Seaweed can help dieters to lose weight more quickly, claims a new study. Consuming dietary fibres from brown algae makes one feel fuller, thereby making them to eat less and lose more weight.
According to researchers at the Faculty of Life Sciences (LIFE), University of Copenhagen, dietary fibres from brown algae, the so-called alginates, are excellent at creating an 'artificial feeling of fullness" in the stomach.
"Over a three-year period, we have studied the effect of taking different alginate doses. We are able to demonstrate that the healthy subjects who took alginates and were also allowed to eat as much as they wanted felt less hungry and ate less than the subjects not drinking fibre drinks with alginates," Morten Georg Jensen, a PhD student, said.
The 12-week study conducted by the researchers included 96 overweight men and women. 48 subjects drank a specially designed drink with alginates three times daily before each main course as a supplement to an energy-reduced diet. The other 48 subjects drank a placebo drink without alginates.
The 80 subjects who completed the study achieved a far larger weight loss with alginate treatment than those drinking a similar drink without alginates.
On an average, the subjects in the seaweed fibre drink group lost 1.7 kg more than those in the placebo group. According to the researchers, this weight loss is primarily due to a decrease in body fat percentage.
"A probable explanation of the weight loss is that the alginates form a gel in the stomach which strengthens the gastrointestinal satiety signals to the brain because the gel takes up space in the stomach. The overweight subjects thus ate less than usual,' Jensen added.