Imperial College London

Protein supplement could help weight loss after exercise

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An overweight woman exercises on a treadmill

Combining an appetite-supressing supplement with moderate exercise could help to burn fat faster, according to new research.

The findings, published in the journal Metabolism, build on previous work looking at a supplement called inulin-propionate ester (IPE), which may help to reduce cravings for high-calorie foods and boost rates of fat oxidisation – the process by which the body ‘burns’ fat.

In a small study, led by the University of Glasgow and involving researchers from Imperial College London, 20 healthy volunteers (overweight women aged 25-45) undertook a four-week programme of moderate intensity exercise.

During the study, their usual diets remained unchanged but they were given regular supplements of either IPE or a placebo.

Burning fat

The researchers found that while the rate of fat burning in the placebo group remained unchanged, it was significantly higher in those who took IPE and the effect was still present seven hours after the participants took the supplement.

According to the researchers, these early findings show how IPE can have a lasting effect – making people feel full while eating less and raising their resting rate of fat oxidation and encouraging their bodies to burn fat faster. The next step is to trial the supplement in larger groups and over longer periods.

Professor Gary Frost, Chair in Nutrition and Dietetics at Imperial, said: “We know that a healthy, varied and balanced diet is key to maintaining health, but sometimes it is difficult to achieve this. 

“These results are encouraging in that they show this potential food supplement, when combined with exercise, can help people burn through their fat stores faster, decreases appetite and could in the long term help to achieve a healthy weight.

“We’re interested to explore this further in larger and more varied groups of people and see whether the effects are short lived or if they last over time.”

IPE is undergoing regulatory approval and is not currently available over the counter in the UK. The research team reports no adverse health consequences in the studies so far.

The research was funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

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‘Moderate intensity exercise training combined with inulin-propionate ester supplementation increases whole body resting fat oxidation in overweight women’ by Dalia Malkova et al. is published in Metabolism. DOI: 10.1016/j.metabol.2019.154043

This article is based on materials from the University of Glasgow.


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Ryan O'Hare

Ryan O'Hare
Communications and Public Affairs

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Comms-strategy-Real-world-benefits, Obesity, Diet, Global-challenges-Health-and-wellbeing, Public-health
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