Food scientists in the United Kingdom are developing a product with the promise of solving our obesity epidemic. It’s a product to be mixed with milk and taken either with a meal or in between meals.
To sum up the science behind it, the product forms a gel in your stomach making you feel full. You will then eat less. Overeating and obesity out the door!
Well, not really.
While the scientists have the best intentions to help people deal with excess weight, I can’t help but wonder why they spend so much money on developing such products. Did they even bother to look at their pantry or refrigerator for a solution?
Yes, the foods you need to form that gel they are trying to develop are right there at your fingertips. They are your high-fiber foods.
Soluble fiber, which naturally forms forms a gel in your stomach, is found in citrus fruits, pears, beans (black, kidney, lima, pinto, and navy), Brussels Sprouts, and psyllium seeds.
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But what the scientist are having trouble with is getting the gel to break down so that it releases a slow stream of food to your intestines to be digested, absorbed, and harvested for energy. Getting the gel to breakdown in 4 or 5 hours, when it’s time for the next meal, hasn’t been uncovered.
Dr Fotis Spyropoulos, who’s on the team for this product development, reports in an article in the British newspaper The Guardian
When the stomach is full, your brain is triggered to expect a reward in terms of energy
In other words, your stomach being full confuses your brain. It’s screaming out “where’s my food” when there isn’t any. You’re still in need of energy, and your brain will send those messages that will stimulate you to eat. And possibly binge.
Foods naturally high in soluble fiber, on the other hand, do the job right.
The product still needs 2 to 3 years before it can be ready for consumers, and the researchers are excited at the prospect of food companies buying in. It’s worthy to mention that the Diet and Health Research Industry Club, a collaboration of of Unilever, Coca-cola, Cadbury, United Biscuits, and Marks & Spencer, are indirectly financing this project.
Ironic, isn’t it?
According to the researcher interviewed for the article,
We’re also looking into reinforcing healthy eating habits and changing unhealthy ones. That’s what this project is about
While I still believe such projects have the best intentions, I can’t help but ask Dr. Spyropoulos:
Why can’t you just tell people to eat more natural fiber?