A natural fibre called inulin, taken as a supplement, can quadruple weight loss, research finds.
Inulin is found naturally in many foods, including wheat, leeks, bananas and asparagus.
The fibre helps the body burn fat faster and reduces cravings for high-calorie foods.
The current study tested a type of inulin called an inulin propionate ester (IPE).
Propionate is found naturally in the gut and is produced when food is broken down.
IPE was developed as it is easier to break down and produces feelings of fullness quicker.
For the study, 20 obese women went on a four-week course of regular exercise combined with taking the supplement.
The results showed that the IPE increased the rate at which the women burned fat.
Professor Gary Frost, study co-author, said:
“These results are encouraging in that they show this potential food supplement, when combined with exercise, can help people burn through their fat stores faster, decreases appetite and could in the long term help to achieve a healthy weight.”
While exercise is important, its link to weight loss is inconsistent, said Dr Douglas Morrison, study co-author:
“Adding moderate exercise to your daily routine is a good thing for your cardiovascular and general health, but the effects it has on the amount of fat which you burn while at rest and after a meal can be inconsistent and these effects don’t easily translate through to changes in body composition and body mass.
Our own research has shown that IPE can encourage people to feel full while eating less, and that it encourages the human body to burn fat faster.”
A previous study found that inulin on its own could quadruple weight loss.
The study was published in the journal Metabolism (Malkova et al., 2020).