Weight loss might become easier for people in the future after two scientists discovered a fatty acid that makes people feel full. Gary Frost, a doctor of philosophy, at the Imperial College London in the United Kingdom, and his colleagues ran a two-part study that the medical journal, Gut, published. In the study, Frost and his colleagues created a form of the fatty acid inulin-ester propionate and examined how it affects weight gain in a group of 60 men and women. Researchers examined the fatty acid in mice in the past as a way to suppress appetite. A person’s body creates propionate when their digestive system breaks down dietary fiber. Propionate is the fatty acid that is responsible for telling a person’s brain to stop eating because they are full.
During the first part of the weight loss study, participants at a buffet were either given a dietary fiber supplement or inulin-ester propionate. Those who had the propionate ate 14 percent less than those who used the dietary fiber supplement. For the second part of the study, participants were either given powdered propionate or a dietary fiber to take during their meals over 24 weeks. Aside from taking 10 grams of either product with meals, they also had to write down what foods they ate and when they exercised. Participants were not allowed to change their diet or exercise routine. During the eighth and sixteenth week, doctors examined the volunteers to see if they were complying with the study’s instructions and felt no dangerous side effects of the weight loss study. At the end of each section of the study, volunteers also had their hormones associated with feeling full and hunger measured.
The results of the second study found that two hormones, peptide YY and glucagon-like peptide one increased when volunteers took inulin-ester propionate. The study also found that those who took the propionate decreased their energy levels and experienced an easier weight loss. Participants also decreased their body’s distribution of intra-hepatocellular lipid or liver fat as well as intra-abdominal adipose tissue or abdominal fat.
Dr. Naveen Uli, a pediatric endocrinologist at University Hospital Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Ohio, stated that the weight loss study is part of a larger movement within the medical community to examine changing food to create better eating habits. Uli also said that the study is promising but the effects are not solid until researchers examine these effects in a larger study.
Frost explained that there will be more studies in the future and that he is working with a food company to make the propionate into a food ingredient so it is easier to take. He also said that the propionate tastes a little bitter. Frost also said in a press release that the small study shows good signs that when a person uses the ingredient his team created it prevents weight gain in people who are overweight. Frost continues by saying that people would need to ingest it regularly to see an effect in their weight loss. He also said that researchers are exploring what foods they can add it to and that smoothies as well as bread might work with the full-inducing supplement.
By Jordan Bonte
You and Your Hormones
You and Your Hormones
First Photo courtesy of Oceanview Medical Weight Loss Spa – Flickr License
Middle Photo courtesy of Allen Gottfried – Flickr License
Feature Photo courtesy of Daniel Carlbom – Flickr License