Charcoal supplements before eating high-fat foods could prevent weight gain

MATSUMOTO, Japan — Charcoal supplements could hold the key to enjoying your favorite fatty foods without gaining any extra weight. Researchers in Japan have discovered that edible activated charcoal prevents weight gain in mice consuming a high-fat diet.

A team from Shinshu University’s Department of Metabolic Regulation notes that the “Western diet” is becoming more popular around the world. However, the high amounts of processed foods, red meat, and high-fat dairy products in this diet often lead to obesity and weight-related health problems. In the United States alone, over 40 percent of the adult population now classifies as obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

What is activated charcoal?

Humans have actually been using this black, odorless, and flavorless powder as a treatment for various ailments since ancient times. Today, activated charcoal is a common medical tool for treating drug overdoses. It also doubles as an emergency anti-poison remedy.

It’s also used as a deodorizer and for water purification. Recently, charcoal supplements have become popular as a potential remedy for gas and flatulence, lowering cholesterol, and improving kidney function. Some people even claim charcoal can whiten teeth and cure hangovers.

Researchers note that edible activated charcoal has the ability to absorb urinary toxins and bile acids in the intestines and excrete them as feces. With that in mind, the team examined the substance’s ability to absorb excess fat coming from fatty diets.

Charcoal can quadruple fatty waste removal!

Scientists fed a group of mice a normal diet and a high-fat diet for 12 weeks each during their experiment. As expected, mice on a high-fat diet gained significantly more weight than they did on a normal diet.

However, when the team added acidic activated charcoal to the animals’ high-fat diet, the amount of weight each mouse gained was almost the same as eating a normal diet. Moreover, the study found the amount of bile acid, cholesterol, triglyceride, and fatty acid in their stool increased by two to four times.

Researchers also note that consuming edible activated charcoal did not cause damage to the gastrointestinal mucosa or lungs. Based on their results, study authors believe taking acidic activated charcoal supplements before or while eating fatty foods could prevent weight gain among people. By removing more of the harmful substances of a fatty diet from the body, the team says this could prevent future cases of obesity, diabetes, and fatty liver disease.

The study is published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition.

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