Food Cravings and Inulin
Consuming a form of powdered food complement based on a molecule produced by microorganisms in the gut, reduces cravings for top-calorie meals such as chocolate, cake and pizza, new research suggests.
Scientists from Imperial College London and the University of Glasgow requested 20 volunteers to devour a milkshake that either contained an ingredient referred to as inulin-propionate ester, or a kind of fibre known as inulin.
Previous experiences have shown that bacteria within the intestine can release a compound called propionate once they digest the fibre inulin, which can signal to the mind to reduce urge for food. However the inulin-propionate ester complement releases much more propionate within the intestines than inulin alone.
Inulin and Weight Loss
After ingesting the milkshakes, the subjects underwent an MRI scan, where they were shown images of various low or high calorie meals such as salad, fish and veggies or chocolate, cake and pizza.
The researchers determined that when volunteers drank the milkshake containing inulin-propionate ester, they had much less endeavor in areas of the brain linked to reward but only when they are watching the high calorie foods. These areas, referred to as the caudate and the nucleus accumbens, are found in the centre of the brain and have been linked to food cravings and the motivation to eat.
The volunteers also had to rate how appealing they found the meals. The outcome confirmed that once they drank the milkshake with the inulin-propionate ester supplement they rated the high calorie meals as much less appealing.
In the second part of this study, which is released in the July issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutriton, the volunteers got a bowl of pasta with tomato sauce, and were asked to eat as a lot as they like. When members drank the inulin-propionate ester, they ate 10 percent less pasta than after they drank the milkshake that contained inulin alone.
In previous research done by the same researchers done in 2013, they discovered that overweight volunteers who introduced the inulin-propionate ester complement to their meals day-to-day, lost weight over six months compared to volunteers who added only inulin to their foods.
Professor Gary Frost who is the lead author said, Our previous findings showed that people who ate this ingredient gained less weight — but we did not know why. This study is filling in a missing bit of the jigsaw — and shows that this supplement can decrease activity in brain areas associated with food reward at the same time as reducing the amount of food they eat. The amount of inulin-propionate ester used in this study was 10g — which previous studies show increases propionate production by 2.5 times. To get the same increase from fibre alone, we would need to eat around 60g a day. At the moment, the UK average is 15g.
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