A new independent study published this month, led by Dr. Reimer from the University of Calgary in Canada, shows for the first time that oligofructose (Orafti®P95) supplementation helps to decrease body weight and energy intake in overweight and obese adults -- without any lifestyle or dietary change.
Results of this study come as a breakthrough, and add to earlier findings supporting the potential of inulin-type fructans in promoting body weight management. An investigation has previously shown that supplementing the diets of healthy adolescents with oligofructose-enriched inulin (Orafti®Synergy(1)) over the course of one year supports appropriate increases in body weight and body mass index (BMI) during this key growth phase. Adolescents showed lower body fat mass when receiving Orafti®Synergy(1) compared with the control group(1). In a former human intervention study, the intake of oligofructose (Orafti®P95) by healthy adults resulted in a lower daily energy intake together with reported feelings of prolonged fullness and reduced hunger perception(2).
With obesity prevalence having reached alarming proportions worldwide, it is not surprising that overweight ranks in the top four health concerns of consumers worldwide. Next to reduced physical activity, excessive energy intake is central to the development of excessive body weight. That is why, more and more, the food industry is looking for ways of helping consumers to reduce their energy intakes and maintain their optimal body weights.
The new study, conducted by the research team of Dr. Reimer (published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in April 2009), brings us closer to understanding the potential of inulin and oligofructose in weight management. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, 48 overweight or obese but otherwise healthy adults received either 21 grams/day of oligofructose (Orafti®P95) or an equal caloric level of maltodextrin as a control.
After 12 weeks, volunteers in the oligofructose group experienced a significant reduction in body weight of 1.03 kg, while the control subjects gained 0.45 kg. The weight loss affected mainly body fat mass, in particular, trunk fat mass.
The weight loss could be explained by the lower energy intake observed in subjects in the oligofructose group. The study's authors further found effects from the intake of oligofructose on postprandial blood glucose and insulin responses prior to and after the intervention period, indicating an improvement in glucose regulation.
As the subjects did not modify their physical activity or dietary habits, the observed results concerning body weight, fat mass and caloric intake were attributed to the oligofructose supplementation.
The authors further report lower postprandial ghrelin and higher PYY responses, whereas they could not detect modulations of GLP-1. Although hormone signalling certainly plays a role in the body's regulation of energy intake, the precise interactions require further study.
These new results 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 through the loss of fat mass, and to help manage caloric intake in overweight and obese adults.
Anke Sentko, Vice President, Regulatory Affairs & Nutrition Communication of BENEO-Group, manufacturer of Orafti®P95 oligofructose, comments:
"Together with the results of the other studies cited above, this research is another important milestone in the fight against obesity. It proves that we have more resources than just counting calories, that the dietary fibers inulin and oligofructose have to be looked at as additional tools."
BENEO-Orafti is part of the BENEO-Group, a division of the Südzucker Group that specializes in functional ingredients. BENEO-Orafti is a world leader in the production and sale of food ingredients derived from chicory. The company's Orafti® inulin and oligofructose products have been scientifically proven to improve the balance of the body's intestinal flora by stimulating its own beneficial bifidobacteria, helping the body to absorb more essential nutrients, such as calcium, from the diet.
Orafti® ingredients can be the basis for well-balanced food products that improve digestive health and the feeling of well-being. With a head office in Tienen, Belgium, BENEO-Orafti operates in more than 75 countries and has production units in Oreye (Belgium) and Pemuco (Chile).
(1) Abrams et al. (2007) Effect of prebiotic supplementation and calcium intake on body mass index. The Journal of Pediatrics 151: 293-298.
(2) Cani et al. (2006) Oligofructose promotes satiety in healthy human: a pilot study. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 60: 567-572.
(3) Parnell JA & Reimer RA (2009) Weight loss during oligofructose supplementation is associated with decreased ghrelin and increased PYY in overweight and obese adults. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 89(6):