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Body fat melts away with gum Arabic

If you consume 30 g gum Arabic every day you can lose 1.5 kg body fat in six weeks and gain almost 1 kg lean body mass. Researchers at the University of Medical Sciences & Technology in Sudan came to this conclusion after performing a human study on 120 female students.

Gum Arabic
Food manufacturers get gum Arabic from the Acacia Senegal and Acacia seyal, two trees that grow in the Sahel in Africa. The gum is made from the trees' resin, and is composed of complex indigestible carbohydrates. The exact composition depends on the species of tree used. The researchers used gum Arabic from the Acacia Senegal for their experiment.

Body fat melts away with gum Arabic

If you eat industrially processed foods you will consume small amounts of gum Arabic daily. The food industry uses gum Arabic E414 as a thickener, emulsifier and stabiliser. []

Gum Arabic is a prebiotic. In the gut bifidobacteria, lactobacilli and other probiotics feed on the stuff. [Br J Nutr. 2008 Dec;100(6):1269-75.] These organisms convert the carbohydrates in gum Arabic into short chain fatty acids [Food Hydrocolloids 2011, 25(2):165169.] and it's these that may have the caused the effects that the Sudanese report.

The researchers gave 60 female students 30 g gum Arabic each. In the mornings the students took 18 g and later in the evening they took the remaining 12g. The women dissolved the powder in a glass of water and drank the mixture.

A control group of 60 other students were given a placebo.

The students who took gum Arabic lost almost a kilogram in weight, the students in the control group stayed the same weight.

Body fat melts away with gum Arabic

We drew the figure below ourselves from the data of the Sudanese. In the control group little changes; in the experimental group it's a different story. The students who took gum Arabic lost 1.7 kg fat and gained 0.9 kg lean body mass.

Body fat melts away with gum Arabic

Side effects
The supplementation was not without side effects: nearly all the students who were given gum Arabic reported diarrhoea or nausea.

"Gum Arabic ingestion causes significant reduction in BMI and body fat percentage among healthy adult females", the researchers write. "The effect could be exploited in the treatment of obesity."

Nutr J. 2012 Dec 15;11:111.

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