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New research: oligofructose offers weight loss benefits

Supplementation with a leading brand of oligofructose has been shown to decrease body weight and energy intake in overweight and obese adults without any lifestyle or dietary change.

In a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, 48 overweight or obese healthy adults received either 21g/day of Orafti P95 oligofructose or maltodextrin as a control.

After 12 weeks, volunteers in the oligofructose group experienced a reduction in body weight of 1.03 kg, while the control subjects gained 0.45 kg weight. The weight loss affected mainly body fat mass, in particular trunk fat mass.

Lower energy intake was observed in subjects in the oligofructose group, which could explain the weight loss. However, researchers also found effects of the intake of oligofructose on postprandial blood glucose and insulin responses before and after the intervention period, indicating an improvement of 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 by researchers to the oligofructose supplementation.

Belgium-based Beneo-Orafti, which supplies Orafti P95, said the study, conducted at the University of Calgary in Canada and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, was a "breakthrough" and supported earlier findings in other research.

Anke Sentko, vice president regulatory affairs and nutrition communication, said: "This is another important milestone in the fight against obesity. We have more tools than just counting calories. The dietary fibres inulin and oligofructose have to be looked at as another effective tool."

1. 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): 1751-1759.

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