It has been known for some time that a seaweed weight loss program is an efficient means of fat reduction by means of its high fiber content. Lately seaweed has been gaining attention for its potential ability to increase metabolic fat burning and for its propensity towards the prevention of fat absorption.
Kelp, another name for seaweed, is high in soluble fiber. When digested, soluble fiber produces a gel-like substance within the gastrointestinal tract as well as the stomach. This gel-like substance creates bulk within the stomach and inhibits digestion, leading to a sense of satiety. This sense of satiety, or fullness, means the person will eat less and as a result lose weight. Fiber, by its very nature, cannot be digested and absorbed into the body. As a result it is ejected from the body in the form of a waste material. The more fiber someone eats, the easier it is to lose weight and maintain an optimal fitness level.
Scientists have recently been studying wakame, a type of brown seaweed in which they have found that the tinting component of the wakame, a pigment called fucoxanthin, has shown a particular propensity towards preventing fat absorption. Fucoxanthin appears to stimulate a protein called UPC1, located around the stomach lining. This protein has been discovered to increase metabolic fat burning.
Preventing Fat Absorption
A study out of Newcastle University in the UK has revealed that seaweed may be able to be used to prevent fat absorption. The study was centered on an extract from seaweed called fibrous alginate. This fibrous alginate has been shown to prevent fat absorption by up to 75 percent. The studies have only been performed on animals, but the next step is for human participation. The hope is that the alginate extract will be able to be placed in the supplement form of a pill. As it stands now, the researchers claim that to obtain the fat absorption benefit from seaweed would require an exorbitant amount of consumption, which isn't very feasible.
The benefits of the fiber content and the fat burning quality of kelp is a real trait. Seaweed has other beneficial qualities such as calcium, an essential contributor to muscle contraction, vitamins C and E, noted for their antioxidant qualities, and vitamin A, essential for proper bone growth. Healthy bones and muscles are an important element of exercise and fitness, and work in conjunction with proper nutrition to effect and maintain a successful seaweed weight loss program.
If someone does decide to introduce seaweed into a weight loss diet, one thing they should be aware of is that seaweed is very high in sodium. Although sodium is an essential component of cell structure and fluid osmosis within the body, in the form of an electrolyte, high levels of sodium can result in hypertension, a major contributor to heart disease.