Can Chicory Root Fiber Fight Childhood Obesity?

May 8, 2015

A new study suggests that BENEO’s OraftiSynergy1 may help curb the appetite of overweight and obese children.

More than one third of children in the United State are now overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with no end to the epidemic in sight. But new research announced on Thursday by BENEO (Mannheim, Germany) suggests that prebiotic chicory root fiber may be an effective ingredient for curbing appetite in obese and overweight children.

Researchers at the University of Calgary (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) studied the effects of BENEO’s OraftiSynergy1-a prebiotic chicory root fiber ingredient-on 39 overweight and obese children aged 7-12. According to researchers, the ingredient has previously been found to improve appetite regulation and decrease energy intake in obese adults, but “its therapeutic potential in the obese pediatric population has not been investigated.”

For 16 weeks, participants were randomized to consume either 8 g of the prebiotic chicory root fiber or a maltodextrin placebo of equal calories once per day. The children provided subjective appetite ratings before and after an ad libitum breakfast buffet at both the beginning and conclusion of the study. The children also completed a questionnaire on eating behavior.

At the final breakfast buffet, the children in the prebiotic fiber group consumed an average of 84 calories less than the children in the placebo group. The chicory root fiber also appeared to have an impact on the children’s body weight, as body mass index (BMI) z-scores were “significantly reduced in the prebiotic chicory fiber group, but not in the control group,” according to a press release.

The researchers concluded that “long term prebiotic fiber intake may lead to reductions in energy intake that positively impact body weight. Potential causes for decreased energy intake include heightened satiety responsiveness and fullness following fiber consumption.”

An earlier study found that supplementation with OraftiSynergy1 may help children avoid undesirable weight gain during pubertal growth, but this latest study is the first to investigate the prebiotic fiber’s impact on the appetite of overweight children. Researchers in other studies have posited that this effect on appetite may be due to short chain fatty acids that are formed during fermentation, which “positively influence satiety regulation in the brain, reducing appetite and subsequent food intake,” according to BENEO.

“We know that chicory root fibers help people eat less,” says Anke Sentko, vice president, regulatory affairs and nutrition communication, Beneo. “It is great to see that OraftiSynergy1 has the potential to contribute to the obesity fight-for adults and in particular, for children. Because the taste of chicory fiber is pleasant and can be easily integrated into daily eating, we feel that it is a good option to support healthy weight management.”

 

Hume M et al. “Prebiotic fiber consumption decreases energy intake in overweight and obese children.” The Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, vol. 29, no. 1 (April, 2015): supplement 597.3

 

Michael Crane
Associate Editor
Nutritional Outlook magazine
michael.crane@ubm.com

 

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