The beer, Kirin Karada Free, contains matured hop extract (S-Ignite) which the firm claims to help reduce abdominal fat.
Toshiaki Hyodo from the corporate communication at Kirin Holdings told NutraIngredients-Asia, that there was an increasing awareness in health and moderate exercise, “and consumers are looking to obtain (health) benefits from drinking beverages.”
He said this had contributed to the share of functional beer market in Japan.
Fat burning mechanism
Hops extract powder is made from maturing hops, which not only reduces the bitterness, but also increases the amount of matured hop bitter acids, which are the active component for fat burn.
S-ignite works is by activating brown adipose tissue (BAT) rapidly via the sympathetic nerves. Activated BAT reduces body fat by acting as a metabolic furnace that uses the fat stored in white adipose tissue as fuel.
The firm said activated BAT is the key to continuously burning body fat, and eventually, reducing abdominal fat.
In a clinical trial conducted in 2016 by Morimoto-Kobayashi et al., 200 healthy but overweight (25≤BMI<30) Japanese males and females were recruited.
They were divided into two groups and told to consume a placebo or drink containing S-ignite in the form of hops extract powder (425mg/day) for 12 weeks.
Participants were asked to maintain their normal eating and exercising habits.
Abdominal fat, body fat, body weight, BMI, waist and hip measurements were taken pre-treatment (week 0), every four-week interval, and post-treatment (week 16).
After 12 weeks, the researchers found that S-ignite could significantly reduce abdominal fat, and total fat (p<0.05).
Abdominal fat decreased by 10cm2 for the treatment group, compared to 5cm2 for placebo.
In the study, total fat area also decreased by 16cm2 in the treatment group, compared to 8 cm2 reduction in the placebo group.
The researchers also observed that body weight in the treatment group significantly decreased by 0.5% after 12 weeks, compared to zero change in the placebo group.
At the follow up after 16 weeks, the treatment group continued to see a weight decrease of 0.6%, compared to no change in placebo.
Hip and waist circumferences were also observed to decrease in the treatment group.
The researchers said the body fat reduction “was judged by the amount of change in the abdominal fat area, (hence) it was interpreted that there was an action to reduce fat (body fat) around the stomach.”
“From these results, it was shown that healthy adults with high BMI can reduce body fat by continuously ingesting a beverage containing 35 mg of aged hop-derived bitter acid for 12 weeks,” they added.
The new drink will be launched on October 15, 2019, at mass retailers including convenience stores, supermarkets, and drugstores.
It will also be available on e-commerce. A 350mL drink retails at JPY 157 including tax.
The recommended intake is one bottle (350mL) per day, containing 35mg of matured hop bitter acids.
The drink contains zero calories, zero fat, 0.4g protein, and 7.7g carbohydrate.
At this point, the company has no plans to sell the drink in other markets.
According to Hyodo, the firm previously launched its first FFC beer called Kirin Perfect Free in 2015, containing dextrin to slow down the body’s absorption of sugar and fat.
Sapporo Breweries launched in 2017, Sapporo+, the first non-alcoholic beer with Food for Specified Health Uses claim (FOSHU).