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Molasses Extract Decreases Obesity Caused By A High-Fat Diet

July 12, 2011

New animal research suggests that molasses antioxidants may reduce obesity

Experimental results to be presented at the upcoming annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior (SSIB), the foremost society for research into all aspects of eating and drinking behavior, suggests that dietary supplementation with molasses extract may provide a novel approach for weight management in humans.

The study, conducted in mice by Richard Weisinger, Ph.D., investigated the impact of adding molasses extract to a high fat diet. Molasses extract is rich in polyphenols, a group of chemical compounds found in plants that are known for their antioxidant properties.  Mice were given either an unaltered high fat diet, or the same diet supplemented with 2% or 4% molasses extract.  After 12 weeks on these diets, mice that consumed the diet containing 4% molasses extract had lower body weight, reduced body fat, and decreased blood levels of leptin, a hormone produced by fat cells.  However, mice consumed similar amounts of each diet. Additional studies showed that molasses supplementation led to increased energy excretion (that is, more calories lost in feces), and increased gene expression for several liver and fat cell biomarkers of energy metabolism.

“The addition of molasses extract to a high fat diet appears to reduce body weight and body fat levels primarily through reduced caloric absorption. Due to the increasing worldwide prevalence of obesity and associated health problems, supplementing food with molasses extract might be a way to address the escalating rates of overweight and obesity,” said Weisinger.  Clinical trials scheduled next year will provide the opportunity to evaluate the efficacy of molasses extract for weight control in humans.

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