Is Seaweed the New Obesity Tidal Flood Quick Fix?

The BBC has recently reported that a new study suggests that seaweed (alginates) could be a key factor in helping weight loss through blocking fat absorption.

Researchers from Newcastle University in the UK have recently conducted a study into the alginates that naturally occur in seaweed or kelp to be specific. The research conducted has discovered that these alginates may be able to help reduce fat absorption in the human body. The study was published in the peer-reviewed science journal Food Chemistry.

The study centred around specific types of alginates that have been shown to slow down the activity of the pancreatic lipase which is a fat digesting enzyme.

The end result, if successful would mean the partial blockage of the volume of fat absorbed by the human body which of course could help significantly with obesity problems.

Fat blockers not entirely healthy.

Generally it is accepted in the medical profession that fats are important to human digestion. The problem of course lies in excessive fat consumption and the absorption of it.

Clearly anything that inhibits the body’s natural capacity to absorb fat will have some consequences as the fat has to go somewhere. There are weight loss drugs such as Orlistat which essentially function using the same principle but result in side effects such as flatulence and oily diarrhoea.

So it is pretty clear that taking a substance that decreases fat absorption will never be a suitable replacement for a healthy diet and regular exercise. Not only that, it may even encourage excess consumption and a decrease in diet quality in some patients.

Irrespective of any findings the weight loss market is rife with ‘quick-fix’ weight loss treatments based around seaweed. The excess fat is passed through the system and doesn’t accumulate under the skin or around your vital organs which is the cause of health issues.

Alginates – a quick rundown.

Alginic acid which is also called algin or alginate is an anionic polysaccharide found in the cell walls of brown seaweeds. Alginates are refined from these brown seaweeds with a wide variety of brown seaweeds being harvested throughout the world.

The Alginates are then converted into sodium alginate which is what is used the food and pharmaceutical industries. In the food industry they are used as gelling agents and thickeners to alter and improve food texture.