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Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2013;53(9):929-42. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2011.574215.

Food ingredients as anti-obesity agents: a review.

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  • 1IPOA Research Group UMH-1 and REVIV_ Generalitat Valenciana, Departamento de Tecnología Agroalimentaria, Universidad Miguel Hernández, Ctra. de Beniel km 3.2, 03312, Orihuela, Alicante, Spain.


Overweight and obesity have a major impact on global health; their prevalence has rapidly increased in all industrialized countries in the past few decades and diabetes and hypertension are their direct consequences. Pharmacotherapy provides reinforcement for obesity treatment, but should be an adjunctive support to diet, exercise, and lifestyle modification. At present, only orlistat and sibutramine have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for long-term use, but sibutramine was withdrawn for sale by the European Medicines Agency. The development of functional foods for the prevention and/or treatment of obesity suppose an opportunity for the food market and involve the knowledge of the mechanisms of appetite and energy expenditure as well as the metabolic sensation of satiety. Strategies for weight control management affect gut hormones as potential targets for the appetite metabolic regulation, stimulation of energy expenditure (thermogenesis), and modifications in the metabolic activity of the gut microbiota. Functional foods for obesity may also include bioactive fatty acids, phenolic compounds, soybean, plant sterols, dietary calcium, and dietary fiber. This review intends to offer an overview of the present situation of the anti-obesity agents currently used in dietary therapy as well as some functional food ingredients with potentially anti-obesity effects.

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