Seaweed could be key to weight loss, study suggests

Seaweed could be key to weight loss, study suggests

Yesterday the story below appeared on the BBC news site - and likely enough elsewhere.

Please be very, very clear that this is referring to the alginate extracted from seaweed. Though there is no mention, I imagine they control the iodine level carefully (otherwise, how could they make claims for alginate and know the effects are not due to iodine or something else?) It categorically does NOT mean that eating seaweed would be a way of reducing absorption of fats. It seemingly has nothing in common with the various seaweed products which are currently available - the main function of which seems to be to act as a source of iodine.

Many here also have at the least reservations about impacting dietary fats. This ends up sounding like an alternative to Orlistat / Xenical / Alli.

Alginate is already used for dental impressions and as a constituent of Gavison. Not sure if it is the same form or not.

1 March 2014 Last updated at 03:09

Seaweed could be key to weight loss, study suggests

Seaweed could be the secret ingredient to losing weight, research has suggested.

Scientists at Newcastle University said a compound found in common seaweed would stop the body absorbing fat.

Tests showed that alginate, found in sea kelp, can suppress the digestion of fat in the gut.

The findings, published in the journal Food Chemistry, showed that a four-fold increase in one type of alginate boosted anti-fat absorption by 75%.

Although not normally regarded as particularly appetising, the natural fibre found in kelp which stops the body absorbing fat could become more appealing to people trying to lose weight.

The scientists said tests on alginate extracted from the seaweed showed it could reduce the amount of fat the body absorbed.

They used it in bread during trials and found even a small amount reduced people's fat intake by a third. Now they hope to start full clinical trials.

Lead scientist Prof Jeff Pearson, from Newcastle University'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."

Researchers investigated the ability of alginate to reduce fat break-down by a digestive enzyme, pancreatic lipase.

Rest of story by following link:


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3 Replies

  • Is suppressed digestion a good thing? Is fat a bad thing,surely some fats are very necessary ?

  • I think that suppression of digestion is a questionable approach unless something has been shown to be going wrong in that process. Fats, at least some, are absolutely vital, I believe.

    I think I posted this more as a warning than an endorsement! :-)

  • Yes Rod, I agree and wonder if this is going to be a "new wonder drug" for those who don't watch what they eat. I'm sure for a minority this may be of help. I do worry about the bad publicity fats get.

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