A food ingredient has been found to suppress appetite and prevent weight gain in overweight people, raising the prospect of tackling the national obesity crisis through harmless dietary additives.
The ingredient is a small fatty-acid molecule called propionate which researchers attached to a form of dietary fibre found in chicory known as inulin to make it more palatable, said Professor Gary Frost of Imperial College London, who led the study.
Preliminary tests show that overweight people who regularly ate the ingredient with their meals for six months put on significantly less weight and had reduced abdominal fat compared to people who did not have the food additive.
Propionate on its own tastes absolutely foul. The closest you get is acetic acid, which is vinegar, and proprionate tastes even worse. But this is mostly lost when you stick it to inulin, although it can still taste a little bitter
- Professor Frost