The key to fighting obesity may be washing up on seashores around the world, according to a new study that reveals the natural fat-blocking properties of kelp. Scientists have found that dietary fiber in this common seaweed can reduce the amount of fat absorbed by the body by up to 75 percent, reports Science Daily.

Dr. Iain Brownlee and professor Jeff Pearson of Newcastle University found that a natural fiber in kelp called alginate fights fat even more effectively than anti-obesity treatments currently sold over the counter.

But that doesn’t mean dieters will have to swallow large amounts of seaweed to lose weight. The research team plans to add alginate to common foods such as bread, yogurt and biscuits. Up to three-quarters of the fat contained within that meal could pass through the body rather than being absorbed.

"We have already added the alginate to bread, and initial taste tests have been extremely encouraging. Now the next step is to carry out clinical trials to find out how effective they are when eaten as part of a normal diet," says Brownlee.

In fact, the benefits of kelp as a dietary supplement extend beyond weight loss. It also boosts fiber intake and reportedly improves the flavor of foods. Tasters found the texture and richness of alginate-enhanced bread appealing.

"Alginates not only have great potential for weight management — adding them to food also has the added advantage of boosting overall fiber content,” says Brownlee.

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Best foods for weight loss