Researchers are currently developing an "anti-hunger" ingredient for yogurt, fruit shakes, smoothies and other foods, to help alleviate an individual's craving and allow them to feel fuller longer.

This ingredient is methyl cellulose, is a white powder that dissolves in cold water to form a thick solution that turns into a "gel" or gelatin-like material upon heating. Methyl cellulose is known to hold together ingredients in a variety of foods such as baked goods, sweet and savory snacks and ready-made meals.

According to Carsten Huettermann, PhD, this is the first time researchers are using methyl cellulose as a satiety ingredient in food.

"This ingredient would make people feel full after eating smaller amounts of food," Huettermann explained. "With that sense of fullness and hunger-satisfaction, they would not crave more food. In our first study, we saw that fewer calories were consumed at the following meal after eating our new product. Our next step now is to investigate in further studies the mechanism of action and whether this may have an impact on weight management."

In a controlled clinical trial, researchers' demonstrated participants who consumed the updated methyl cellulose, SATISFIT-LTG, exhibited a reduction in the sensation of hunger. Two hours following the participant's consumption of SATISFIT-LTG, there was a considerable reduction in calorie intake. Individuals who consumed SATISFIT-LTG displayed a 13 percent decrease in calorie intake.

Huettermann stated the conventional versions of methyl cellulose will pass through the stomach and not work as a satiety ingredient. With SATISFIT-LTG, the gel is formed at body temperature and it remains in the stomach before passing onto the small intestine.  

Scientists are working on developing SATISFIT-LTG as a potential ingredient for cold foods.

Methyl cellulose is a compound derived from cellulose. It is currently used to treat constipation. Some physicians also prescribe it as a means to slow down diarrhea.

This study was presented at the 244th National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society