectady, N.Y.
                                                                     carob, and a control on cognitive       (phone 800-950-5156, www.
                                                                     performance, mood, and task   , showcased three
                                                                     workload. Composite scores for          chocolate cluster products target-
                                                                     verbal and visual memory were           ing different health conditions.
                                                                     significantly higher for the subjects   Brain-healthy chocolate clusters
                                                                     who consumed milk chocolate than        were packed with 16 different
                                                                     those who consumed the other types      nutrients, including a complete
                                                                     of chocolate. In addition, the con-     antioxidant profile, calcium, and iron
                                                                     sumption of milk or dark chocolate      for improved cognitive function. The
                                                                     showed improved impulse control         heart-healthy chocolate clusters
                                                                     and reaction time in the subjects.      provided lycopene, coenzyme Q10,
                                                                         Heinrich et al. (2006) showed       vitamins B-6, B-12, and C, and folic
Each piece of Adora™                                                 that cocoa beverages and foods          acid. A bone-healthy chocolate clus-
calcium supplements                                                  rich in flavonols could thicken skin    ter was packed with calcium, vitamin
is infused with 500
                                                                     and reduce reddening. Two groups        D, and magnesium. Omega-3 fatty
mg of calcium, as
well as vitamins D                                                   of women consumed either a              acids, which have proven heart and
and K to help with                                                   high-flavanol (326 mg/day) or low-      brain health benefits, were featured
calcium absorption.                                                  flavanol (27 mg/day) cocoa powder       in chocolates by Ocean Nutrition
Photo courtesy of
                                                                     dissolved in 100 mL of water for 12     Canada Ltd., Dartmouth, Canada
Thompson Brands.
                                                                     weeks. The ingestion of high-flavanol   (phone 888-980-8889,www.ocean-
                            people over age 50 may benefit           cocoa led to increases in blood flow, and Omega Protein
                            the most from flavanol-rich cocoa.       of cutaneous and subcutaneous           Inc., Houston, Tex. (phone 713-623-
                            They studied blood pressure and          tissues, and to increases in skin       0060,
                            peripheral arterial responses            density and skin hydration.
                            in 15 young (<50 years) and 19               Mars Inc., Hackettstown, N.J.       Beyond Chocolate
                            older (>50) healthy subjects who         (, www.coco-            Although much of the attention
                            consumed cocoa for a period of , has largely contributed      in the confectionery industry has
                            several days. The results showed         to the research behind chocolate’s      focused on chocolate, other product
                            that flavanol-rich cocoa enhanced        health benefits. The company            developments and innovative candy
                            several measures of endothelial          developed a patented process,           introductions show that functional
                            function to a greater degree among       Cocoapro™, to protect and preserve      sweets extend beyond chocolate.
                            older than among younger subjects.       the flavanol compounds that occur       For example, in March 2006, Wm.
                                In addition to heart-health ben-     naturally in cocoa beans. Switzer-      Wrigley Jr. Co., Chicago, Ill. (phone
                            efits, chocolate has also been shown     land-based Barry Callebaut (phone       800-974-4539,,
                            to benefit the brain and skin. A         +41-43-204-04-04, www.barry-cal-        announced the establishment
                            supplement in Journal of Cardiovas- has also developed a        of the Wrigley Science Institute
                            cular Pharmacology included several      production method, Acticoa™, which      to study whether chewing gum
                            studies that indicated the benefits of   preserves the original high levels      may help maintain weight, relieve
                            chocolate for the brain. For example,    of active polyphenols in cocoa.         stress, and increase alertness
                            Francis et al. (2006) looked at the          In addition to providing the ben-   and concentration. Studies are
                            relationship between cerebral blood      efits of cocoa flavanols, chocolate     currently underway in the United
                            flow and a single acute dose (450 mg     has also been used as an indulgent      States, United Kingdom, and Asia.
                            flavanols) of flavanol-rich cocoa. The   vehicle to deliver other nutraceu-          Recent confectionery
                            results showed that flavanol-rich        ticals. Mars introduced CocoaVia®       introductions highlight other
                            cocoa can increase the cerebral          Milk Chocolate in October of this       nutraceuticals being added to
                            blood flow to gray matter, suggesting    year. Like all CocoaVia heart-healthy   sweets, including minerals, vitamins,
                            the potential of cocoa flavanols for     snacks, the new range of products       antioxidants, and botanicals.
                            treatment of vascular impairment,        delivers a one-of-a-kind combination        • Calcium. A mineral essential
                            including dementia and strokes.          of cocoa flavanols and cholesterol-     for bone health, calcium is found
                                Separate research studies            lowering plant sterols in a serving     in Adora Milk Chocolate Calcium
                            conducted at Wheeling Jesuit             size that contains 110–150 calories.    Supplements from Thompson
                            University showed that chocolate             At this year’s IFT Food Expo,       Brands, Meriden, Conn. (phone
                            consumption may enhance cognitive        several companies offered samples       800-648-4058, www.adoracalcium.
                            performance (Wheeling, 2006).            of chocolate that contained vitamins,   com). Beautiful Bones Bar from
                            Researchers assessed the effects         minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids.      E.B. Botanicals LLC, Montclair,

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             Functional Sweets continued...
N.J. (phone 877-696-2220, www.eccobella.              Nutritionals Inc., Orem, Utah (phone 801-              salivarius K12. According to the company,
com), is an osteoporosis-fighting chocolate           705-0555,, introduced               studies have shown that people with healthy
bar with calcium and vitamins D and K.                Chocollissima™, a dark chocolate formulated            breath typically have high levels of the
    • Botanicals. Echinacea is a popular              for women that, according to the company,              beneficial oral bacteria S. salivarius living on
botanical used in hard candies and chews              increases energy levels, reduces stress, and           their tongue. The bacteria primarily break
for boosting immunity. Guarana is an                  even increases libido. It contains borojoa,            down carbohydrates, not proteins, so they
energy-boosting botanical commonly found              a fruit grown in the Amazon, known for its             produce little odor. The gum helps restore
in drinks, but is now included in hard candies        energy-enhancing and aphrodisiac qualities.            the balance of bacteria to that found in the
and gum as well. Women’s Wonder Bar                       • Bacteria. Last year, New Zealand-                mouths of people with healthy breath. FT
from E.B. Botanicals is a dark chocolate              based Blis Technologies Ltd. (phone
bar formulated for easing symptoms of                 +64-03-479-5337,, launched                        Linda Milo Ohr,
premenstrual syndrome and menopause.                  Blis K12 Fresh Breath Kit in the New Zealand                      Contributing Editor,
                                                                                                                        Denver, Colo.
It contains soy, cranberry seed oil, flax,            market. The kit includes Blis K12 Fresh Breath                    •
chaste tree berry, and rose oil. Phytobase            chewing gum, which contains Streptococcus

 Buijsse, B., Feskens, E.J.M., Kok, F.J., and          on the fMRI response to a cognitive task in healthy    Kwik-Uribe, C., Schmitz, H.H., and Kelm, M.
 Kromhout, D. 2006. Cocoa intake, blood pres-          young people. J. Cardio. Pharm. 47: S215-S220.         2006. ���Epicatechin mediates bene��cial effects of
 sure, and cardiovascular mortality: The Zutphen       Heinrich, U., Neukam, K., Tronnier, H., Sies,          flavanol-rich cocoa on vascular function in humans.
 elderly study. Arch. Intern. Med. 166: 411-417.       H., and Stahl, W. 2006. Long-term ingestion            Proc. Natl. Acad. of Sciences. 103: 1024-1029.
 Fisher, N.D.L. and Hollenberg, N.K. 2006.             of high flavanol cocoa provides photoprotection        Wheeling. 2006. Professor ��nds that
 Aging and vascular responses to flavanol-rich         against UV-induced erythema and improves skin          chocolate consumption enhances cogni-
 cocoa. J. Hypertension. 24: 1575-1580.                condition in women. J. Nutr. 136: 1565-1569.           tive performance. Press release, April 29.
 Francis, S.T., Head, K., Morris, P.G., and Macdon-    Schroeter, H., Heiss, C., Balzer, J., Kleinbongard,    Wheeling Jesuit Univ., Wheeling, W.Va.
 ald, I.A. 2006. The effect of flavanol-rich cocoa     P., Keen, C.L., Hollenberg, N.K., Sies, H.,

                               Enzyme Development
                                1/2 Horiz No Bleed

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