Prebiotic fibres may boost weight loss: Study

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Obesity

Daily consumption of prebiotic oligofructose may lead to weight loss by suppressing levels of hormones linked to hunger, says a new study from Canada.

Overweight and obese adults receiving supplements of oligofructose lost an average of one kilogram over 12 weeks, compared to a general increase in weight in the placebo group of almost half a kilo, according to results of a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition​.

Jill Parnell and Raylene Reimer from the University of Calgary report that the prebiotic fibres were associated with lower levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin, and higher levels of a hormone in the gut, peptide YY (PYY), linked to increased feelings of fullness (satiety).

“Independent of other lifestyle changes, oligofructose supplementation has the potential to promote weight loss and improve glucose regulation in overweight adults,”​ wrote the researchers.

As obesity levels continue to rise around the globe, the study of food components for weight management is gaining momentum. Several studies have reported that daily supplement of prebiotic inulin and oligofructose may help in the maintenance of an appropriate body weight and BMI.

Indeed, a study, published in the Journal of Pediatrics​ (Sept. 2007, Vol. 151, pp. 293-298), reported that the prebiotics supplements of inulin/oligofructose (eight grams, BeneoSynergy1, Orafti) resulted in a much lower increment in BMI over the one year, compared to the control group. Body weight and body fat mass were also significantly lower in the prebiotic group, compared to the controls.

The new study, funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the University of Calgary, used Beneo Orafti’s Orafti P95 (formerly Raftilose 95).

Study details

Parnell and Reimer recruited 48 overweight and obese, but otherwise healthy, adults and randomly assigned then to receive daily supplements of oligofructose (21 grams) or placebo (maltodextrin) for 12 weeks.

At the end of the study, people in the oligofructose lost on average 1.03 kg of body weight, while people in the placebo group gained an average of 0.45 kg.

While levels of ghrelin were suppressed by the prebiotic supplements, and PPY levels increased, no effects were observed on the satiety hormone glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1).

Furthermore, the oligofructose group reported a reduction in self-reported caloric intake, in addition to decreased levels of glucose and a mirroring effect on insulin concentrations.

No adverse events were reported, showing that the ingredient was well tolerated.

Welcome results

Commenting on the results, Anke Sentko, VP regulatory affairs & nutrition communication of the Beneo Group, manufacturer of the Orafti P95 Oligofructose, said: “Results of the present study demonstrate for the first time in a human intervention study, that supplementation with oligofructose, independently from any lifestyle change is able to decrease body weight, primarily by loosing fat mass, and helps to manage caloric intake in overweight and obese adults.”

Sentko told NutraIngredients that, when taken together with earlier findings with inulin and oligofructose, the study represented “another important milestone in the research for fighting against obesity”​.

“We have more tools in the fight against obesity than just counting calories and the dietary fibres inulin and oligofructose have to be looked at as another effective tool in the obesity fight,”​ added Sentko.

Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition​ June 2009, Volume 89, Number 6, Pages 1751-1759, doi:10.3945/ajcn.2009.27465“Weight loss during oligofructose supplementation is associated with decreased ghrelin and increased peptide YY in overweight and obese adults”​ Authors: J.A. Parnell, R.A. Reimer

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