Researchers have developed a new class of compounds that could prevent fat particles from getting absorbed in the body and thus potentially reduce weight gain.
In tests, mice administered these compounds called "micelle sequestrant polymers", or MSPs, had nine to 10 times the amount of triglycerides -- the main dietary fat -- in their faeces than the control animals.
Additionally, because the MSPs pass through the body unabsorbed, the researchers said these compounds could provide a safe approach for long-term treatment.
"MSPs may serve as a novel approach to weight loss that inhibits excess caloric intake by preventing absorption of excess dietary triglycerides,” the study said.
Currently available drugs to fight obesity can have serious side effects, including increased risk of cardiovascular disease and depression.
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So Cory Berkland from the University of Kansas in the US, and colleagues set out to find new kinds of pharmaceuticals to fight weight gain.
Targeting the body's process of absorbing fat, the researchers designed a class of polymers that capture fat particles called micelles in the intestines so they can not be digested.
Instead, they pass through the gut and are excreted.
The findings appeared in the journal Biomacromolecules.