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.

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