Researchers from the Medical Research Council (MRC) and Imperial College London have discovered an anti-appetite molecule named as acetate. These acetate molecules are discharged when our body digests fibre. The released acetate molecules carried to the brain, which then signals our body to stop consuming more food.
The research emphasis on increasing the fibre content in our diet for harnessing benefits like curbing the urge of overeating, reducing our appetite and help controlling weight. The study findings suggest that applying acetate into the blood reduces the appetite.
Vegetables, seeds and nuts contain good amount of dietary fibre. The bacteria present in our colon break down these fibres, which releases acetate. Researchers observed the movement of acetate, starting from colon till it reaches the brain and thus understood the mechanisms that ultimately affect appetite.
According to Professor Gary Frost leading the study says, during Stone Age time, average fibre consumption was about 100 grams per day, but today the amount has been reduced to around 15 grams of fibre in a day. This is mainly because during the stone age, raw food consumption was more unlike today where low fibre, processed food are favored over vegetables, pulses, nuts and seeds. And this change is diet is the major factor contributing to obesity issues that is prevalent today.
The research explains that indulging in high fibre diet can suppress appetite and can help to combat overeating problem.
To support the research, an experiment was conducted on mice. One group of mice was served with cereal bars rich in fat, along with insulin, which is also a form of dietary fibre derived from chicory and sugar beets, while the other group had only a high fat diet with no insulin. The mice on high fat diet along with insulin were seen to eat less and were lighter in weight than the other group. The insulin fed mice also had an increased acetate level in their guts.
Researchers used positron emission tomography (PET) scans to track the movement of acetate from the colon, and found that they finally reach the hypothalamus area of the brain, which also control hunger. Using other methods, the researchers understood the role and metabolism of acetate in the hypothalamus, which start a series of events that ultimately suppress hunger.
Researchers have finally understood how fibre helps to suppress appetite and found the role of acetate molecules in the process. Researchers to devise new methods to control the growing obesity epidemic could use these findings. They can find a safe method to induce acetate in the bloodstream, which can naturally curb the urge to overeat and help in tackling obesity. Therefore, it’s time to make a switch from processed food to a diet rich in vegetables, pulses and other natural sources of fibre and stay healthy and fit.
Source: Imperial College London