Scientists have shown that a breakdown product from fermentable carbohydrates, acetate, travels from the gut to the brain when released and is believed to suppress hunger.
We are getting fatter, there is no denying the statistics. According to a paper published in the journal Nature Communications, this is mostly due to the fact that we eat too much energy rich low fibre foods. In the yesteryears of the Palaeolithic our ancestors were eating in excess of 100g of fermentable carbohydrates (including fibre) per day. In today’s modern western diet we consume around 20g per day.
The researchers had previously shown that adding fermentable carbohydrate to the diet of mice led to “reduced energy intake and body weight”. In this study they wanted to follow the most abundant breakdown product of fermentable carbohydrate, acetate, to see where it ended up. They found that when released by fermentation in the colon the acetate travelled to the brain were it crossed the blood brain barrier.
The researchers say that work can now begin designing products for humans that will suppress appetite using acetate, however, they caution that acetate is only active for a short time in the body. The fermentation in the colon releases the acetate over a prolonged period.
Just a shot in the dark, but what about eating more fermentable carbohydrates, such as fibre rich food?
The paper is available from the Nature communications website.