New form of long-used food ingredient for 'anti-hunger' yogurts, smoothies

August 21, 2012

Promising results were reported here today from a proof-of-concept clinical trial of an "anti-hunger" ingredient for yogurt, fruit shakes, smoothies and other foods that would make people feel full longer and ease the craving to eat. Scientists described the ingredient, a new version of a food additive that has been in use for more than 50 years, at the 244th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society.

The potential new tool in the battle of the bulge is methyl cellulose, 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 provides a pleasant texture and holds together the ingredients in hundreds of products like baked goods, sweet and savory snacks and ready meals.

Carsten Huettermann, Ph.D., who presented the report, said that this is the first use of 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 -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."

The updated methyl cellulose, named SATISFIT-LTG, showed promise for doing that in a controlled clinical trial that Huettermann discussed at the meeting. He is with Dow Wolff Cellulosics in Bomlitz, Germany, which manufactures methyl cellulose. Volunteers who consumed SATISFIT-LTG experienced a reduction in the sensation of hunger that lasted until the consumption of a following meal in which the volunteers could eat as much as they wanted (two hours after eating SATISFIT-LTG) and a statistically significant reduced intake of calories at this meal. The consumption of SATISFIT-LTG resulted in a 13 percent decrease in calorie intake.

Huettermann explained that conventional versions of methyl cellulose pass through the stomach rapidly and do not work as a satiety ingredient. SATISFIT-LTG, however, forms a gel at body temperature, and the gel lingers in the stomach before passing into the small intestine.

The scientists are developing SATISFIT-LTG as a potential ingredient in cold foods, such as smoothies and yogurts, and Huettermann said that work will continue based on the promising clinical trial results.

Explore further: First Research Confirms That Eating Slowly Inhibits Appetite

More information:


Overweight and obesity are primarily driven by over-availability of food and an increasing sedentary lifestyle. It is believed, that reduction of casual snacking between meals and reduction in meal size due to decreased appetite will have a major impact on prevention and reduction of obesity. Materials that form a gel in the stomach or small intestine have been shown to enhance satiety. We report on the assessment of recently developed food grade methyl celluloses that thermally gel below body temperature and therefore can trigger satiety. In clinical trials with healthy human volunteers the concept was proven and a significant reduction in energy intake was found. The methyl cellulose was successfully implemented in food formulations like yogurt, fruit shakes and smoothies.

Related Stories

Eating soup will help cut calories at meals

May 1, 2007

Eating low-calorie soup before a meal can help cut back on how much food and calories you eat at the meal, a new Penn State study shows. Results show that when participants in the study ate a first course of soup before a ...

The dark chocolate version of Father Christmas is most filling

December 10, 2008

New research at the Faculty of Life Sciences (LIFE) at the University of Copenhagen – shows that dark chocolate is far more filling than milk chocolate, lessening our craving for sweet, salty and fatty foods. In other words, ...

When eating and dieting, follow your gut

July 29, 2009

( -- Eating a small lunch doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be so hungry for dinner that you’ll eat more than usual, a new study suggests.

Could our minds be tricked into satisfying our stomachs?

July 13, 2010

Research to be presented at the 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 the key to losing ...

Recommended for you

A new form of real gold, almost as light as air

November 25, 2015

Researchers at ETH Zurich have created a new type of foam made of real gold. It is the lightest form ever produced of the precious metal: a thousand times lighter than its conventional form and yet it is nearly impossible ...

Moonlighting molecules: Finding new uses for old enzymes

November 27, 2015

A collaboration between the University of Cambridge and MedImmune, the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca, has led researchers to identify a potentially significant new application for a well-known ...

Atom-sized craters make a catalyst much more active

November 24, 2015

Bombarding and stretching an important industrial catalyst opens up tiny holes on its surface where atoms can attach and react, greatly increasing its activity as a promoter of chemical reactions, according to a study by ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.