Seaweed extract helps prevent fat absorption

By Mariam Digges

Seaweed extract helps prevent fat absorption
A fibre found in seaweed may prevent the body from absorbing fat, UK researchers have discovered.

Want to have your cake and eat it to? Just add some seaweed for a guilt-free twist.

Scientists from the UK’s Newcastle University are experimenting with a tasteless seaweed extract that reportedly stops fat from breaking down and being absorbed by the body.

Tests showed that the alginate – a gel found in seaweed that is already used in small quantities to thicken ice cream, yoghurt and toothpaste – stopped up to three-quarters of the fat in food from being digested into pieces small enough for the body to absorb.

According to researcher Dr Matthew Wilcox, “Normally, between 95 and 100 per cent of all the food eaten is broken down and absorbed.

“If you don’t absorb as much fat, then hopefully you can lose weight.”

The team of scientists found that the alginate powder was better at ‘blocking’ fat than many weight loss supplements.

And the fat-suppression isn’t just limited to supplements; Professor Jeff Pearson, from the University of Newcastle’s Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences, said: “We have already added 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.”


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