Seaweed-based fiber supplement may help in weight loss, according to a new study. Researchers have been exploring seaweed as an appetite suppressant, but have seen problems develop because of the taste and texture of the seaweed supplements.
Dr. Arne Astrup, one of the study’s authors from the University of Copenhagen and a member of the advisory board to S-Biotek, a Danish company that provided funding for the study says, “There have been problems in the past to develop something that tastes acceptable.”
In the past, seaweed supplements have taste like fish, were slimy and caused bloating. Researchers used a new seaweed supplement for the study and have found it to work better.
The new seaweed supplement, used in the weight loss study, has a seaweed extract alginate, which is a thickening agent and common in foods such as soups and jellies.
Some seaweed supplements come in a powder form and you mix it with liquid and drink it daily before meals to help curve your appetite. It mimicks the effect of eating a large meal. Dr. Arne Astrup said, “This gel is really like a pudding that will last in the stomach for hours, gradually degrading and disappearing.”
Researchers divided 96 healthy, but obese people, aged at 20 to 55 years old, into two groups. One group was given packets of the seaweed supplement that contained 15 grams of fiber, and the other group recieved a seaweed-free placebo drink.
For three months, study participants drank the supplements, dissolved in two cups of water, 30 minutes before each meal. They were also told to cut back on calories. By the end of the trial, sixteen people had dropped out of the study, including 10 out of 48 from the seaweed group, according to findings published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
For those who stuck to the seaweed diet, they lost on average 15 pounds, compared to 11 pounds lost by the placebo group.