Newcastle UniversityAccording to a new research conducted at Newcastle University, seaweed probably is the answer to get rid of obesity. Seaweed as noted by the research cuts down fat intake by more than 75%. The team conducting the research is experimenting by adding seaweed fibre to bread so as to comprehend if one can lose weight by eating such foods.

The fact that dietary fibre from seaweed that is used globally quite often for commercial purposes conceivably reduces fat absorption of the body by around 75%. The research also found that Alginate, a natural fibre found in sea kelp is better than other anti-obesity medications available over the counter. This was discovered by the team consisting of Dr. Iain Brownlee and researcher Jeff Pearson.

They researched with the help of an artificial gut and evaluated the quantity of fat absorbed and digested, to figure out which from among the 60 natural fibres was the most effective. While presenting their findings at the American Chemical Society Spring Meeting in San Francisco, Dr. Brownlee said that following on, volunteers will be recruited to examine whether their experimenting is actually applicable to real people, and also if people are willing to accept such food products.

“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 is to carry out clinical trials to find out how effective they are when eaten as part of a normal diet.”

Alginates seem to be a common ingredient used as thickeners or stabilizers but in very low volume. When this alginate was dissolved for the bread that was used in a blind test, Dr. Brownlee comments that the bread was preferred over a normal white loaf with respect to its texture and richness.

Dr. Brownlee further explains that, “Obesity is an ever-growing problem and many people find it difficult to stick to diet and exercise plans in order to lose weight. Alginates not only have great potential for weight management – adding them to food also has the added advantage of boosting overall fibre content.”

Dr. Brownlee answers the common question of what are dietary fibres by saying that, “Actually, there’s still quite a lot of confusion about fibre. 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.”

Fibres are composed of an array of molecules known as polysaccharides, and even though these fibres are not digested by the gut, they do influence a number of bodily processes. Dr. Brownlee also feels that alginates could offer a very real solution in the battle against obesity.

The research is in accordance with the new rules amended by the European food Safety Authority, which states that any health claim made on a food label should be backed with scientific evidence. This research is a part of the three year project funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.