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Researchers from London and Glasgow have designed a food supplement that could help people fill full faster, while also helping them prevent weight gain and harmful fat deposits on their liver and blood vessels.
The food additive is called inulin-propionate ester (IPE) and it is made out of an ingredient called propionate. The IPE propionate is enhanced to help gut earlier release some hormones that tell the brain there’s no need for additional food intake. Propionate is also naturally produced by the human body after a proper amount of fiber is processed by the gut bacteria. However, IPE provides the body with higher amounts of propionate than a regular diet does.
After having developed the new appetite reducing food additive, researchers tested it on two study groups. The first group had 20 normal-weighted volunteers. Some of them were given IPE, while others received a dietary fiber. Those who took IPE ate 14 percent less food and had a higher amount of appetite reducing hormones in their bodies.
The second group consisted in 60 people with weight problems. These people were monitored during a 24-week period and half of them took IPE as a daily dietary supplement. After 24 weeks, one in 25 IPE users gained more than 3 percent of their initial body weight as compared with six in 25 non-IPE users. Additionally, no IPE user had more than 5 percent weight gain as compared with four non-IPE users.
The IPE users had also less fat in their bodies than non-IPE ones.
“This small, proof-of-principle study shows encouraging signs that supplementing one’s diet with the ingredient we’ve developed prevents weight gain in overweight people. You need to eat it regularly to have an effect,”
Prof Gary Frost, lead-author of the study, said.
Dr Frost noticed that adults usually gain between 1 pound and 2.5 pounds a year on average. He also said that a person would have to eat a huge quantity of fiber to get the same effect as an extra propionate intake in his/her diet.
The researchers now plan to expand their research and find what types of foods would be better suited for IPE. They are thinking of bread or smoothies for the moment.
Dr Douglas Morrison from the University of Glasgow said that although there was significant interest in how dietary fiber influenced human health condition by interacting with gut bacteria, most studies were conducted in laboratories on animals. It was often hard to translate these laboratory findings into human interventions, but the IPE study had allowed researchers to make direct observations in humans, Dr Morrison also said.
The Study was recently published in Gut and it was founded by Diet and Health Research Industry Club (DRINC), an organization that helps the food industry provide products with increased health benefits for their consumers.