Inulin-Propionate Ester Supplement Can Deactivate your Junk Food Cravings
A new type of powdered nutritional supplement may be able to turn off your junk food cravings, according to scientists. Here’s everything you need to know about the exciting world of Inulin-Propionate.
What is Inulin-Propionate?
Researchers at the University of Glasgow and Imperial College London recently performed a study involving 20 volunteers. Half of those volunteers drank a milkshake that contained something called Inulin-Propionate Ester, while the other half took a type of fiber called inulin.
Researchers were building off the results of previous studies that have shown bacteria in the gut release a compound called propionate – but only when they digest the fiber inulin. In turn, the release of propionate signals to the brain to reduce appetite.
The theory was that by taking Inulin-propionate directly, instead of waiting for your body to release it, you can drastically reduce your brain’s food cravings.
In layman’s terms, eating fiber makes you feel fuller, which sends a signal to your brain to stop eating. Researchers believe they’ve created a “shortcut” that lets you feel fuller without eating as much fiber.
MRI Brain Scans Revealed Fewer Food Cravings
Testing food cravings can be difficult. That’s why researchers performed an MRI scan on each subject after they drank the milkshake. Participants were shown pictures of low or high-calorie foods – like salads, pizza, cake, chocolate, and fish.
After analyzing the results, researchers found that volunteers who drank the inulin-propionate ester milkshake had less activity in the reward parts of the brain – but only when they saw the high-calorie foods.
There are two areas of your brain that typically become activated when eating high-calorie foods, including the caudate and the nucleus accumbens, both found in the center of the brain.
Participants’ food cravings were also self-measured. They were asked to rank how appealing the fast food options – like pizza – were. Participants who drank the Propionate-inulin milkshake ranked the unhealthy foods as less appealing.
Participants Ate 10% Less Pasta After Taking Inulin-Propionate
Later in the study, participants were given a bowl of pasta with tomato sauce and told to eat as much as they like.
The participants who drank the Propionate-inulin milkshake ate 10% less pasta than the group that didn’t.
A Previous Six Month Study Indicated Similar Results
This wasn’t the first time the team had created an inulin-propionate study. A pervious study published in 2013 involved giving volunteers an inulin-propionate ester supplement every day for six months (by adding it to their food). Compared to a control group that only added inulin to their meals, the inulin-propionate group gained less weight over the six month period.
The reason they created a second follow-up study is because they didn’t know why the supplement worked. Now, thanks to the MRI scans, they know that inulin-propionate appears to turn off parts of the brain associated with reward.
Inulin-Propionate Ester Dosage
Researchers believe that the best inulin-propionate dosage is 10g, which corresponds to an increase in propionate production by 2.5 times.
As Professor Gary Frost of the Department of Medicine at Imperial said,
“To get the same increase from fibre alone, we would need to eat around 60g a day. At the moment, the UK average is 15g.”
Many people struggled to get their daily recommended value of fiber, which is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. In the United States, like the UK, the average person eats just 15 grams of fiber per day.
How to Buy Inulin-Propionate Supplements
Hold your horses. You can’t buy an inulin-propionate supplement just yet. The research listed above is early and preliminary. They weren’t testing a branded inulin-propionate supplement, nor were they performing the test on behalf of a supplement manufacturer.
In fact, researchers haven’t explicitly mentioned the possibility of creating Inulin-propionate nutritional supplements. Instead, they’re considering adding it to the food supply to combat obesity in the UK and other countries:
“If we add this to foods it could reduce the urge to consume high calorie foods,” said one of the researchers involved, Clair Byrne.
You can view more information about this study in the video below, produced by the researchers in charge of the project:
Ultimately, we don’t know when or if inulin-propionate supplements will be sold to general consumers. But stay tuned for more information about this exciting supplement as we move forward.