Animal Study Shows Possible Mechanism for Fiber’s Role in Reducing Appetite

ATLANTA (September 8, 2014) — Researchers find possible mechanism to explain why fiber is associated with reduced appetite, according to a new study by Frost et al. published in Nature Communications.

In the study, the researchers supplemented high-fat diets of mice with a highly digestible fiber, inulin, or a poorly digested fiber, cellulose. The feces of the mice whose diet was supplemented with inulin had higher levels of acetate, a short-chain fatty acid which is a by-product of fiber fermentation in the gut.

Researchers further investigated the role of acetate in reducing appetite by administering acetate directly into the blood stream of the mice, then observing the food intake and weight of the mice. They found that the mice with the higher levels of acetate in their brains consumed less food. The researchers concluded that, “acetate may at least in part mediate some of the obesity-protective effects of FC [fermentable carbohydrate, or fiber] rich diets directly in the central nervous system, thus suggesting that acetate may be useful as a potential anti-obesity therapeutic.” They added that the study provides a “novel insight into a mechanism through which FC may mediate appetite suppression” and that “fermentation products of FC and dietary fiber may aid in the control of body weight.”

Frost G, Sleeth ML, Sahuri-Arisoylu M, Lizarbe B, Cerdan S, Brody L, et al. The short-chain fatty acid acetate reduces appetite via a central homeostatic mechanism. Nat Commun, 2014; doi: 10.1038/ncomms4611.