Isagenix® Cleanse for Life™ has a new delicious tropical berry flavor that makes it hard for your brain to believe it’s the same drink that’s helped thousands lose weight. That first pleasurable sensation, in fact, can in itself be important for encouraging better health.
As a flavor chemist, gourmet chef and trained medical doctor, Isagenix VP of Product Innovation Pierre Teissier, Ph.D., knows first-hand how difficult it is to fool the brain into enjoying food that is rich in vitamins and minerals.
The task is best illustrated by the experience of dealing with the masters of taste aversion—children. The threshold of a child for bitter is very, very low. (If you’ve ever tried to feed a five-year-old asparagus, then you can relate.)
When formulating dietary supplements, the assignment of flavor is usually avoided altogether by simply dropping herbs, vitamins and minerals into capsules and tablets for quick swallowing. “That is not ideal,” says Dr. Teissier, “because you can’t get very much into a capsule and you lose the relationship you have with your food. A drink is better because you can include a lot more nutrients and enjoy flavor. ”
Dr. Teissier’s role at Isagenix is not unlike his experience formulating for French astronauts. “When you are making food for use in space, you want something that will provide your daily nutrient requirements, while flavors will be as close or better than wholesome food from earth,” he says.
Cleanse for Life’s potent ingredients required Dr. Teissier and his team to apply newer methods for maintaining integrity of the product. The approach included an encapsulation system to contain identified active compounds. The system neutralizes peak intensities and levels out acid or bitterness.
“We took each component, one by one, bringing it together with a flavor to please the taste buds as well as giving the brain a rewarding sensation of pleasure,” said Dr. Teissier. The use of real fruits was also a yes-brainer, “We used combinations of real fruit—bilberries, blueberries, raspberries—because they would be easily recognized and light up the senses.”
He adds, “With the latest natural-flavor technology available, we are changing the perception that healthy must mean ‘tastes sour and bitter’.”
Cleanse for Life’s novel flavor system also enhances the product’s nutritional profile with real fruit without reducing efficacy of its primary ingredients that include botanicals, vitamins and minerals.
How Flavor Affects Your Brain
Flavor, a powerful influence on the body in its own right, arises from nearly 10,000 taste buds and, even more sensitive, millions of olfactory receptors that communicate directly with the brain.
The thinking about, tasting, and smelling of food stimulates the cephalic phase of digestion, controlled by the vagus nerve. The nerve then stimulates secretion of gastric acid and release of enzymes. You first notice the cephalic phase upon release of saliva.
Learned patterns of sensation, from previous cephalic phases, can elicit a strong physical and emotional response that drives mood, thinking and even nostalgia. Just the aroma of food can conjure up a flood of memories. What your brain remembers, researchers say, may have once been vital for human survival. Sweet and salty helped our forbears seek out energy-dense carbohydrates, protein and fat; bitter and sour helped warn of potential plant-derived poisons.
In a twisted irony, however, this ingrained talent now leads us to the cupboard and refrigerator for nutrient-deficient potato chips and ice cream. More often than not, processed foods lack micronutrients because, as Dr. Teissier puts it, “What’s good for your body usually tastes pretty nasty.”