Is Seaweed the Answer To Fighting Obesity?

The embarrassing social constraints and physical discomforts of obesity render us persistently, and desperately, desiring a solution. Constantly being the butt of cruel jokes (…being asked if we would like one aeroplane seat or two!), difficulty in finding clothing that fits; it’s painful and unhealthy; both physically and emotionally! Even the awareness of having people staring at the way that we struggle to walk!

New research as claimed by a Newcastle scientific team, led by Dr. Iain Brownlee, is overwhelming the international nutritional solutions community. The discovery is that “seaweed fights obesity”. This research team has recently found that a fibre known as “alginate”, found in seaweed, reduces human body fat uptake by as much as 75%. This is far better than most over-the-counter anti-obesity solutions have ever claimed. Trying new “diets” hardly ever works; yes, our eyes get brighter, our tails get fluffier, but shedding those layers of fat – isn’t that what we want, rather than what we are getting?

Alginate” is a fibre found in seaweed or kelp and scientists have trialled the product in the laboratory using artificial gut. This has found a definite significant reduction in the digestion of fat and the product has already been added to bread for initial taste tests. Apparently “it tasted better”, however we don’t know if they mean the bread or the Alginate?

All that is left for researchers to do is to take Alginate to clinical trials as an additive in a regular diet. Rigorous clinical trials have already been conducted for more than 60 different fibre additives to test their effectiveness in terms of fat digestion, and none of these show the same potential results. Alginate also has great potential for boosting fibre intake and absorption.

Alternative and specialized, yet natural, foods which assist in dynamic weight loss and overall weight management can be part of a normal diet. Alginate is already being used by some food technologists in stabilisers and thickeners, but the potential to add alginate to commonly consumed foods in a normal diet.

Foods such as breads, yoghurts, biscuits and confectionery (even soups and stews); may result in as much as three quarters of the fat being consumed, to simply pass right through the body without getting trapped on our bingo wings, waistlines, hips and thighs as it speeds on its journey downwards. In fact Alginate is already the most popularly used commercial seaweed product world-wide.

The Research

At a recent meeting of The American Chemical Society’s in San Francisco; findings on Alginate were enthusiastically received. Rave revues from medical practitioners see this product as a “real” solution. The beauty of alginate (and thereby the beauty of us …) would have to wait to see if the same effects can be duplicated outside of the laboratory too.

This ability to reduce fat digestion has already seen Alginate dubbed as a The Great Anti-obesity Hope, but as with all weight loss solutions, relentless scientific research is necessary to provide convincing evidence to support its use in a weight loss diet. It is widely recognised that there are many false claims regarding weight loss in the market place – very few with sound scientific evidence supporting their claims. Although, Kelp has in fact been used as a weight-loss dietary supplement for quite some time.

Weight in terms of the obesity problem is one of the causes for concern; it has been proven medically that many serious health issues are caused by being overweight. Therefore if seaweed bread can be part of the solution for weight loss, it could also be part of the solution for obesity related illnesses such as diabetes, high blood-pressure and heart disease. Obesity is a growing problem (no pun intended) but most people find it very difficult to stick weight-loss and exercise plans; Alginate could make a huge difference in our lives and save the nation a fortune.

We are seeing the NHS turning to the private market to lend a hand but have we brought the cost of our nations health on ourselves. Too much junk food and binge drinking is resulting in long term health issues which is costing the country a fortune.

James, a Health Insurance Consultant at Drewberry commented ‘There are very promising results from this study however to truly combat the problem we need to change our way of thinking. We need to become proactive with our health, we are seeing it with many of the group private health insurance products and to some extent in the personal health insurance market, incentivising individuals to eat healthily and exercise. Whether it is discounted gym membership or vouchers for healthy eating it works and can save people money to.