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Acetate Released From Fiber Digestion May Be Key To Controlling Appetite

April 30, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Researchers in the U.K. have discovered a molecule that may explain why eating high-fiber fruits and vegetables curbs the appetite. Dietary fiber, found in most plants and vegetables, is digested by bacteria in the intestines, where it ferments and releases large amounts of acetate into the bloodstream. Researchers tracked the acetate as it made its way to the brain. On arrival in the hyothalamus, the acetate produces a signal that suppresses the appetite. The researchers said their findings could be helpful in treating obesity if they could figure out either how to deliver acetate to the brain in safe doses, or how to manipulate fiber so that smaller amounts would release larger amounts of acetate.
G. Frost et al. , "The short-chain fatty acid acetate reduces appetite via a central homeostatic mechanism. ", Nature Communications, April 30, 2014, © Frost et al.
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