Molasses blocks calorie absorption; could help obesity

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Molasses and weight loss
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Molasses might help treat obesity, even in the presence of a high fat diet, suggests new research.

In mouse studies, scientists found molasses - thick, sweet syrup, made from processing sugar cane, beets or grapes - blocks calorie absorption, leading to weight loss.

Richard Weisinger, Ph.D., investigated the impact of adding molasses extract to a high fat diet. In findings to be presented the upcoming annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior (SSIB), mice given a diet supplemented with the syrupy extract, lost weight had less body fat and experienced lower levels of the hunger hormone leptin.

Molasses health benefits might include weight control

Molasses has several health benefits from polyphenols that are antioxidants. It is high in iron, a good source of calcium and contains high levels of copper, manganese, magnesium and potassium. Polyphenols in molasses provide antioxidant properties.

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According to Weisinger,” The addition of molasses extract to a high fat diet appears to reduce body weight and body fat levels primarily through reduced caloric absorption. Due to the increasing worldwide prevalence of obesity and associated health problems, supplementing food with molasses extract might be a way to address the escalating rates of overweight and obesity”

For the study, mice were given either a high fat diet or regular, supplement with 2% or 4% molasses extract
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The mice given 4% extract of molasses lost weight and body fat. The researchers noted higher excretion of calories, measured in feces. They also found molasses increased energy metabolism in the liver and in fat cells from increased gene expression.

Weisinger says clinical trials are planned for next year to see of molasses extract could help fight obesity in humans. The hope is that the sugary syrup could provide an option for weight control, given current obesity rates.

Molasses extract decreases diet-induced obesity
Appetite, Volume 57, Supplement 1, 2011, Page S46
R.S. Weisinger, L. Stahl, D.P. Begg, M. Jois, A. Desai, J. Smythe

Image credit: Wikimedia commons

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