My coworker recently started eating little fruit gelatin snacks that she says contain a weight-loss ingredient called kanten, a form of seaweed. I was skeptical at first, but there’s no denying that it’s working: She easily lost about 10 pounds in just over a week! How does kanten work, and is it worth a try?
Kanten is a zero-calorie substance made from the seaweed Gracilaria lichenoides. It’s sold in the United States mostly in powder form under the name agar. And there’s solid evidence that it works: Research shows that people who eat kanten regularly consume 50 percent fewer calories daily than those who don’t. The appetite-curbing mechanism? Kanten is 80 percent fiber, so it slows digestion and promotes the feeling of satiety. Want to try it yourself? In a sauce pan, combine 2 cups unsweetened fruit juice (such as apple or pomegranate) and 2 Tbs. powdered agar, like Now Agar Powder (available at health-food stores). Bring to a boil and cook for 30 seconds more. Then pour into a bowl and chill until set. Eat at least 1/2 cup every day for optimal slimming.