Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Seaweed bread could help fight obesity crisis (?)

Sounds like a re-run of Xenical -- which few people stay on for long because of the side effects

Seaweed bread could be the latest weapon in fighting Britain's growing obesity crisis, according to British scientists. A team from Newcastle University has found that seaweed added to bread, biscuits and yogurt can reduce the amount of fat absorbed by the body by up to 75 per cent. The secret is the natural fibre alginate, found in sea kelp and already used in small quantities in food as a thickener. Early taste tests have suggested the idea of adding in greater quantities could be successful.

The findings are being presented at the American Chemical Society meeting in San Francisco.

Dr Iain Brownlee said: "This suggests that if we can add the natural fibre to products commonly eaten daily - such as bread, biscuits and yogurts – 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 to to carry out clinical trials to find out how effective they are when eaten as part of a normal diet."

The seaweed may be more effective than current weight loss products sold over the counter, he said. Dr Brownlee added: "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. "Alginates not only have great potential for weight management - adding them to food also has the added advantage of boosting overall fibre content." "These initial findings suggest alginates could offer a very real solution in the battle against obesity."


The latest "wonder" fruit

Good if you want slim mice

The secret to staying slim may lie in a tangy fruit. The juice of the blood orange stops mice piling on weight when fed a high-fat diet, research shows. In contrast, mice fed sweeter oranges more popular in the UK gain significant amounts of fat.

Scientists believe the fat-busting powers of the fruit, grown in Italy and the U.S., may be partly due to its high levels of anthocyanin. This red pigment that gives the orange its deep colour is a type of antioxidant, a natural chemical that helps ward off disease.

The juice damages the ability of cells called adipocytes to accumulate fat, University of Milan researchers told the International Journal of Obesity. Adipocytes are found mostly around the waistline and absorb fat from food to store as energy.



Anonymous said...

The function of adipocytes is to accumulate fat. I would be cautious about something that inhibits normal function. Maybe, if you must stress about such things, the answer is to eat less fat. Interfering with normal physiological functions is bound to end in tears whatever the apparent short term benefits.

John A said...

Seaweed bread? Yet again, I am reminded that during WWII bread in some cities of mainland Europe was made with sawdust. Lots of fibre, and the added "benefit" of not being digestible by humans. Somehow the "empty calories" crowd never mention this example.

Blood oranges, anthocyanin?

From Wikipedia (yes, not the last word, but I am not up to chasing down references) -
"Although anthocyanins are powerful antioxidants in vitro, it is unlikely this antioxidant property is conserved after the plant which produced the anthocyanins is consumed. As interpreted by the Linus Pauling Institute and European Food Safety Authority, dietary anthocyanins and other flavonoids have little or no direct antioxidant food value following digestion."