But not just any sand.

At Stockholm University, scientists tested porous particles of silica—sand —as a weight loss aid. The particles are micron size—about one twenty-five-thousandth of an inch across or a millionth of a meter—and engineered to be porous, giving the grains a honeycomb-like surface.

The researchers fed the particles to obese mice as about 4 percent of their diet. 

After seven weeks, the investigators found that mice ingesting the particles stored roughly one-third less fat than mice not eating the sand.

The mice showed no negative side effects from having the sand in their food.

The Swedish group published research in 2020 showing that the particles were safe for human consumption and gave similar benefits, also with no negative complications.

Now a research team at the University of South Australia figured out that the grains impede the actions of digestive enzymes α-Amylase and pancreatic lipase in the gut.

If the enzymes work less well, fewer fats and carbohydrates are digested and, instead of being added to the body as padding, pass out of the digestive tract as waste.

The Australian group also was able to determine that particles with channels six to ten nanometers across did the best job. 

TRENDPOST: The world is home to a billion people who are obese, according to the World Obesity Foundation, putting them at risk for ailments from bad knees to diabetes, heart attacks, and strokes.

Sand makes up more than a quarter of the Earth’s surface and, after oxygen, is the most prevalent element. At scale, engineering it into microparticles could be cheap enough to offer a preventative and even a cure for obesity that would avoid the side effects of drugs, one of which is further enriching Big Pharma.

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