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Flax fiber may cut hunger feelings for young men: Study

By Stephen Daniells , 10-Aug-2011

Dietary fiber from flaxseed may suppress rises in blood levels of lipids after a meal and modulate appetite, according to a new study from Denmark.

Scientists from the University of Copenhagen report that adding 2.4 grams of flaxseed fiber to a meal increased both ratings of satiety and fullness, compared with a control meal.

“These results point toward a potential of purified flaxseed dietary fiber to moderate several risk factors through effects on lipid metabolism as well as appetite regulation, although no effect on ad libitum food intake was seen,” wrote the researchers in Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases .

The University of Copenhagen has filed a patent related to the current research.

An expanding market for expanding waist lines

The slimming ingredients market can be divided into six groups based on the mechanisms of action – boosting fat burning/ thermogenesis, inhibiting protein breakdown, suppressing appetite/boosting satiety (feeling of fullness), blocking fat absorption, carbohydrate blockers, and regulating mood (linked to food consumption).

At last year’s SupplySide West Expo in Las Vegas, Tom Vierhile from Datamonitor told attendees that the big growth area for supplements regarding claims is for calorie or fat burning. In 2007, calorie/fat burning was experiencing 1 percent growth, while in 2010 this had increased to 3 per cent, he said.

Satiety continues to receive a lot of attention from consumers, said Vierhile, however such interest does not necessarily translate into product sales, he said. Indeed, according to a recent survey of global consumers by Datamonitor, “consumers talk around satiety, and not about it”.

“Hunger control will potentially resonate more effectively with consumers than satiety,” he advised.

Study details

The Danish researchers recruited 18 young men with an average age of 27 and an average BMI of 25 kg/m2 and randomly assigned them to consume meals supplemented with 1.4 or 2.4 grams of whole flaxseeds per megajoule of energy, or 2.4 or 3.5 g/MJ of flaxseed dietary fiber. During seven hours of study, analysis of appetite-regulating hormones and blood sugar and lipid levels were analyzed.

Results showed that, compared to a control meal, blood levels of triacylglycerols were reduced significantly after consuming the highest dose of flaxseed fiber.

“Higher mean ratings of satiety and fullness was seen following the [high dose fiber] meal compared to [the control] meal,” wrote the researchers.

Differences were also observed between the response of ghrelin, an appetite-regulating hormone, for the flaxseed fiber-supplemented meals, but no overall differences in production levels for ghrelin (or other hormones CCK and GLP-1) were observed between the groups.

“Further research is however necessary to substantiate the observed effects and to determine whether a reduction in postprandial triacylglycerols and appetite will translate into a change in body weight and cardiovascular risk in the longer term,” they added.

Source: Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2011.03.00
“Flaxseed dietary fibers suppress postprandial lipemia and appetite sensation in young men”
Authros: M. Kristensen, F. Savorani, S. Christensen, S.B. Engelsen, S. Bügel, S. Toubro, I. Tetens, A. Astrup

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