For the first time, scientists have developed an ingredient, which when added to foods can make one fell more filling. The ingredient devised by the researchers at Imperial College London and the University of Glasgow contains propionate, which stimulates the gut to release hormones that act on the brain to reduce hunger. Propionate is produced naturally when dietary fibre is fermented by microbes in the gut, but the new ingredient, called inulin-propionate ester (IPE), provides much larger quantities of propionate than people can acquire with a normal diet.
Professor Gary Frost, who led the study at the Department of Medicine at Imperial College London, said that molecules like propionate stimulate the release of gut hormones that control appetite, but people need to eat huge amounts of fibre to achieve a strong effect. They wanted to find a more efficient way to deliver propionate to the gut.
The small, proof-of-principle study showed encouraging signs that supplementing one's diet with the ingredient they've developed prevented weight gain in overweight people.
The findings are published today in the journal Gut.