Methylcellulose is a pretty common additive in all sorts of food items and cosmetics. You've probably eaten it in the last few days in ice cream (and it's also has some insane applications in molecular gastronomy, and is a major ingredient in KY jelly). But by tweaking it slightly, it could become the "magic bullet" of diet aids, helping you to avoid hunger pangs for hours.
The proof of concept is being presentedat the meeting of the American Chemical Society this week. A variant of methly cellulose dubbed SATISFIT-LTG was added to shakes, smoothies, and yoghurts and given to volunteers. This variant is different from the normal version, in that it forms a gel at body temperature, so once you eat it, it turns into a gel in your stomach and takes longer to digest, making you feel more full — so you eat less. It's essentially just a food item that takes longer to pass through your system.
While there are some obvious drawbacks (the food has to be cold, or else it becomes a gel in your cup), and unmentioned side effects (I can't even imagine what this would do to your poop), it did achieve the goal of causing a significant reduction in the amount of calories consumed per day — a drop of 13%.
So just wait a couple of years, and I'm sure you'll see powdered SATISFIT-LTG on your pharmacy shelves to be stirred into your morning smoothie.
Top image: Shutterstock.com.