Dr. Raylene Reimer, a researcher at the University of Calgary, believes she may have found an important weapon in the war against obesity. Reimer and her colleagues are launching the first human trials to assess a promising natural fiber, which has already been shown to be effective in tests involving laboratory animals.
The natural fiber, called oligo fructose, is a food product that is already being used in things like yogurt, cereal and baby food. "We have found in a previous study with rats that the fiber increases the levels of a satiety hormone called glucagon-like peptide (GLP-1) in the body and increases a gene in the intestines that helps the body to create more GLP-1," explained Reimer. Working with genetically obese rats, Reimer found that consuming the natural fiber helped the rats to significantly reduce their food intake and improved their blood lipid profile.
"It may not be the magic bullet," Reimer said, "but in all likelihood this will be one factor that people can change in their life to help achieve a healthy body weight. It won't cure obesity or cause people to drop half their body weight but we believe it could help."
The new study will involve human subjects who will be required to take a dietary supplement over a three-month period while making no other lifestyle changes. Participants' body composition will be tracked using cutting-edge technology to determine their body fat ratios. "What we have found so far in our animal studies has been very encouraging," says Reimer. "Another short study done by some Belgian researchers also indicates that the fiber will work for people, but we really won't know until we complete this detailed, long-term study."
Source: University of Calgary