Science Gel Could Help Dieters Caulk Their Own Bowels


Good news everybody (who has decided to take up the “lose weight” hobby for the early stages of the New Year)! SCIENCE, that monolith of snazzy ideas that has helped us, as a species, do everything from land on the Moon to create indestructible breakfast cereals, may have devised an excellent way to fight obesity — a hard-to-digest gel that sits in your stomach and gives you the sweet, gut-busting illusion of feeling like you’ve attended a pig roast that all the other guests backed out of at the last minute.

According to the Telegraph, researchers at the University of Birmingham in the UK have found a way of combining two ingredients so that when they interact with the acids of the stomach, they expand to form a solid gel. Since the gel is harder to digest and breaks down more slowly than, say, birthday cake, it leaves a person with that delightful and elusive so-full-you-could-just-sit-over-the-toilet-fruitlessly-all-morning feeling.

From the report:

The ingredients used by the scientists are derived from seaweed, starch, and citrus peel. They form water soluble gums that are used in molecular gastronomy by chefs such as Heston Blumenthal.
The researchers, whose research is published in the journal Food Hydrocolloids, found that under normal conditions such as those found in food, the gums act like normal food thickeners.
However, when they reach the highly acidic environment of the stomach, they combine together to form a stiff gel that breaks down slowly over time.

Jennifer Bradbeer, a chemical engineer who’s been leading the gel caulk project, has explained that hydrocolloids can help manage a person’s appetites and cravings, something that modern food — which has become softer and more easily digestible — doesn’t do very well. If all goes well with the gel’s development, science could have us all looking slim and sexy, just the way nature, in its infinite pettiness and superficiality, intended.

Image via Chepko Danil Vitalevich / Shutterstock.

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