Greens Supplements, Ingredients And Taste Perception

Green smoothie with spinach leaves

When it comes to greens supplementation, one requirement stands head and shoulders above the rest, and that is that supplements, first and foremost, must meet our daily nutritional needs.

But there’s another critical factor that is rarely talked about, and that’s taste.

Ensuring the supplement’s flavor is one of the essential elements of research and development; after all, what is the point of having a great supplement filled with all the vital ingredients if no one is going to drink it.

Supplements are designed to supply the body with several essential nutrients that help the body function efficiently. The goal of supplements is to “supplement” an already well-balanced and plug any areas where you may be nutrient deficient.

A high-quality supplement can provide the consumer with nutritional and psychological benefits such as improved concentration, boosted energy levels, and reduced stress and anxiety.

It’s become imperative for the producers of supplements to generate new approaches that are more innovative and efficient to assure the customer accepts the product’s taste.

Taste And Interaction

There is only a limited amount of research when it comes to taste in supplements, due to the complexities of such a wide array of elements and compounds, it’s almost impossible to nail down the correct taste (1).

Flavour itself is the relationship between chemical senses transmitted by the body interacting with nasal inputs.

When classifying taste, researchers use five categories:

  • Sweet
  • Sour
  • Salty
  • Bitter and
  • Umami

Some tastes and flavors cannot be classified as they result from unstable compounds reacting chemically either during the supplement’s production or storage stage.

High-quality nutritional supplements result from specific combinations of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, plant extracts, and fatty acids mixed to produce the final product.

The vast majority of these nutrients display distinct tastes, which unfortunately are not very pleasant; this makes it extremely challenging for manufacturers to “get the taste right .”

So it’s easy to see finding the correct thresholds for taste and nutrient availability is not only challenging for manufacturers but very costly and time-consuming.

Attractive Woman drinking greens drink

Manufacturers must pay specific attention to their ingredients’ sensory interaction with one another to ensure the taste is optimal and will be accepted by the consumer.

Natural sweeteners such as stevia and monk fruit are commonly used to help mask the bitter taste that most nutritional supplements display.

It’s an exciting and vital area of research. Moving forward, manufacturers must continue to look for innovative strategies and production methods that help make their supplements taste great while still providing the consumer with all the essential nutrients needed for daily activities.

Amino Acids

Amino acids are generally integrated into nutritional supplements for a wide array of reasons. There are nine essential amino acids. This means they are not produced naturally and, as such, need to be sourced from food or through supplementation.

Branched-chain amino acids like leucine and valine are regularly integrated into supplementation for athletes as they provide benefits such as muscle repair and enhanced recovery.

Other amino acids such as Tryptophan and their metabolites may have the potential to increase the mood of those suffering from depression or chronic fatigue and improve sleep quality (2). L-glutamine is a non-essential amino acid that is generally added because of its speculated benefit on the body’s immune and digestive systems.

Amino acids have unique taste qualities that show up across the five categories we discussed earlier. Scientists can confirm that when high amounts of amino acids are used in the ingredients of a supplement, the effect on taste, particularly powdered supplements, is amplified.

Let’s take a look at the amino acids and their taste profile:

Amino Acid
Taste Profile
Category
L-Tyrosine
Bitter
Non-essential
L-Aspartic acid
Bitter-Salty-Sour
Non-essential
L-Glutamic Acid
Bitter-Salty-Sour
Non-essential
L-Cysteine
Sulphurous
Non-essential
L-Serine
Sweet
Non-essential
L-Arginine
Bitter
Non-essential
L-Histidine
Bitter
Essential
L-Lysine
Bitter-Salty-Sweet
Essential
L-threonine
Sweet-Bitter
Essential
L-Methionine
Bitter
Essential
L-Tryptophan
Bitter
Essential
L-Phenylalanine
Bitter
Essential
L-Leucine
Bitter
Essential
L-Valine
Bitter-Sweet
Essential
L-Isoleucine
Bitter
Essential

Vitamins

Vitamins are elements that have no energetic value yet are absolutely essential for our body’s efficient functioning. At this stage in time, scientists have identified thirteen vitamins that have been separated into two categories.

All of the vitamins mentioned are utilized simultaneously as lipids and consequently stored in fat tissue.

The thirteen vitamins are classified by solubility, either water or fat-soluble.

Our bodies are unable to naturally produce vitamins, with the exception being Vitamin D and K, so getting our vitamins from quality food and nutritional supplements is essential.

vitamins and minerals on spoon

Vitamins are linked to many physiological processes, including but not limited to Coenzyme function, electron and proton transport, membrane stabilization, and hormonal and gustatory function.

Vitamin K, for example, is essential for keeping the optimal levels of coagulation, while on the other hand, ascorbic acid contains very high levels of antioxidant properties. Generally, most people can get the required essential vitamin intake from eating a healthy, well-balanced diet.

However, some cases may lead to nutrient deficiencies such as particular diseases or specific drug therapies.

Vitamins are manufactured in several different forms, such as capsules, tablets, liquid, and powder. Their application’s central dilemma as nutritional supplements is their adverse perceptual sensations, like an off or after taste.

Vitamin
Taste Profile
Category
Vitamin B8
N/A
Water Soluble
Vitamin B6
Slightly bitter
Water Soluble
Vitamin B5
Sweet-slightly bitter
Water Soluble
Vitamin B12
Tasteless
Water Soluble
Vitamin B2
Extremely bitter
Water Soluble
Vitamin B1
Extremely sour
Water Soluble
Vitamin C
Strong sour
Water Soluble
Vitamin B3
Extremely bitter
Water Soluble
Vitamin B9
Tasteless
Water Soluble
Vitamin E
Repulsive taste
Fat Soluble
Vitamin K
Slightly sweet
Fat Soluble
Vitamin A
Chemical taste
Fat Soluble
Vitamin D
Tasteless
Fat Soluble

Minerals

To operate efficiently, our body needs essential minerals; they help support everything from maintaining a robust immune system, microbiome health to building healthy teeth and bones.

Minerals also play a vital role in curbing the number of fluids in and out of cells and help convert food into energy.

There is no single food, drink or meal replacement that contains all the essential minerals the body requires, and as such, supplementation plays a vital role in making sure we get the required amounts.

Fruits, dairy, and vegetables are excellent sources of minerals.

Maintaining a healthy diet generally provides adequate minerals levels; however, lifestyle habits, food choices, and other factors can hinder the uptake of essential minerals for absorption.

Essential Minerals are:

  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Chloride and
  • Sulfur

The body requires trace minerals in much smaller amounts; they are:

  • Iron
  • Manganese
  • Copper
  • Iodine
  • Zinc
  • Cobalt
  • Fluoride and
  • Selenium

Although these are trace minerals, many of them, like iron, are essential in a broad range of metabolic processes and, if deficient, can lead to severe long-term chronic disease.

To date, there is minimal research and information available regarding the taste properties of minerals, and scientists see it to be a very complex area of study. In this sense, it isn’t easy to understand the role they play in the tastes of supplements.

natural sweeteners stevia leaf

Stevia

Stevia is a natural sweetener used by many greens supplements to help mask the bitter taste given off by the nutritional compounds in the product. The plant itself is native to South America and incredibly is 150 times sweeter than sugar.

Apart from being great tasting, stevia contains ZERO calories, and the taste is similar to that of licorice.

The Food and Drug Administration acknowledges Stevia as being “Generally Recognised As Safe” or GRAS. Globally, Stevia differs from region to region to country on its validity; however, in Japan, Stevia has been acknowledged and utilized as a natural sweetener since the early 1960s.

PROS

  • No Calories
  • Stevia is Heat stable
  • ph stable
  • Stevia is non-fermentable
  • An outstanding alternative if trying to lose weight
  • Stevia comes prepared in several different forms
  • It encourages a sense a fullness, helping people not to overeat

Conclusion

Healthy greens supplements are blends of a wide array of ingredients that not only have nutritional benefits but also taste properties.

Manufacturers must take into consideration the taste properties to create a product that consumers will find taste friendly. Research in this area is still in its infancy, and as such, data, amounts, and qualities are lacking.

Flavoring with natural sweeteners such as stevia and monk fruit is an integral part of the manufacturing process. It greatly influences the taste of the product taking away the bitter metallic tastes that many greens supplements have. These natural sweeteners play a crucial role in consumer acceptability.

When choosing greens supplements, look for those with natural sweeteners such as stevia and make sure the product has been third-party tested – so your greens powder not only is healthy but tastes great too.

References +

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