The World Health Organization calls obesity one of the most prominent, yet most neglected public health issues in the world today. Worldwide, 1 billion adults are overweight, and 300 million of them are obese. Excessive weight is known to promote type II diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer.
In the past few years, scientists in Europe have developed weight loss supplements based on cellulose that are reported to induce a feeling of fullness and therefore discourage overeating. These supplements come in capsules, and work by expanding once they reach the digestive tract. A capsule the size of a vitamin pill is said to expand to the size of a tennis ball. This gelatinous mass partially fills the stomach and makes dieters feel full with less food intake.
Makers of cellulose capsules caution that sensible diet and exercise are still necessary for successful long term weight loss. One maker of cellulose capsules, Cm3 Alginate, recommends one capsule daily. Its main benefits are for retraining poor eating habits, such as excessive between meal snacking. But cellulose capsule proponents advise caution as well. There are certain medications that may not be adequately absorbed when taken during a cellulose capsule diet. Some users have reported stomach and bowel sensitivity after ingesting the capsules.
Though some medical experts caution that long term weight loss has not been adequately studied with cellulose capsules, others maintain that while they aren't magic, the cellulose capsules could be one tool to help overweight people get their eating under control. Furthermore, they state, even a small decrease in the numbers of obese people would prevent numerous other health problems.
To use the capsules successfully, you are supposed to down one as soon as you feel hungry along with two glasses of water. Italian scientists claim that the effect is similar to having eaten a plate of pasta. The gel is similar to time-release gels used for gradual watering of plants. The compound is based on hydrogel, which is a cellulose compound. A powder when dry, hydrogel can absorb up to 1,000 times its weight. The type of hydrogel used in diet pills is biocompatible, meaning that the body simply flushes it out, according to scientists.
A German study, reported in the journal Nature, studied the effect of cellulose containing weight loss supplements on feelings of fullness in 19 moderately obese patients who were otherwise healthy. They were given capsules containing either Cm3 or a placebo before a standard meal. After the meal, self reported desire to eat something sweet, salty, savory, or fatty changed, but scientists could not attribute it to the Cm3 supplement.
Cm3 alginate, made from brown seaweed, also known as kelp, is said to improve fat and carbohydrate metabolism and slow the emptying of the stomach, resulting in a longer feeling of satiety, according to anecdotal evidence. With more people becoming overweight worldwide and growing disenchantment with stimulant-based appetite suppressants, Cm3 or other cellulosic gel compounds are giving dieters and medical researchers a new way to fight weight gain.
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