Body fat melts away with gum Arabic
If you consume 30 g gum Arabic every day you can lose 1.5 kg body fat in six weeks – and gain almost 1 kg lean body mass. Researchers at the University of Medical Sciences & Technology in Sudan came to this conclusion after performing a human study on 120 female students.
Food manufacturers get gum Arabic from the Acacia Senegal and Acacia seyal, two trees that grow in the Sahel in Africa. The gum is made from the trees’ resin, and is composed of complex indigestible carbohydrates. The exact composition depends on the species of tree used. The researchers used gum Arabic from the Acacia Senegal for their experiment.
If you eat industrially processed foods you will consume small amounts of gum Arabic daily. The food industry uses gum Arabic – E414 – as a thickener, emulsifier and stabiliser. [food-info.net]
Gum Arabic is a prebiotic. In the gut bifidobacteria, lactobacilli and other probiotics feed on the stuff. [Br J Nutr. 2008 Dec;100(6):1269-75.] These organisms convert the carbohydrates in gum Arabic into short chain fatty acids [Food Hydrocolloids 2011, 25(2):165–169.] – and it’s these that may have the caused the effects that the Sudanese report.
The researchers gave 60 female students 30 g gum Arabic each. In the mornings the students took 18 g and later in the evening they took the remaining 12g. The women dissolved the powder in a glass of water and drank the mixture.
A control group of 60 other students were given a placebo.
The students who took gum Arabic lost almost a kilogram in weight, the students in the control group stayed the same weight.
We drew the figure below ourselves from the data of the Sudanese. In the control group little changes; in the experimental group it’s a different story. The students who took gum Arabic lost 1.7 kg fat and gained 0.9 kg lean body mass.
The supplementation was not without side effects: nearly all the students who were given gum Arabic reported diarrhoea or nausea.
“Gum Arabic ingestion causes significant reduction in BMI and body fat percentage among healthy adult females”, the researchers write. “The effect could be exploited in the treatment of obesity.”
Effects of Gum Arabic ingestion on body mass index and body fat percentage in healthy adult females: two-arm randomized, placebo controlled, double-blind trial.
Gum Arabic (acacia Senegal) is a complex polysaccharide indigestible to both humans and animals. It has been considered as a safe dietary fiber by the United States, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since the 1970s. Although its effects were extensively studied in animals, there is paucity of data regarding its quantified use in humans. This study was conducted to determine effects of regular Gum Arabic (GA) ingestion on body mass index and body fat percentage among healthy adult females.
A two-arm randomized, placebo controlled, double-blind trial was conducted in the Department of Physiology at the Khartoum University. A total of 120 healthy females completed the study. They were divided to two groups: A test group of 60 volunteers receiving GA (30 gm /day) for 6 weeks and a placebo group of 60 volunteers receiving pectin (1 gm/day) for the same period of time. Weight and height were measured before and after intervention using standardized height and weight scales. Skin fold thickness was measured using Harpenden Skin fold caliper. Fat percentage was calculated using Jackson and Pollock 7 caliper method and Siri equation.
Pre and post analysis among the study group showed significant reduction in BMI by 0.32 (95% CI: 0.17 to 0.47; P<0.0001) and body fat percentage by 2.18% (95% CI: 1.54 to 2.83; P<0.0001) following regular intake of 30 gm /day Gum Arabic for six weeks. Side effects caused by GA ingestion were experienced only in the first week. They included unfavorable viscous sensation in the mouth, early morning nausea, mild diarrhea and bloating abdomen.
GA ingestion causes significant reduction in BMI and body fat percentage among healthy adult females. The effect could be exploited in the treatment of obesity.
PMID: 23241359 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE] PMCID: PMC3570285