Alginate: Wikipedia Scientists from Newcastle University in the United Kingdom reported progress in their efforts to tackle obesity with a natural fibre which, if eaten, could reduce the amount of fat taken up by the body by 75 percent. It's a seaweed fiber called alginate.
Alginate, which derives from sea kelp, is already used in the food industry in dehydration and in making sauces and gels because it is so absorbent. It is also commonly used in dentistry, mask making, crafts and yes, even some weight loss pills, although evidence of successful weight loss with the pills is sketchy.
Reportedly, the weight loss pills work by making you feel full, too full to eat. But the Newcastle University team's work, presented today at the American Chemical Society meeting in San Francisco, focused rather on consuming the alginate, for example, as an ingredient in bread. Though fibre generally produces a feeling of fullness, reducing intake is not the main purpose of the Newcastle study. This study aims to learn if, in practice, the seaweed fiber absorbs the fat eaten at the meal and assists it out of the body before it completes the digestive process.
Seaweed is a widely available commodity, and taste tests of the alginate bread have been thumbs-up. Dr. Iain Brownlee, co-leader of the study, said that in blind taste tests the alginate bread scored higher for texture and richness than a standard white loaf.
The researchers are ready to start human testing. If the alginate succeeds in helping participants lose weight, they are hoping to add alginate to other common foods.