Scientists and researchers from Imperial College London and the University of Glasgow have been conducting a study to reduce cravings for high-calorie foods. Their findings have been intriguing and promising to say the least.
The new supplement
These scientists have developed a supplement call inulin-propionate ester which seems to result in reducing high-calorie food cravings and food portion sizes.
Inulin, a form of fibre, has been found to help the gut produce the molecule propionate. This molecule informs the brain that the stomach is full and the body needs to stop eating. Researchers found that by modifying inulin to contain propionate helped the gut produce around 2.5 times more propionate than without the modification.
To study the effects of inulin-propionate ester on the brain and a person’s appetite, researchers requested twenty participants to volunteer for their study. These participants were given a milkshake containing the inulin-propionate ester after which they were given an MRI scan.
When shown pictures of high-calorie foods such as cakes, burgers, pies, or pizza, these participants showed less activity in those reward areas of their brains. Interestingly this activity reduction was only applicable when viewing pictures of high-calorie foods. When rating these foods, participants showed that they found these foods to be less appealing.
The next step in the study was to give participants a bowl of pasta and tomato. Participants were told to eat as much of the pasta as they wanted. Those who drank the inulin-propionate ester ate ten percent less than when they drank a milkshake containing only inulin.
A previous study in 2013 showed that overweight participants who incorporated the inulin-propionate ester as a supplement to their everyday food gained less weight than their counterparts who incorporated inulin only. This reduction in weight was over a span of six months.
The results of this study and previous studies work together to provide researchers and scientists with a clearer picture of how the gut operates and affects the appetite in general. Brain responses have also been part of adding to this insight.
The study further informs researchers that the diet, gut and health are intricately linked together. Ensuring that gut microbes are given the appropriate dietary fiber is essential for healthy living.
By adding inulin-propionate ester to foods as an ingredient, weight gain may be prevented or significantly reduced. While some people naturally produce more propionate than others (resulting in some people maintaining a healthy body) adding this inulin to food will assist many in maintaining a healthy appetite.
This study has been one more step closer in combating weight gain and other health issues related to weight gain.
Researchers and scientists are exploring ways for inulin-propionate ester to benefit society in the form of a supplement. In the meantime, due to its small size, the study will need to be replicated and the link between inulin propionate ester and reduced cravings further investigated.