Anyone who battles weight loss understands this: although it's hard to get rid of the unwanted pounds, it's more difficult to maintain it. Else, you go back to zero again. That's why the discovery of this new ingredient may be helpful if you struggle with the latter.
This ingredient is called propionate. To be clear, this is actually produced by the body, right in your gut. When you eat something with fiber, the body creates propionate, when the microbes ferment what you've eaten, which then tells your gut to secrete hormones that tell the brain you're full. This explains why fiber can easily make you feel satiated.
However, according to the team from University of Glasgow and Imperial College London, who worked on the study surrounding this component, the body may not produce enough of this to help those who tend to become overweight really control their weight.
Thus, what has been a study conducted among mice was later adapted to humans. They synthesized propionate and combined this with inulin, which is a supplement that is high in fiber.
To test its effectiveness, 20 people participated in the first study. In front of a buffet, they were asked to eat as much as they want and as many food as they can handle. Those who were given the supplement with propionate ate 14% less than the others. They also had more hormones that suppress appetite in their blood, which meant they were most likely the first ones to feel full.
In another study, around 60 people who were deemed overweight ate food that had either inulin with propionate or purely inulin.
In the end of the 24th week, only one out of the 25 people who had consumed inulin with propionate gained 3% more. For the group with inulin only, about 25% of them gained weight. The first group also had less fat in their liver and abdomen, which meant a reduction of a higher risk in central obesity.
Although propionate doesn't encourage weight loss, it can be helpful in controlling weight gain, especially since a person can gain as much as 1.8 pounds every year.