Now the team at Newcastle University are adding seaweed fibre to bread to see if they can develop foods that help you lose weight while you eat them.
A team of scientists led by Dr Iain Brownlee and Prof Jeff Pearson have found that dietary fibre in one of the world's largest commercially-used seaweed could reduce the amount of fat absorbed by the body by around 75 per cent.
The Newcastle University team found that Alginate – a natural fibre found in sea kelp – stops the body from absorbing fat better than most anti-obesity treatments currently available over the counter.
Using an artificial gut, they tested the effectiveness of more than 60 different natural fibres by measuring the amount of fat that was digested and absorbed with each treatment.
Presenting their findings today at the American Chemical Society Spring meeting in San Francisco, Dr Brownlee said the next step was to recruit volunteers and study whether the effects they have modelled in the lab can be reproduced in real people, and whether such foods are truly acceptable in a normal diet.
"The aim of this study was to put these products to the test and our initial findings are that alginates significantly reduce fat digestion," explains Dr Brownlee.
"This suggests that if we can add the natural fibre to products commonly eaten daily - such as bread, biscuits and yoghurts – up to three quarters of the fat contained in that meal could simply pass through the body.
"We have already added the alginate to bread and initial taste tests have been extremely encouraging. Now the next step to to carry out clinical trials to find out how effective they are when eaten as part of a normal diet."
The research is part of a three year project being funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. It addresses the new regulations set out by the European Food Safety Authority that any health claims made on a food label should be substantiated by scientific evidence.
"There are countless claims about miracle cures for weight loss but only a few cases offer any sound scientific evidence to back up these claims," explains Dr Brownlee.
Alginates are already commonly used at a very low level in many foods as thickeners and stabilisers and when added to bread as part of a blind taste test, Dr Brownlee said the alginate bread actually scored higher for texture and richness than a standard white loaf.
"Obesity is an ever-growing problem and many people find it difficult to stick to diet and exercise plans in order to lose weight," explained Dr Brownlee.
"Alginates not only have great potential for weight management - adding them to food also has the added advantage of boosting overall fibre content."
What is a dietary fibre?
Dietary fibre would be scientifically classified as a group of carbohydrates of plant origin that escape digestion by the human gut.
"Actually, there's still quite a lot of confusion about fibre," says Dr Brownlee. "I think most people would describe it as roughage – the bit of your food that keeps you regular and is vital for a healthy gut.
"Both of these facts are true but the notion that all fibre is the same and that it simply goes through your system without having an effect is wrong."
Fibre is made up of a wide range of different molecules called polysaccharides and although it is not digested by the human gut, it both directly and indirectly affects a number of bodily processes.
Dr Brownlee adds: "These initial findings suggest alginates could offer a very real solution in the battle against obesity."
Dr. Iain Brownlee | EurekAlert!
Routing gene therapy directly into the brain
07.12.2017 | Boston Children's Hospital
New Hope for Cancer Therapies: Targeted Monitoring may help Improve Tumor Treatment
01.12.2017 | Berliner Institut für Gesundheitsforschung / Berlin Institute of Health (BIH)
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications
Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...
Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.
The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...
Transistors based on carbon nanostructures: what sounds like a futuristic dream could be reality in just a few years' time. An international research team working with Empa has now succeeded in producing nanotransistors from graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, as reported in the current issue of the trade journal "Nature Communications."
Graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, so-called graphene nanoribbons, have special electrical properties that make them promising candidates for the...
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
05.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Life Sciences
08.12.2017 | Information Technology
08.12.2017 | Information Technology