The chemical has harnessed the power of a proprionate, which naturally makes us feel full when it is produced by breaking down fibre in the gut.
Writing in the journal Gut, the UK researchers said the chemical — a foul-tasting soluble powder — would have to be eaten regularly to have an effect. The scientists, from Imperial College London and the University of Glasgow, are trying to incorporate it into bread and fruit smoothies.
The tricky part of the research was finding a way to deliver the proprionate into the colon, where it triggers the release of hormones that control appetite. Adding it on its own to food would not work because it would be absorbed by the intestine too early, so the team found a way to bind it to a natural carbohydrate found in plants, called inulin.
Once bound, the proprionate can safely make its way through the digestive system before being freed from the inulin by bacteria in the colon.