Want to Lose Weight? Eat Soil. Say What? 

It is easy to gain weight but to lose it? Many people are getting headaches what to do.

Experts and dieticians have figured out countless weight-loss diets. Among the notable ones are paleo diet or caveman diet, Atkins diet or low carb diet, and ketogenic diet or low carb and high-fat diet.

Turns out, the answer is just under our feet.

Researchers from the University of Australia were investigating the capacity of specific clay materials in improving the oral delivery and absorption of antipsychotic drugs when they stumbled upon this fact—dirt has the ability to “soak up” fat droplets in the stomach.

A Delicacy from Ancient Times

Eating clay or geophagia is not uncommon during the ancient times. It can be traced back to the time of Greek physician Hippocrates during the 460 B.C.  Mesopotamians and ancient Egyptians also used clay for medicinal purposes. It was used to treat various ailments, especially of the gut.

Personifications of medicine in Ancient Greece © Wikimedia Commons

Meanwhile, indigenous groups in the Americas used dirt as a spice for bitter foods to counteract the acerbic taste. Eating dirt is also prevalent in Europe during the 19th century. In fact, some settlements in Africa and South America still eat white clay until the 21st century.

However, don’t start eating soil from your backyard just yet. The researchers used a kind of soil called montmorillonite.

Science Behind Weight-Loss Properties of Soil.  

Following the unintentional discovery, the team performed an experiment in mice. The mice were fed high-fat diet and separated into three groups. One group were given a placebo, another was given the orlistat slimming pills and the last was given montmorillonite soil.

“Instead of breaking down to release drugs, the clay materials were attracting fat droplets and literally soaking them up. Not only were the clay materials trapping the fats within their particle structure, but they were also preventing them from being absorbed by the body, ensuring that fat simply passed through the digestive system.”

Tahnee Dening, UniSA researcher and PhD candidate

Although the slimming pills had weight loss effects, the engineered clay formulation has outperformed the drug. Dening stated that the results give new insights to weight-management and treatment of obesity.

Combining Soil with Slimming Pills

The researchers are also studying the possible synergy of commercial slimming drugs and clay. Combining the properties of the two could potentially “lead to greater weight loss with fewer side effects.”

“What we’re researching now is a synergistic approach with both the clay material and orlistat: the orlistat blocks the enzyme that digests fat molecules, and the clay particles trap these fats so they’re excreted out of the body without causing gastrointestinal disturbances. We’re essentially attacking fat digestion and absorption in two different ways and we hope this will lead to greater weight loss with fewer side effects.”

Tahnee Dening, UniSA researcher and PhD candidate

The research has already gained some potential investors. The researchers stated that given that the material can be considered safe, the clinical trials might be able to start soon.