Washington: It sounds counter-intuitive -- add sugarcane extract to a fatty diet and it will help shed the flab. But that could be the way of the future if trials by scientists, including an Indian-origin researcher, pan out. (Agencies)
Dr Ankur Desai from Horizon Science, a Melbourne-based food biotechnology firm, and colleagues at La Trobe University claim their findings show sugarcane molasses in high-fat diets can encourage calorie excretion and increase metabolism.
In their research, published in the 'Nutrition Horizon' journal, the scientists investigated the impact of adding an extract of molasses to the food of mice raised on a high fat diet.
Molasses usually end up as a waste-product of sugar refining. However, they are rich in polyphenols – chemicals found in plants known for their antioxidant properties, said lead scientist Richard Weisinger.
The results of the La Trobe experiments may provide a completely new approach for weight management in humans, say the scientists who have presented their findings at a meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behaviour in the US.
The scientists supplemented the high-fat diet of a group of laboratory mice with molasses for 12 weeks. They found that these mice had lower body weight, reduced body fat and decreased blood levels of leptin -- a hormone involved in energy regulation, appetite and metabolism -- than others. Further analyses revealed that molasses supplements led to increased energy excretion, ie, more calories were lost in feces. The scientists found increased gene expression for several liver and fat cell biomarkers of energy metabolism.
"The addition of molasses extract to a high-fat diet appears to reduce body weight and body fat levels, primarily through reduced caloric absorption.
"Supplementing food with molasses extract might therefore be a way of tackling the worldwide increase of obesity and metabolic syndrome which has huge costs for our health systems," said Weisinger.
Clinical trials are scheduled to begin next year to evaluate the molasses extract for weight control in humans.
Washington: It sounds counter-intuitive -- add sugarcane extract to a fatty diet and it will help shed the flab. But that could be the way of the future if trials by scientists, including an Indian-origin researcher, pan out.