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Junk Food Cravings May Be Wind Down By A New Supplement

First Posted: Jul 02, 2016 06:48 AM EDT

Cravings for high-calorie food such as pizza, chocolate and cake may be reduced by eating a kind of powdered food supplement called inulin-propionate ester, according to a study.

The study was led by researchers from Imperial College London and the University of Glasgow. It involves 20 participants. The team asked them to consume a milkshake contained either an ingredient called inulin-propionate ester or a kind of fiber called inulin. Then, they underwent an MRI scan, where they were shown the picture of different low-calorie foods such as vegetables, fish and salad and high-calorie foods such as pizza, chocolate and cake, according to Science Daily.

Results showed that when the participants drank the milkshake that has the inulin-propionate ester, they had less activity in areas of their brain (the caudate and the nucleus accumbens found in the center of the brain) linked to reward--but only when looking at the high-calorie foods. These areas of the brain have been associated with food cravings and the motivation to want a food.

They also asked the participants to rate how appealing the foods that shown to them. The participants rated the high-calorie foods as less appealing after drinking the milkshake with the inulin-propionate ester supplement.

Inulin-propionate ester (IPE) has propionate, which accelerates the gut to release hormones that act on the brain to reduce hunger mode. The propionate is created when the dietary fiber is enflamed by microbes in the gut.

In a second study, which was printed in July edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the participants were asked to consume a bowl of pasta with tomato sauce. When they drank the milkshake with the inulin-propionate ester, they ate 10 percent less pasta compared with the milkshake that had inulin alone.

The inulin-propionate ester supplement is found to be effective for losing weight too. In the 2013 study, the team discovered that overweight participants who consumed food with inulin-propionate ester supplement each day had lost weight over six months compared to participants who added inulin to their food.

Dr. Tony Goldstone, co-senior author of the study from the Department of Medicine stated that this study adds to their previous brain imaging studies in people who have had gastric bypass surgery for obesity. He further said that these show that altering how the gut works can change not the only appetite in general, but also change how the brain responds when they see high-calorie foods, and how appealing they find the foods to be.

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