Health, Mind & Body

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Possible new way to avoid overeating

The holiday season is a prime time for entertaining and eating many rich foods. Oftentimes, people find their dieting and healthy eating plans fall by the wayside when Thanksgiving arrives and indulgence continues through New Year's Day celebrations. Those who find that they have trouble pushing themselves away from the dinner table may want to try a modified version of a food-thickening agent that can reduce hunger pangs and help individuals feel fuller after eating less.

In August of 2012, a German research team presented their findings about an ingredient called SATISFIT-LTG at the 244th National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society. The product is a variation on methyl cellulose, which helps to thicken foods. SATISFIT-LTG is a white powder that dissolves in cold water and forms a thick solution. The solution gels up when heated, and using it in food may give eaters the impression that they consumed plenty of food and that their stomachs are full, helping to reduce the tendency for overeating.

"With that sense of fullness and hunger-satisfaction, they would not crave more food," says Dr. Carsten Huettermann of Dow Wolff Cellulosics in Germany, the team responsible for developing the ingredient.

In fact, Dr. Huettermann said that, in his first study, he witnessed fewer calories being consumed after participants ate the new SATISFIT-LTG product. The research team allowed volunteers to eat as much as they wanted in the study. Those who had the anti-hunger ingredient in their food consumed 13 percent less calories than those who did not.

Methyl cellulose in its regular form is a texturizer and emulsifier in food products. It has been used safely for more than 50 years, primarily in baked goods and ready-made meals. It also has been used as a treatment for constipation. Like cellulose, it is not digestible or toxic and it is not an allergen. Methyl cellulose normally passes quickly through the stomach and digestive tract. However with SATISFIT-LTG, the unique formulation enables the emulsifier to form a thick gel at body temperature. Therefore it lingers longer in the stomach before passing into the intestines, creating a feeling of fullness.

SATISFIT-LTG has preliminary approval by the U.K. Food Standards Agency, though it has yet to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration in the United States. However, it may be promising as a dietary agent in the years to come.

Gadsden Times