‘Feel Full’ Chemical Not Exactly New News
Google the term propionate and you’ll find very recent news result links ranging from “Obesity Epidemic May See Slowdown With New Ingredient That Makes You Feel Full”, “This ‘Feel Full’ Chemical Could Be the Future of Weight Loss”, “Food supplement appears to prevent weight gain” and “Ingredient that could help you eat less”.
I’ve read most of them. They’ve all stemmed from recent research done at Imperial College London and the University of Glasgow and published in GUT, an International Journal of Gastroenterology and Heptology. The research suggests that a gut metabolite called propionate might help satiate us, which also means it just might help us feel full which just might even prevent weight gain. News Flash! This isn’t new news.
We Already Know Priopionate Promotes Satiety
We’ve known about this little byproduct of microbial fermentation within the gut for a while now. And we talk about it here at Green Mountain often. Okay, sure we don’t go around using the word propionate often, or even ever, but that’s just part of our approach here!
We talk about the real life bigger picture, we talk about balanced eating. Here’s the thing, when you eat fiber, within it is a little chemical called inulin. When inulin reaches the guts it gets broken down and the byproduct is propionate. Propionate then tells the brain that it’s satisfied and then we stop eating.
That’s why we encourage people to eat lots of plants and we’ve been saying it awhile now. That’s why we don’t get so excited about studies like this one.
But Priopionate As A Food Ingredient?
Unlike lots of other professionals, we aren’t seeing this as an “innovative way to fight against weight gain” as stated by Dr Richard Besser, ABC News Chief Health and Medical Editor. And we certainly aren’t looking forward to the work being done by a well-known food company that hopes to develop propionate into an approved food ingredient.
Why? Your body can make it! Remember, you eat the fiber inulin and your guts then produce propionate. Inulin is found in lots of plants. Here’s a few…beets, leeks, asparagus, garlic, onions, bananas, wheat and the tasty green chicory (try it in salad). So eat the plants to get the inulin to make the propionate to tell the body it’s satisfied.
Here’s another interesting thing. The fiber inulin is already an approved food ingredient. Where do food companies use it? As a fat replacement in things like yogurt and ice-cream and chocolate and cheese and candy bars.
Focusing On One Food Ingredient Isn’t The Solution
And what did we recently learn about this same approach of isolating and over focusing on a single ingredient in food? Well, remember this photo…(on right)
Eating Plants Produces Priopionate Naturally
So can we stop isolating and glamorizing or demonizing these little chemicals within food that produce these even littler chemicals within our bodies and just eat our food in a whole and balanced manner?
Yes, propionate is a great chemical that your body makes that helps us recognize satiation so allow your body to make it, naturally, by eating whole foods. Go enjoy a banana and think about it.
Have a great weekend!