Food Scientists Developing New Appetite-Suppressant

Food Scientists Developing New Appetite-Suppressant

Food & Drink

Food Scientists Developing New Appetite-Suppressant


By Cari Martens

For all of us who overdid it a bit during the holiday season, there may be hope on the horizon. Probably not this year, but someday, not too far in the future.

Scientists at Birmingham University’s (U.K.) school of chemical engineering are in the middle of a four-year project to find a viable solution for those who want to reduce their desire to snack
between meals.

Dr. Fotis Spyropolous (Photo: John James)

As reported by Chris Arnot, writing for The Guardian (U.K.), the team of scientists has developed an aqueous solution that gels into a solid in the stomach, helping to curb the appetite. It could be something that’s taken on a regular basis for serial snackers, or only occasionally, to get back on track after a binge.

What may be surprising is who’s backing the project. A sizable group of manufacturers and retailers are indirectly financing the project through the Diet and Health Research Industry Club, also known as DRINC. Group members include Unilever, Coca-Cola, Cadbury, United Biscuits and Marks & Spencer.

‘Obesity is now one of the biggest drivers of food-based scientific research,’ says food scientist team member Fotis Spyropoulos, in Arnot’s story. He goes on to say that ‘consumers have decided to blame food and drink companies for making their foods taste so good.’ So it makes sense that some food companies would get behind this effort to help people to balance their diets.

The project is about psychology as well as chemistry, Spyropoulos says. The team has brought in two PhD psychology students to look at consumer behavior. When people indulge in food such as chocolate as a reward for some achievement, then maybe the appetite curbing product needs to look and taste like chocolate, he explains.

Chocolate? Uh, yeah, I’d eat that (if it REALLY does taste like chocolate). Come on, scientists, we need thing stuff NOW.

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