Science breakthrough could lead to anti-obesity pill

Caroline Cassidy
Scientists discover how fibre helps to suppress appetite
Scientists discover how fibre helps to suppress appetite

Pic: Corbis

Obesity is becoming an increasingly big issue in the western world, but scientists believe they have made a breakthrough that could lead to a simple but effective aid to help overweight people to shed the extra pounds.

According to the Daily Express, British experts have pinpointed the way in which fibre in foods helps to suppress appetite. They now hope that a simple daily pill could be help to combat the obesity epidemic without the need for surgical treatments.

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In a study led by Imperial College London and the Medical Research Council, an anti-appetite molecule called acetate, which is produced when we digest fibre, was identified. The molecule goes to the brain when released, which subsequently sends out a signal that we are full, thereby preventing us from overeating.

In animal trials, when acetate was injected directly into the blood, colon or brains of mice, their food consumption was reduced.

Lead author of the report, which was published in the journal Nature Communications, Professor Gary Frost explained that back in the Stone Age, humans would consume somewhere in the region of 100g of fibre per day. Today our average daily consumption is estimated to be just 15g.

Prof. Frost added: "Unfortunately our digestive system has not yet evolved to deal with this modern diet. This mismatch contributes to the current obesity epidemic."

Tam Fry, of the National Obesity Forum, welcomed the research, telling the Express: "These researchers are top notch and are targeting obesity in a practical way by finding how the brain can tell people to stop eating so much.

"It will take years to come onto the market, but if we can develop something such as a pill, it will be worth its weight in gold."

What do you think? Could an appetite suppressant effectively combat the obesity epidemic? Leave your comments below...

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