Jamie Oliver Lost Weight by Eating Seaweed: But Can It Really Help You Lose Weight?

Sep 10, 2015 06:00 PM EDT | By Alexis Villarias

In a report published by Telegraph UK, Jamie Oliver has credited seaweed for his successful weight loss.  Adding seaweed to his diet regimen has contributed to his weight loss of around 30 pounds.  But can seaweed really aid in weight loss?

It turns out that seaweed could be a factor in Oliver's losing weight as it actually contains a compound that stops the body from absorbing fat according to a research done by Newcastle University.

According to the researchers, sea kelps contain alginate that can help suppress the digestion of fat.  If alginates can block the fat digesting enzyme, the body will absorb less fat.  In turn, this can prevent one from becoming obese.  However National Health Service warns the public that blocking fat is not always beneficial.

"Fat plays an important role in metabolism; it's just the intake of excessive fat that is a health problem. This means that the potential for alginate to stop excess fat being absorbed by the body has its downsides, and the excess fat will have to come out in some capacity."

It also warns that the research has not come to a definitive conclusion whether it actually improves weight-related health issues such as diabetes or obesity. Consumption of too much algae can also lead to palpitations and kidney issus in certain people according to Beth Warren, a registered dietician and author of Living a Real Life with Real Food in an interview with Yahoo.

"It's also important to note that if the water is contaminated with toxic metals, such as arsenic, the seaweed growing will have it as well," Warren says.

However, seaweeds are naturally rich source of antioxidants which helps combat inflammation and improve overall health said Warren .  Additionally, it is also contains vitamin K, calcium, iron and high levels of mineral iodine which is important in regulating thyroid function she added.  Unhealthy thyroid can lead to hormonal imbalance, fatigue and weight loss issues.

Meanwhile a small clinical study published in the Journal of Applied Phycology finds that daily consumption of seaweed can lower the risk for women to develop breast cancer.     

As for Jamie's Oliver's claim that seaweed has done all the work for his weight loss, Karen Ansel, RN, CDN thinks that it is unlikely that seaweed alone did that, "It's water-rich, so it fills you up, and it's big on umami flavor, the same savory taste in foods like beef and Parmesan cheese, so it satisfies your tastebuds".

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