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Chitosan: Does it really block fat?

Have you found it almost impossible to go out to dinner and find a low-fat meal that sounds appealing? Chitosan may let you indulge without paying the price.

Chitosan is a chemical cousin to glucosamine and is derived from shellfish. It has been used for years in commercial water purification and filtration to remove oil-based pollutants. Animal and human studies have shown that it has similar effects in the intestine. Once dissolved in water, chitosan forms a gel-like compound with any fatty substances it comes in contact with. This gel prevents the normal breakdown (or emulsification) of fat in the intestine, so that it passes through the body unabsorbed.

Although it sounds like a wonder pill, chitosan doesn't discriminate between "good" fats - like omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids or fat-soluble vitamins - and "junk" fats. So don't use it with every meal. It's best used occasionally, like before a fat-laden meal.

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