Can certain dietary fibers help to prevent obesity? That’s the question that the U of A’s Dr. Jens Walter, a gastrointestinal microbiologist, is probing in an 8 week study that will involve more than 200 subjects.
Walter says that they’re looking into how we can improve human health by ingesting higher doses of dietary fiber and then studying the interrelationship of these different fibers.
“Which are non-digestible carbohydrates that reach the colon and there they are fermented by the bacterial populations and the microbial populations that colonize the colon. So, we are studying the interrelationships of these bacteria, the fiber and then the health outcome in human individuals.”
The scientific process begins with a question and then comes the next step.
“The hypothesis is that dietary fibre has beneficial effects in preventing chronic diseases, and if I say chronic diseases it’s mainly diseases that are associated with overweight and obesity.”
Walter says the eight week study includes six weeks where the volunteers will ingest a daily dose of one of the preselected types of dietary fibre.
“An individual would be assigned to one of these groups and would then get a daily dose of fibre, which is basically just a powder, to be included in yogurt or fruit smoothies or just included somehow in their daily routine.”
During the test period volunteers will undergo tests of blood and stool to gather the data for Walter and his team to analyze. Walter says if all goes well this study could be used in some pretty exciting practical applications.
“This information could really be used by the food industry almost immediately to actually design food products more systematically to actually prevent chronic disease in humans.”
Walter says he needs 220 volunteers for the study.
To join the study, contact Edward or Janis at 780-492-9506 or at firstname.lastname@example.org