Could fibre stave off the effects of a high-fat diet?

Adding a prebiotic fibre to a high-fat diet (HFD) protected mice against metabolic syndrome, according to a recent study in Cell Host & Microbe.

Mice given the fermentable fibre inulin as a supplement to their HFD showed less weight gain and developed far less severe symptoms of metabolic syndrome, compared with those fed the HFD without the added prebiotic.

Inulin-fed mice showed substantially lower accumulation of body and liver fat, better glycaemic control and reduced cholesterol, discovered a research team from Georgia State University, Atlanta.

The type of fibre also appeared to be important. The researchers supplemented the HFD of another group of mice with cellulose, which is not readily fermentable by mice. In this case, only a small reduction in weight gain and minor improvement in blood sugar control occurred.

“We find that while fermentable (inulin), but not insoluble (cellulose), fibre markedly protected mice against HFD-induced metabolic syndrome,” ​wrote lead researcher Professor Andrew Gewirtz.

Inulin supplementation prevented colon mass reduction and the lower production of cells which make up the gut lining; effects which were notable in mice fed a pure HFD. Inulin also protected the supplemented mice from low-grade inflammation and bacterial penetration of the gut lining.

Source: Food Navigator

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