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Despite a relatively long history of use in foods, the researchers behind the new study claim that gum Arabic has not been extensively studied in humans. So the researchers recruited 120 healthy females with an average age of 20 and a mean BMI of 26.5 kg/m2 and randomly assigned them to consume 30 grams daily of gum Arabic or 1 gram daily of pectin (placebo) for six weeks.
Results showed that the gum Arabic group had a significantly reduced BMI by 0.32 and body fat by 2.18% over the six weeks, compared to baseline levels.
Some side effects – notably unfavorable viscous sensation in the mouth, early morning nausea, mild diarrhea and bloating abdomen – were reported by the gum Arabic group, but these were only observed for the first week, said the researchers.
“A recent proposed mechanism by which viscous dietary fibers were found to preserve lean body mass and reduce adiposity is increased mitochondrial biogenesis and fatty acid oxidation by skeletal muscles,” the researches wrote. “Gum Arabic’s mechanism is not yet fully elucidated, because of a small number of conducted studies.
Source: Effects of gum Arabic ingestion on body mass index and body fat percentage in healthy adult females: two-arm randomized, placebo controlled, double-blind trial