Sponsored by TINE Ingredients
Q: Why are omega-3s essential to the diet?
A: Omega-3 is a group of unsaturated fatty acids the body needs, but cannot produce enough of itself. The two types of polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids include short-chained, which are widely found in plant oils, and long-chained fatty acids, also known as EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (decosahexaenoic acid), which are present in marine oils.
Q: What types of fish provide a good source of omega-3s?
A: Fatty fish have a high content of long-chained omega-3s. Fatty fish, such as cod, mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna and salmon, are high in two types of omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
Q: Why are EPA and DHA fatty acids, derived from marine-based sources of omega-3s, important in the diet?
A: Marine omega-3 is a key nutritional factor for human health. Intake of enough EPA and DHA is associated with reduced risk of coronary heart disease. In addition, these marine omega-3s are important for cognitive development and contribute to healthy functioning of the immune system. The modern Western diet is seriously deficient in marine omega-3, EPA and DHA.
Q: Why are baked products good vehicles for omega-3s?
A: Numerous omega-3 products have been launched in the U.S. food market, but almost all of these contain fish-oil based omega-3 in very low quantities. Bread serves as a central element in the Western diet. Omega-3 enriched bread is a very good vehicle for high levels of EPA and DHA. Therefore, bakers have the ability to provide consumers with high quality omega-3 breads with a much higher content of EPA and DHA than the average functional food product in the United States. It is easy to make omega-3 breads with levels from 125 mg EPA and DHA per 100 g of bread and beyond. Normal addition levels in the United States have been around 32 mg EPA and DHA per 100 g serving.
Q: What type of aroma or flavor will marine-based omega-3s contribute to a baked product?
A: The oil should not give any unwanted aroma and flavor to the bread during baking and storage. In addition, this oil must be very robust to avoid oxidation throughout the baked products' shelf life.
Q: How can omega-3s be incorporated into baked products?
A: The best and cheapest solution is based on controlling two simple factors. First, the high quality fish oil-based omega-3 should be developed specifically for use in bakery products. The second factor is the use of high application know-how, which is based on adjustment of use of the oil to the baking process for each manufacturer.
Q: Describe a recommended use level for omega-3s containing EPA and DHA.
A: The recommended daily intake of omega-3 EPA and DHA varies widely by the different national and international health organizations. However, all of the following major health organizations agree on one thing: the importance of omega-3 EPA and DHA to overall health.
Recommended use levels:
The International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids & Lipids (ISSFAL) recommends 500 mg EPA and DHA for adults per day to prevent cardiovascular disease (CVD).
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends eating fatty fish twice weekly, or for heart patients: 1 g EPA/DHA daily for CHD or CVD patients and 2 g to 4 g EPA/DHA daily for patients who need to lower triglycerides.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends a total of 650 mg EPA/DHA, with at least 220 mg of each
The FDA recommends up to 2 g omega-3 (EPA and DHA) daily from food.
Q: What types of health claims can be derived from EPA and DHA containing omega-3s?
A: Many consumers know that EPA and DHA are important for cognitive development and contribute to healthy functioning of the immune system. Now, foods containing any level of EPA and DHA, which meet the qualifying criteria, are able to carry the claim: “Supportive but not conclusive research shows that consumption of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. One serving of [name of food] provides [X] grams of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids. [See nutrition information].” At this time no minimum levels for EPA and DHA have been established in order to use the health claim. However, both EPA and DHA must be present and their total amount per serving must be listed within the context of the health claim itself.