Fructooligosaccharides - New Weight Loss Supplement to be Tested

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New Weight-Loss Weapon to be Tested

Dr. Raylene Reimer and her colleagues at the University of Calgary in Alberta have uncovered evidence that a natural fiber known as oligofructose, a type of fructooligosaccharide (FOS), may help reduce overeating and improve blood lipids.  Fructooligosaccharides are pro-biotic fibers available as a dietary supplement.

"It's not a chemical or a drug, Dr. Reimer explained.  In fact it's 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."

Dr. Reimer, who is a member of the University of Calgarys Faculty of Kinesiology, is launching the first human trials of the fiber on the basis of research under consideration for approval in a peer-reviewed journal.  Reimer and University of Calgary doctorate student Jill Parnell found that lean and genetically obese rats given diets enhanced with oligofructose and inulin (another FOS) for eight weeks greatly lowered their food intake and experienced improved blood lipid profiles.

They concluded that probiotic fiber supplementation could be used as a dietary support for obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

"It may not be the magic bullet, but in all likelihood this will likely be one factor that people can change in their life to help achieve a healthy body weight, Dr Reimer commented. It won't cure obesity or cause people to drop half their body weight -- not even our strongest obesity drugs can do that -- but we believe it could help."

The clinical trial will enroll 50 overweight but healthy individuals residing in Calgary who will consume a supplement for three months without making other lifestyle changes.

"What we have found so far in our animal studies has been very encouraging," Dr Reimer stated. "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."

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