Seaweeds have always been one of the favorite ingredients in certain foods, especially in Asian cuisine. Seaweeds contain various nutrients such as iodine, zinc, potassium and other trace minerals. Aside from these, seaweeds have been found to benefit people because of the weight loss effects which they produce.
A recent study found that a seaweed-based fiber supplement may help people lose weight when they take the supplement on a daily basis before meals. However, the result of the study was only observed in those who continued taking the seaweed supplement over a period of time.
The seaweed-based fiber supplement was not tolerated by some participants because of the texture; taste and side-effects that made people drop out from the study. Nevertheless, the results showed that seaweeds have the potential to suppress the appetite, which is beneficial for weight loss.
These seaweed supplements were effective in reducing weight, but they were not preferred because of being slimy and causing bloating as a side effect. New seaweed supplements now have more pleasant characteristics; nevertheless, there is still room for improvement so that people will start taking them.
Seaweed supplements are usually made from alginate, which is a thickening agent and used for the manufacture of jellies and soups. The weight loss pills that contain seaweeds are packed in powder form. When they are mixed with liquids in the stomach, the alginate or the seaweeds expand forming a thick gel leading to a feeling of being full. When this occurs, people who take the pill will experience a suppression of their appetite because they feel full before meals.
The thick gel that forms in the stomach after taking the seaweed supplements usually lasts for hours and will eventually be digested and disintegrated, before being eliminated from the body.The study was undertaken by having two groups of obese individuals with no co-morbid conditions or other diseases. The obese individuals were aged 20 to 55 years old.
One group of obese people was given placebo drinks and the other group was given seaweed gel fiber supplements. The study was double blind, meaning that neither the participants nor the researchers knew who were taking the real seaweed supplements. To allow for a double blind study, the appearance, flavor and calorie content of the seaweed supplement and the placebo were the same.
The participants took the supplements for three months, 30 minutes before each meal. The results of the study show that those who took in the fiber supplement lost an average of 15 pounds compared to the average 11 pounds lost by the placebo group.
Despite the individual results, the overall study showed that there were no significant differences in the weight loss between the two groups. Nevertheless, the small difference in the weight loss of the two groups may show that seaweeds can be effective in helping weight reduction.
However, a caution was given by experts, because eating a high fiber diet will reduce hunger, but will also lead to overeating once hunger sets in. This results in questions regarding the efficacy and safety of seaweed supplements in reducing weight.
In conclusion, those who want to lose weight may benefit from seaweed-based fiber supplements, but only after consulting nutritionists or physicians in order to prevent possible adverse effects.