Seaweed bread 'may hold key to beating obesity'

Seaweed bread could be the answer to the obesity epidemic, say scientists.

Researchers found seaweed fibre could reduce the body's fat uptake by more than 75%.



A fibrous material in Sea Kelp called alginate was better at preventing fat absorption than most over-the-counter slimming treatments, laboratory tests showed.



Dr Iain Brownlee, who co-led the University of Newcastle team, said: "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 it is when eaten as part of a normal diet."



The scientists used an "artificial gut" to test the effectiveness of 60 different natural fibres by measuring the extent to which they affected the digestion of fat.



They presented their findings today at the American Chemical Society's spring meeting in San Francisco.



Dr Brownlee said the aim was to see if the same effects modelled in the laboratory could be reproduced in living volunteers.



"Our initial findings are that alginates significantly reduce fat digestion," he said.



The research is part of a three-year project funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).



It addresses new European regulations that insist on scientific evidence backing any health claims made on a food label.



"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," said Dr Brownlee.



"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."



Alginates are already used in small amounts in food as thickeners and stabilisers. Dr Brownlee said in blind taste tests bread with added alginate actually scored higher for texture and richness than a standard white loaf.



He added there was still a lot of confusion about what constituted dietary fibre.



Technically it was classified as a group of plant carbohydrates that escape digestion in the human gut. But there was more to it than that, said 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," said. "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 was made from a wide range of molecules called polysaccharides which despite not being digested affected bodily processes.



"These initial findings suggest alginates could offer a very real solution in the battle against obesity," said Dr Brownlee.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
football

Arts and Entertainment
music
Life and Style
Designer Oscar de la Renta takes a bow after showing his Spring 2015 collection in September, his last show before his death
fashionThe passing of the legendary designer has left a vacancy: couturier to America’s royalty, says fashion editor Alexander Fury
Life and Style
tech

Company reveals $542m investment in start-up building 'a rocket ship for the mind'

News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    IT Project Manager

    Competitive: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsford a...

    Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

    £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

    Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

    £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

    IT Manager

    £40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

    Day In a Page

    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
    How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

    How to Get Away with Murder

    Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
    A cup of tea is every worker's right

    Hard to swallow

    Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
    12 best children's shoes

    Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

    Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
    Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

    Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

    Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
    British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

    British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

    Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
    Let's talk about loss

    We need to talk about loss

    Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
    Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

    Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

    Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
    Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

    'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

    If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
    James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
    Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

    Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

    Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
    Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

    Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

    Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why