Published in Applied Research
Acceptability of alginate enriched bread and its effect on fat digestion in humans

Lifestyle interventions and physical activity remain the cornerstone of obesity management, as pharmacological therapies (orlistat) are associated with gastrointestinal (GI) side effects. Combining orlistat with fibers can reduce side effects, improving compliance. Therefore, a fiber that inhibits lipase without side effects could help treat obesity.

Researchers from UK have published in Food Hydrocolloids 93, 395-401, 2019, a work whose aims were to assess whether alginate enriched bread could inhibit fat digestion, and assess the acceptability of alginate bread and its effect on GI wellbeing. A double-blind, randomised, controlled cross-over pilot study (NCT03350958) assessed the impact of an alginate bread meal on; lipid content in ileal effluent and circulating triacylglycerol levels. This was compared against the same meal with non-enriched (control) bread. GI wellbeing and acceptability of alginate bread was compared to control bread through daily wellbeing questionnaires and food diaries (NCT03477981). Control bread followed by alginate bread were consumed for two weeks respectively. Consumption of alginate bread reduced circulating triacylglycerol compared to control (2% reduction in AUC) and significantly increased lipid content in ileal effluent (3.8g+/-1.6 after 210min). There were no significant changes to GI wellbeing when comparing alginate bread to control bread. A significant increase in the feeling of fullness occurred with alginate bread compared to baseline and the first week of control bread consumption.

This study showed that sustained consumption of alginate enriched bread does not alter GI wellbeing and can decrease lipolysis, increasing lipid leaving the small intestine. Further studies are required to demonstrate that reduced fat digestion through the action of alginate can reduce fat mass or body weight.

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