Today, we are talking about alginate, non digestible polysaccharides that are extracted from brown algae. It would seem that alginate is able to reduce the amount of fat our bodies can absorb and so by adding it to bread it could help in the fight against obesity or help those with non alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Alginate fortified bread is back in the news this week as it was reported at The International Liver Congress™ 2015 as a way to help those with non alcoholic fatty liver disease. But this is not the first time we have heard of this bread. There was a poster presented back in 2013 at The Proceedings of The Physiological Society that spoke about using this bread to fight obesity.
Alginate is funny stuff, by dissolving it in a fruit juice for instance and then dropping this into a liquid with calcium the alginate solidifies and you can make spherical edible balls. (In fact we use this technique in plant biology to make artificial seeds or prepare plants of cryopreservation (but that is outside the scope of this blog).
What I wonder though, is if alginate helps stop the body from absorbing fat would it not make more sense to put it in a food product that contains more fat than bread? Although I could see in pizza dough or burger buns it could be a good idea. A quick internet search will tell you that it is already used as a stabiliser in ice creams, yogurts, cream and cheese. So why are these products not being highlighted as possible diet versions?