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New Food Supplement Curbs Cravings Says Study

Tim Boyer's picture
Inulin-propionate suppresses cravings for high-calorie foods

A new study finds that eating this type of food supplement, based on a molecule produced by bacteria in the gut, reduces cravings for high-calorie foods.


According to a news release from Imperial College London, local scientists in collaboration with researchers from the University of Glasgow found that a supplement based on a compound produced by gut bacteria can be made into a new food supplement that appears to curb cravings for high-calorie foods.

YouTube Video about the Study

Thus compound is called “propionate” and is released by gut bacteria as a by-product after digesting the fiber inulin. Propionate has previously been found to induce signaling to a region of the brain involved in appetite control. However, eating enough inulin fiber to produce significant amounts of propionate for appetite control can be daunting—at least 60 grams per day whereas the average daily consumption for most people is 15 grams.

Here is an earlier study about propionate as an Appetite Suppressant that Reduces Belly Fat.

A proposed solution to this problem was to create a food supplement called inulin-propionate that increases propionate production by 2.5 times in the human gut.

To test this proposed solution, 20 volunteers were fed a milkshake that contained either the inulin-propionate supplement or regular inulin fiber. After drinking the milkshake the volunteers’ brains were examined by MRI while looking at photos of both low-calorie foods and high-calorie foods.

What the researchers found was the volunteers who drank the milkshake containing inulin-propionate, had less activity in the areas of the brain associated with food cravings and the impulse to eat while viewing images of high-calorie foods than those who drank the inulin fiber milkshake.

A second part of the study involved feeding as much pasta as desired to members of both groups after drinking their assigned milkshakes and monitoring which group ate the least amount of pasta. What they found was that the inulin-propionate group ate ten percent less pasta than the inulin fiber group.

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According to the news release, Professor Gary Frost, senior author of the study from the Department of Medicine at Imperial, said: “Our previous findings showed that people who ate this ingredient gained less weight―but we did not know why. This study is filling in a missing bit of the jigsaw―and shows that this supplement can decrease activity in brain areas associated with food reward at the same time as reducing the amount of food they eat.”

Furthermore, the news release also points out that this could be a new supplement in the making to help people control their weight:

"If we add this to foods it could reduce the urge to consume high-calorie foods," stated the study’s first author, Claire Byrne, PhD, who added that some people's gut bacteria may naturally produce more propionate than others, which may be why some people seem more naturally predisposed to gain weight.

Appetite Suppressants Available Today

Until an inulin-propionate supplement is available commercially, here are some articles on natural appetite suppressants that may help you curb those high-calorie cravings:

Dr. Oz's Appetite Suppressant Advice Plus 3 Natural Ways to Increase Your Serotonin

Natural Weight Loss Supplement Curbs Appetite Study Says

Lose Weight with This Surprising Natural Appetite Suppressant That’s Healthy for You


Imperial College London “Cravings for high-calorie foods may be switched off by new food supplement

Increased colonic propionate reduces anticipatory reward responses in the human striatum to high-energy foods” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, July 2016 104 (1); Claire S. Byrne et al.