Interview: The ‘sugar busting’ drink that regulates blood sugar

The search is on to find functional food and beverage products that make a positive net contribution to people’s health. Even in categories like fizzy drinks – once the domain of exclusively high-sugar and high-caffeine products – new products are being established to supplement overall wellbeing and, in some cases, target specific need states.

FoodBev sat down with Björn Öste and Dr. Elin Östman, two of the brains behind functional sparkling water brand Good Idea, which claims to help consumers modulate spikes in their blood sugar levels when consumed alongside a meal.

So how did Öste, a co-founder of oat milk brand Oatly; and Dr. Östman, a career food technologist, pioneer a drink that does the opposite of most carbonated beverages?

Can you tell us a bit about the science behind Good Idea?

Björn Öste (BÖ): Good Idea is a sparkling flavoured water like any other, but it has the secret component of five added amino acids and chromium that, when consumed with a meal, will help reduce the blood sugar uptake from that meal by some 25% or more on average. I think that will help you with many different things: for example, you stay awake after lunch and you listen to your boss’ boring presentation, or if you are in college and [have to] go through the first seminar after lunch. But of course suppressing blood sugar’s always good; repeated blood sugar spikes leads to increased inflammation and wears the body down, so if you can avoid those you have a much bigger chance of staying away from diseases such as, for example, diabetes or Alzheimer’s or obesity or other things like that.

And how about the product range – what does that look like?

BÖ: We have currently three flavours on the market; we have prepared a number of other flavours to launch as and when we have the distribution in place. They are just natural fruit and berry flavours; our first three now are a lime-lemon flavour, orange-mango, and we also have a dragonfruit flavour. They’re all very popular and have very different flavour profiles to help you match well with whatever you’re eating.

Can you tell us how you found yourselves working on a product this?

EÖ: I come from a background in research, so I’ve been in academia at Lund University in Sweden for almost 20 years. All of that time I have focused on developing food concepts or understanding food concepts… I’ve been working on different food concepts and this was one that was picked up by Björn and his brother, Rickard, who is a professor at my department at Lund University, and they saw the potential of commercialising this. Now I’ve moved over to that side to help out with the commercialisation of this product.

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