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Cider’s history in the New World is a series of events that twist and turn with the rapid expansion and tumultuous social changes that have shaped American history. While relatively unknown to the modern American consumer, cider was the drink of choice for the first several centuries of European settlement in the original thirteen and Canadian colonies and earliest frontiers.

The beginning of cider

The history of cider in the United States begins with the most American of holidays, Thanksgiving. When the Pilgrims arrived in Plymouth Bay Colony in 1620, they found themselves in a strange and unforgiving land and completely out of ale. Anyone who has experienced a Massachusetts ice or snow storm can imagine the sadness of an imminent winter without proper food, shelter, or drink to keep spirits and bodies warm through the harsh New England winter. Even though nearly half the colony died in the first winter, human creativity flourished, and the first year saw them making ‘beer’ with pumpkins, parsnips, and corn stalks. This was not evidently a big hit, and with a lack of barley or grapes for traditional beer and wine, cider quickly became the Plymouth colony favorite drink.
The absence of barley and grapes, used for Old World traditional alcoholic drinks, encouraged cider’s popularity in the new settlements.
There has been some debate over whether native wild apples existed prior to English colonization or whether they were left by explorers and fisherman along the New England coast who had arrived and been conducting business on the coast up to a hundred years prior to the Pilgrims landing. Either way, grafts and seedling apple trees from England quickly made the transatlantic voyage with the early settlers and spread across New England and the Mid-Atlantic seaboard.
George Washington invited the entire delegation out for pints of cider the night before the 1761 election, and swept the election the following day.

Forty miles to the north of Plymouth Plantation, a man by the name of William Blackstone settled himself on a small island called Shawmut. He arrived alone and began homesteading until the arrival of John Winthrop and his group of Puritans arrived and settled across the river from him. Blackstone planted the first known orchard in the United States on Shawmut Island on a ‘Beacon Hill.’ Today Beacon Hill and Shawmut island would be scarcely recognizable, as Beacon Hill is now the most exclusive neighborhood in Boston, lined with 18th century townhomes.

Shawmut is now the heart of the Boston financial district, filled with historical sites, such as the Boston Massacre site and Fanueil Hall. Blackstone has largely been forgotten for his role in Boston history, overridden by the Puritan settlers who began flooding Massachusetts Bay Colony in the mid-1600s, but his trees began to spread by seedlings and grafts across the colony. Cider quickly became the most popular drink of Massachusetts and New England due to the Puritan aversion to harder alcohols and inability to source much else for.

William Blackstone planted the first USA orchard in Shawmut island, Boston, presently located in the heart of the city’s financial district.

The importance of cider in the political life of the USA

Over the next 150 years, orchards and cider presses sprung up from Quebec to Virginia to fuel the desire for cider. By the time of the American Revolution, cider was an entrenched facet of American culture. George Washington launched his political career in the colonial Virginia House of Burgesses and lost his first election in 1755. Learning from his mistakes, he invited the entire delegation out for pints of cider the night before the 1761 election, and swept the election the following day. Thomas Jefferson touted the superiority of American varietals and ciders as the equals of the best of Champagnes and grew some unique varieties such as the Talliaferro and Esopus Spitzenburg, as well as the well known Newtown Pippin. In Paris, he wrote back home to his friend, “They have no apple to compare with our Newtown Pippin.”John Adams recommended ‘cyder’ to be aged at least two or three years, touting it a salubrious beverage well suited to keep a person in good health. His wife Abigail Adams managed the farm during his politicking years and their African American servant James was the cider master for the household. By the dawn of the United States in 1776, cider was close to peaking in popularity and consumption in the New World. Orchards grew at the forefront of the new American attempts to conquer the frontier as the young nation grew and pushed further into the continent.

Apple cider is a drink mostly associated with Europe and the United States. While it is growing in popularity all over the world, mostly as a naturally gluten free and refreshing alcoholic drink, South America still remains as a mostly unknown market for apple cider.

Scott Jones is a Peru-based English cider maker, one of the first cider makers in the continent and currently the Peruvian cider market leader. In this interview, Scott approached how he started his cider journey, the pros and cons of exploring a virgin market and the challenges for the future.

Hi Scott. Thank you very much for your time for this interview. So, you are the current market leader in the Peruvian cider scene. How did it all start?

Hello, thank you very much for the invite. Well, having taught English in South America for 4 years since 2010, I decided to stay in Peru for longer. The easiest way I could do this was to obtain a business visa, and so I started to think about which type of business I would like to start here. The market for craft beer was in its infancy but growing steadily, but being a cider drinker from the south of England, I didn’t really appreciate the craft beer scene and had been missing cider from home; conversations over beers with expats had often covered what would make a good business, and making cider always seemed to come up time and time again. So the seed had been sown a couple years before I was in a position to consider it as a viable business.

Having decided to start the first cider company in Peru (and probably most South American countries) I took out a bank loan from the UK and wired over to Peru. I immediately discovered how running a business in Peru was going to be, and that was difficult, frustrating and illogical. So the first hurdle was that I couldn’t open a bank account without a visa, but I couldn’t start the visa process without depositing money in a Peruvian account (to show you have funds to open a business) – this would be one of many hurdles I had to overcome to open and run a business as a foreigner in Peru.

Apple cider is enjoying a remarkable growth in world markets, motivated by its low alcohol and natural profile.

Well, we can see that was not an easy start.

Not at all. Once I received my business visa the next problem was to source machinery to produce the cider. The most important machine was a mill to pulp the apple and this had to made from scratch. I paid well above the average for this which was what is known as ‘gringo’ price, I’d soon get used to negociating hard on most prices. I was very lucky to hear about a stainless steel fabricator that made in bottle carbonating machines. The machine was a design rip off of machines that could be found for around the same price in Europe or the US, importing anything into Peru is problematic and high import taxes, so I was happy to pay what would be the same price as Europe or US and not have the headache and stress of importing.

Using my previous Engineering experience I designed and built a sturdy rack and press, and having found a small place to rent I was ready to start production. My first attempt was 300kg of dessert apples, I managed to squeeze 230 litres, and using ‘craft cider making’ book by Andrew Lea I produced my first batch of cider without too many problems.

Who were your first costumers? Was it easy to convince them to consume a Peruvian cider?

My main market to begin with was the expat community and expat owned bars and restaurant, sales were slow as the price point was quite high, so the Peruvian market wasn’t willing to pay the high price and risk the possibility of not liking it. In the first year or two it was mainly expats and tourists consuming my cider.

What about now? How was the market growth?

Having grown my business steadily over 4 years, the demand is now high, there are now other small cider producers in the marketplace but total sales are still low compared to the craft beer scene, which is now saturated with the opening of more and more breweries.

When looking at other countries, like the US or Europe, once the craft beer scene explodes and then becomes saturated, cider then has a boom, I’m guessing 2019 will be the year of cider in Peru.

We hope 2019 is indeed the year of cider in Peru.

Hope so, I believe chances are quite high.


What about your ciders? What is their profile?
At the moment I have 5 different types, a dry, medium and sweet, and also a strawberry and passion fruit flavoured ciders, all made with freshly pressed apples and real fruits the artisan way (this means by hand as I still can’t afford expensive equipment !). The dry, medium and passion fruit are the best sellers. All of them are branded as Oltree Cider.

Oltree is the brand crafted by Scott Jones to enter the Peruvian market – there are currently 5 different types available.

Brilliant. What would you say are the main challenges for the future?

The challenges for the future are big money investors opening more commercial style cideries, my plan is to keep at a medium sized production (less than 50,000 litres a year) and keep the artisan spirit of trying different styles and flavours.

We hope it all goes for the best, and also that your experience might inspire new cider makers all over the world to start their businesses. We know it is certainly not easy.

It is definitely not, but it is worth it. My advice is not giving up, adversities will come but in the end it pays off.

Thank you for your time for this interview with CFER, cheers!

Thank you too, cheers!

Many of us have certainly came across the terms ‘Old World’ and ‘New World’ wines while exploring the world of wine, either by participating in wine tastings, reading that interesting review by our favourite wine critic or eventually from that wine nerd friend who only drinks New World wines.

The truth is that the two terms are not always completely understood and often used in a confusing way even within the wine industry. On top of that, the modernisation of the wine world and the ‘flying winemakers’ movement worldwide led to the production of New World wines by style in Old World countries by tradition and vice versa. If I say that Portugal is an Old World country that can produce New World wines would you be surprised? Probably yes, so let’s break it down.

Geography

The first and most basic distinction between both styles is geographic. The Old World countries are mainly located in Europe and Middle East, which includes Portugal, Spain, France, Greece, Germany, Austria, Italy, Georgia, Iraq or Romania among few others. It is generally believed that that domestication of the Vitis vinifera (grapevine used for winemaking) started in this region and that’s where the winemaking roots go deeper.
On the other hand, there’s a group of countries with a more recent wine history where Vitis vinifera was introduced by the explorers and are referred as New World. In this group we have Australia, New Zealand, United States, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, China or Uruguay. To put it in a simple way, if it is not an Old World it will be a New World territory.

Wine styles and the influence of tradition and winemaking philosophy

The geographic location and characteristics of a certain region (such as weather or soil, well known as terroir) have a direct input on the wines’ styles and this could be differentiated by tasting. As a general rule, not always true, the Old World wines come from cooler climate regions and their profile can be described as lighter-bodied, more tannic and acidic, lower alcohol content, savoury, leaner, rustic and earthier.

In the regions of the Old World the tradition and centuries of history take place and the winegrower and winemaker input is heavily regulated by laws, emphasizing the place from where it comes and limiting the human intervention and creativity. Each region is regulated by standards and systems or ‘protected designation of origin’ to which winemakers and wineries must comply. In Portugal these regulations are under the Denominação de Origem Controlada or DOC (similar to the French Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée – AOC) and start right in the vineyards, establishing permitted varieties, crop yields and vine conduction systems and finishing on the final product, regulating alcohol content or ageing times and methods.

When we jump to a New World region the change in the winemaking philosophy and wine styles can be immediately noticed. The wine is not seem as much as a legacy and culture heritage, but more like a product of science, where technology and modernisation take place and winemaking is opened for experimentation and evolution.

Every step of winemaking tends to be controlled in an extended way and a more analytical approach is taken. The ‘optimum ripeness’ of the fruit is measured to decide the harvest date, the must is inoculated with isolated yeast to offer a predictable wine profile, stainless steel tanks are used and have an integrated temperature control system that allows a precise control of the fermentation temperature within an accuracy of 0.1°C or less, the Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and Dissolved Oxygen (DO) concentrations are taken as critical during the life time of a wine, the wines are bottled under screw cap instead of cork (the greatness of the screw cap in the wine world will be reviewed in one of my next posts), just to name a few.

Another important characteristic of the New World regions is that they are often located in warmer climates (once again, not always true), which associated with the heavily winemaking input tend to produce riper, bolder, full-bodied, fruit-forward, higher in alcohol, richer, oak-influenced, more polished and cleaner wines.

The influence of oak, brought by prolonged contact with the cask, is normally more prominent in New World style wines.

Labelling

The last big difference between Old and New World wines is the labelling and it all comes down to the tradition and history of the regions mentioned before. The Old World wines are generally labelled only with region, appellation or vineyard and this information is so important that we can deduce grape varieties and eventually the quality of the wine. The classy red Burgundy is a Pinot Noir, the famous Italian Barolo is just a Nebbiolo and if it is a great Portuguese white from Monção e Melgaço we can expect a 100% Alvarinho.

In the New World everything is slightly different once again. Stating the variety and winery in a clear way is the most important thing and almost mandatory. The not so strict regional laws allow the winegrower/winemaker to grow any grape variety anywhere they want to, there’s more chance for experimentation and the consumers in these countries are mainly focused on the variety and less from where it comes.

I started this article stating that ‘Portugal is an Old World country that can produce New World wines’ and if you got this far you probably now understand what I mean. As a Portuguese winemaker working in Australia I feel that the line between Old World and New World is being blurred, the wine world is evolving fast and there’s more crossover between the two worlds than ever in the past. Should we put a savoury and structured Baga from Bairrada in the same bucket as a bold, jammy, strongly American oak-influenced Syrah from Alentejo in the same bucket just because they are both made in Portugal? No. If I ever use these terms to describe a wine it would be purely based on the style.

The way human beings feed themselves strongly influences their physical and emotional balance. Meat products are an excellent source of nutrients and are widely consumed around the world. However, these products are also susceptible to chemical and microbiological deterioration, which creates health risks.

Consumption of contaminated food and water kills 1.8 million people annually. In addition, each person is wasting an average of 150kg of food per year, also due to lack of food conservation.

Packaged meat products arrive at the consumer’s house in good food safety conditions. However, food contamination is a serious concern at the post-opening stage of the package. It is thus urgent to create more advanced solutions of food preservation, which reduce the contamination and increase the shelf-life after the package is opened.

Sliced charcuterie may have an extended shelf-life with the developed technology.

A new technology for the preservation of charcuterie

Researchers at the University of Coimbra, Portugal, and Primor Charcutaria Prima developed a research project to address this problem. New surfactant and polymer systems were developed to promote longer shelf life through the incorporation of consumer safe edible coatings in the meat. Furthermore, this coating prevents the use of the protective N2/CO2 atmosphere in the packaging, which leads to the reduction of the amount of plastic volume used in the packaging, yielding a better environmental impact.

The various types of performed assays included: chemical, physical and microbiological tests to identify coatings with improved bacterial elimination, light scattering and rheology tests to identify the best suited coatings for spray application, and electron microscopy to compare the level of meat degradation with and without coating. Color, taste, texture and odor were continuously monitored throughout the project. After the laboratory tests, the best performance coatings were applied in semi-industrial environment.

This new results will make available to consumers a new generation of preservation for fresh meat products.

The India Pale Ale (IPA) is surely the most famous style at the moment in the world of beer. Go to the market and you will find an abundance of India Pale Ales, Session IPA’s, Black IPA’s, Belgian IPA’s, Imperial IPA’s…to name a few. One might naturally ask why are IPA’s everywhere – could hops be addictive?

To really understand IPA’s, we should travel to the 18th century.

Welcome to the 18th century British India and to the trading attractiveness of the East. Here, powerful trading companies, like the East India Company (EIC), possess important commercial warehouses to trade commodities with the rest of the World, provisioning the colonial army in parallel. Back in the subcontinent, British settlers are looking for a refreshing taste of home and are everything but pleased with the stale, infected beer coming from the Mother Land. Taking at least six months to travel to India, and having to cross the equator twice, the Pales and Bitters of the day, with low alcohol and lightly hopped, did not stand a chance.

 

IPA’s tipically make use of generous amount of flavour and aroma hops, such as Citra or Amarillo, which provides them with their characteristic fragrant hop intensity.

Back in London, close to the EIC’s docks, the ingenious Bow Brewery is establishing a new style of beer, with higher original gravity, intensely hopped and designed for maturation for at least one year. The owner, George Hodgson, has also come up with a business approach that granted extended credit to the beer purchasers, favouring his new beer over the big breweries product. Unexpectedly, this rough, highly attenuated beer matured remarkably well with the scorching heat and arduous journey of the supplying transcontinental ships, making this beer a tremendous success among its consumers in India. Hops preserving characteristics are well known, and the higher concentration of alpha acids made IPA’s fit for journey while mellowing.

From this moment on, other British breweries, such as Burton located ones, would start to replicate Hodgson’s successful style of pale ale, acquiring important business status over the years and condemning Bow Brewery to the oblivion. The India Pale Ale was born, soon migrating to the American continent by the hand of John Labatt. The hop addiction was starting.

The evolution of a style

Today, an IPA is tipically defined as a beer with around 6% of alcohol, 60 IBU’s, not necessarily pale and surely with a lot of different shapes. If the classic English style may be somehow more balanced, American IPA’s are their eccentric brother, ‘showcasing modern American or New World hop varieties (…), with a clean fermentation profile, dry finish, and clean, supporting malt, allowing a creative range of hop character to shine through. (BJCP, 2015). The popularity of IPA’s brought them to the forefront of brewing innovation, with Witbiers, Red Ales or Sour Beers being adapted to the IPA profile and pleasing the craving of beer connoisseurs; new styles of IPA are constantly being designed, such as the New England Indian Pale Ale (NEIPA) or the Brut IPA.

India Pale Ale is the perfect example of how a beer co-evolves over time and how a specific style becomes a hit. The hop phenomenon is worldwide, not only in the USA or the United Kingdom, but also in Spain. When I started brewing, in Catalonia, only one of the fellow breweries was making IPA’s; now practically all the breweries of Catalonia and Spain are brewing IPA’s and it surely is the more successful style. You may not like the craft IPA from the local brewery, but the hops assertive bitterness, spectacular aromas and surprising flavours will provide an untedious experience, and you are likely to come back for more.

Tea is a passion. Tea is an experience and an endeavor to untraveled worlds. I asked myself what would I say If I only had one chance to talk to people about tea? The present piece is the combination of what I love, with who I am, a biochemist concerned with nature, animals, and people, for a better world.

After water, tea is the most consumed beverage worldwide. The tea plant is native to China and it has been long known to Chinese for its medicinal properties. In fact, tea was used as a medicine in former times being adored by Emperors and recognized by Taoists and Buddhists as a precious element in ones’ lives. Nowadays, tea has also been recognized by the scientific community as a substance with outstanding health properties and benefits, with thousands of scientific papers being published throughout the years. Tea health benefits include, but are not limited to, cardioprotective effects, antioxidant, anticarcinogenic and antimicrobial properties. However, concerns about tea consumption are also rising within the literature. Tea health concerns are essentially related to the presence of pesticides and Fluoride (F).

The high temperatures involved in the brewing of tea may extract more contaminants from the plant into the drinking water.

Pesticides are used to prevent tea crop diseases and the attack of some tea loving insects to improve the yield of the crop and the farmers’ profit. Some of the reported negative effects on human health related to the exposure to pesticides during normal daily life habits involve gastrointestinal, neurological, carcinogenic, respiratory and reproductive problems. Pesticides are of special concern in tea due to several reasons.

The organic choice

Tea is a highly sensitive crop and therefore a heavy mix of different pesticides can be used to preserve it. As the leaves are not washed prior to processing, residues present on their surface are not removed. Also, since tea is brewed at high temperatures, the extraction of pesticides into the drinking water is high. Additionally, as some teas are consumed in powder, like matcha, the whole leaf is ingested, making sure that not only the water-soluble pesticides are ingested, but also the less or non-water-soluble ones as well.

On the other hand, fluoride accumulates in tea plants after being absorbed from the soil. The ingestion of F has been related to hypothyroidism, neurotoxicity, fluorosis, arthritic disease, and musculoskeletal disorders. Fluoride accumulates mostly in tea leaves, especially inside the old ones. Fluoride is quite soluble in water and will easily be present in your favorite cup of brewed tea.

As there is not yet an ideal balance between the economic interests and health protection, is there something we can do to avoid the exposure to these tea contaminants and benefit from the remarkable health properties attributed to tea? Yes! Definitely!

Organic teas are the best choice when you do not know where your tea is coming from. Besides being controlled for pesticides, organic teas have also shown lower levels of fluoride. A direct relationship has been found between low quality tea and higher concentrations of F. In the case of tea, the price is generally a good indicator of its quality.

If you brew your own tea at home, you can drink a cup of tea for as cheap as 0.05€ a cup, sometimes even cheaper than a cup of bottled water! Cheaper tea, usually available to the mass market, is made from the oldest and lower quality leaves, which means they most probably have a high fluoride concentration.

Alternative ways to minimize the ingestion of contaminants

Different types of tea, such as white tea made with the youngest leaves, can also be naturally absent from fluoride, as it tends to accumulate in old leaves. If you still have old batches of tea that you don’t want to waste, you can always try to minimize the concentration of contaminants by washing your tea. There is an old tradition when drinking loose leaf tea which consists of rinsing and discarding the first water in contact with the tea leaves. This process started many centuries ago when tea processing was not quite refined as now, and it aimed at washing off dirt or dust.

Considering fluoride and the solubility of some pesticides in water, if you are drinking non-organic, poor quality tea, rinsing the tea first can be a good option already proven by some studies to reduce the level of contaminants, although not 100% efficient, and at the expense of major flavor loss when dealing with low quality teas.

Choosing a good quality organic tea is still your best option. 

As a concluding remark, although not faced with Hamlet’s striking dilemma on life or death, when confronted with:

To tea, or not to Tea?

My answer is: To Tea with Education.

Sources

Tea and Health: Studies in Humans (2013) in Current Pharmaceutical Design
Chemical Pesticides and Human Health: The Urgent Need for a New Concept in Agriculture (2016)
In Frontiers in Public Health
Worldwide Regulations of Standard Values of Pesticides for Human Health Risk Control: A Review (2017)
in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Fluoride content in tea and its relationship with tea quality. (2004)
in Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry
Black Tea Source, Production, and Consumption: Assessment of Health Risks of Fluoride Intake in New Zealand (2017)
In Journal of Environmental and Public Health

A conversation where bacteria and fungi are mentioned usually triggers a red alert in our head since they are associated with some mean diseases. However, when we look back in history, the activity of yeast and bacteria were essential for our lifestyle, being the major responsible for many tasty foods and beverages that were and still are part of our culture.

Imagine a world without bread, beer, wine, cider, coffee, mushrooms, pickles…it would be for sure less interesting! It is estimated that there are one trillion different species of microorganisms on Earth, which shows the tremendous variety of bacterial and yeast species.

Beer fermentation is the process where the sugars coming from the malt are converted into alcohol and carbon dioxide by the activity of yeast and in the absence of oxygen. Traditionally, beer fermenting yeasts can be divided in two types: ale and lager.

 

The pre-activation of yeast, where multiplication and yeast mass increase takes place, is a fundamental step for an healthy alcoholic fermentation of wort

Ale yeast

In the old times they were defined as top-fermenting yeasts since their cells would be collected from the top of the fermentation vessel. The most relevant yeast is Saccharomyces cerevisiae (also called brewer’s and baker’s yeast) and it requires fermentation temperatures around 18ºC – 22ºC (64ºF – 72ºF). In comparison to a traditional pale lager, ale beers usually display a fuller body and more intense fermentation-derived flavors. In some cases, there will be a more dry and crispy character, which can give an unique combination to that beer.

In my opinion, the versatility of ale yeast is a strong advantage when comparing to the lager, which makes it possible to use for a large variety of beer styles: amber ale, brown ale, stout, porter and, one of my favorites, Indian pale ale. The traditional wheat beers from Germany (Weißbier) and Belgium (witbier) fall also in the ale category, where specific ale yeast types that give that nice banana and herbal aromas are chosen!

Lager yeast

The most common lager yeast is Saccharomyces pastorianus, which is a hybrid of two Saccharomyces strains. This means that its general characteristics are like those of the ale yeast but the optimal conditions for fermentation and the resulting beer will be different. Lager yeasts were defined as bottom-fermenting organisms because the cells were collected from the bottom of the tanks after fermentation. However, that distinction does not make sense in the current processes where conical vessels are used and both yeast types are collected from the bottom. Thus, lager yeast is currently associated with “cold fermentation” since it is done at temperatures between 7ºC – 15ºC (45ºF – 59ºF). This temperature slows down the metabolism of yeast which results in longer fermentation times.

Due to their lengthy fermentation and lagering period, the fermentation-derived flavors will not be as evident as in the ale types. The combination of malt and hops is the greatest contributor to the aroma complexity we can find in some lager beers such as the Dunkel Bock or the Saaz-seasoned Czech Lagers. Lager beer is the world’s most sold type of beer, being a fresh golden tone drink ideal to refresh the beer lovers like us.

Sour beers

In the recent years there has been a trend of intense flavors and aromas in beer, with high levels of bitterness but also acidity and sourness. The sour beers, where the lambic type is included, are made by spontaneous fermentation. This means that there is no controlled addition of yeast under sterile conditions, but you make usage of the natural yeast and bacteria present in the surroundings instead. In the old times, Belgium beers were all made in this spontaneous manner and it would take a few years to have a relatively stable beer production.

Among several types of bacteria and yeast, Lactobacillus, Pediococcus and Brettanomyces are the most relevant organisms for this kind of beer, producing acidity and giving that sour, dry and tart profile like sometimes you find in wine. Currently, it is possible to make this kind of sour beers in a more controlled way and you can even buy blends of these bacteria and yeast to produce a sour beer at home.

The variety of yeast and bacterial strains will increase more and more in the next years and many craft brewers are isolating their own blends of yeast and bacterial strains, which can give unique flavors and expand the range of beer styles. If you are already brewing, what are your favorite yeast strains and how did you choose them? Tell us your yeastperiences in the comments below.

Sources

Adipose tissue is a vital connective tissue for all mammals. Its main role is to store energy in the form of lipids while insulating the body. It also contains a variety of crucial cells that act on the body’s immune and structural functions. Obesity is a medical condition defined by an excess of body fat. This disease increases the chances of developing conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, cancer or depression,  decreasing the individual’s quality of life. Obesity is one of the leading preventable causes of death worldwide, mainly promoted by the intake of high-energy foods and low energy expenditure.

Thermogenic molecules

Some specific ingredients might contribute for one’s weight management goals with no need for extra energy expenditure or change in sedentary lifestyle. Foods such as chilli peppers, white and black pepper, ginger and cinnamon have in their composition capsaicin-like molecules, respectively piperine, gingerol and cinnamaldehyde.

Researchers found that the consumption of these food products promote the release of sympathetic-nerve mediated norepinephrine, naturally activating the brown adipose tissue thermogenesis by up-regulating the action of the uncoupling protein 1 in the mitochondria (UCP1) (Saito et. al. 2015). The UCP1 dissipates energy by oxidizing fatty acids and glucose to heat. Other ingredients, such as green tea or wasabi, also contribute to the up regulation of this protein.

Thermogenic and anti-obesity effects of capsacin-like food molecules, mediated by the release of sympathetic-nerve norepinephrine. This mechanism triggers the brown adipose tissue thermogenesis by up-regulating the action of the uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) in the mitochondria. in Saito et. al. 2015

The consumption of these foods and spices might not always be possible in the desired concentration by consumers with weight issues. To overcome this limitation, companies may explore the potential of a new generation of anti-obesity, naturally thermogenic food products. It has been shown that the oral ingestion of capsules with capsinoids, substances naturally present in chili peppers, increases the energy expenditure mediated by the thermogenesis located in the brown adipose tissue (Yoneshiro et. al. 2012). Edible plant and spice extracts, naturally clean-label, mostly calorie free and widely available, may thus be the shining stars of a new generation of functional products for weight management issues, proven to be their safety in the public food and health system.


Sources
  • Yoneshiro, T. et al. (2012) Non pungent capsaicin analogs (capsinoids) increase energy expenditure through the activation of brown adipose tissue in humans. Am. J.Clin.Nutr. 95, 845–850 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22378725
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