Scientists say they've concocted a chemical that can be added to food to make people feel full and thus eat less, reports the BBC. In two small but promising studies, researchers found that people who consumed food with the powder—called inulin-propionate ester, or IPE—gained less weight than their counterparts who went IPE-free, reports Quartz. If all goes well in larger studies, the scientists from Imperial College London and the University of Glasgow say that IPE could someday be added into bread, smoothies, and all manner of foods.
"This is the first time that a food ingredient has been shown to decrease weight gain," says one of the lead researchers, as quoted in HealthDay News. The BBC explains that researchers figured out a way to make sure that IPE, once ingested, goes to the colon instead of being absorbed by the intestine. Once there, it seems to trigger appetite-suppressing hormones. In one of the studies, volunteers ate 14% less food from a buffet if it contained IPE. Scientists say IPE is essentially a tweak of a naturally occurring process and is therefore safe. (Another way to control your weight? Pay attention to the clock.)