Fat-blocking effect of nanofibers

Loo and Ng

TINY balls of nano-sized cellu­lose fibres added to food reduced fat absorption by up to half in lab­oratory and animal experiments, report scientists from Nanyang Technological University, Singa­pore (NTU Singapore) and Harvard University, United States.

This discovery could aid in the global battle against obesity, as experiments done in a simulated gastrointestinal tract showed that nanocellulose fibres 100 times smaller than the width of a human hair could cut fat absorption by up to 48 percent.

In animal experiments, rats fed with heavy cream containing nano­cellulose absorbed 36 per cent less fats than rats fed with heavy cream alone.

Associate Professor Joachim Loo and Associate Professor Ng Kee Woei from NTU’s School of Materials Science and Engineering, together with senior author of the study, Associate Professor Philip Demokritou, from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, discovered how nanocellulose can bind and trap fat molecules known as triglycerides.