New Hope to Keep the Weight Off

Diet DrugsAs we head into the New Year, with our “new” resolutions, those of us inclined to gain weight are always looking for something new to help us along the way. Announcements regarding new weight loss products or services offer us hope which, in turn, encourages discipline and determination. Along those lines, Gary Frost PhD, of Imperial College London, and associates reported in GUT magazine that their newly developed short chain fatty acid propionate powder helps satiety and prevents weight gain.

Propionate is normally produced when dietary fiber is digested in the gut. Frost and his researchers produced inulin-propionate ester (IPE) to deliver larger quantities of propionate to the colon than can be obtained by diet alone. They noted that propionate stimulates the release of the appetite suppressing hormone PYY and GLP-1 from colon cells in the test tube. They then randomized 20 participants to a pre-meal dose of their propionate compound or just inulin. They then allowed these participants to eat at a buffet. Those given propionate ate 14 % less than those given inulin alone. They then measured the appetite suppressing hormones in both groups and found them higher in the propionate recipients.

This initial study was followed by a study in which 60 overweight patients were given propionate powder (IPE) to put in their food or inulin powder for 24 weeks. Over that time the propionate group had no patient with more than a 5% body weight gain compared to 17% in the inulin group. They then measured abdominal and liver fat and found that the propionate group had far less.

These are initial works with the authors seeing the potential of adding propionate powder to fattening foods. More research is needed but hope springs eternal.

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