It has been revealed that seaweed has appetite-supressing qualities after a university student incorporated it as an ingredient in a loaf of bread.

Anna Hall, who is studying MSc Nutrition with Public Health Management, has won an Alpro Foundation Award for Masters in the UK for her thesis about food and nutrition and its impact on health, the environment or the economy.

She said the fortified bread was much higher in fibre than standard bread and therefore helped people feel full after eating fewer calories.

“Results from this study suggest that seaweed presents an attractive option for food manufacturers, particularly in the bakery sector, aiming to maximise the health-giving potential of their dietary fibre-rich products,” she explained.

Hall, who is currently working with Sheffield Hallam University’s Food and Nutrition Group alongside her studies, conducted two trials with the bread.

The first, on 79 sensory panellists, indicated that seaweed (Ascophyllum nodosum) can be incorporated into a staple food, such as bread, with no deterioration in consumer acceptability.

She also looked at whether the bread could affect people’s appetites by testing it on a number of healthy but overweight men aged 18 to 65.

A breakfast of scrambled eggs on toast was given to the men, comparing the seaweed-containing bread to standard wholemeal bread.

Participants reported they felt fuller and less hungry after seaweed-enriched bread, and that they consumed significantly less energy both at lunchtime and over the course of that day.

Hall will collect her award at the National Nutrition and Health Conference at the Olympia Conference Centre in London today (Friday 26 November).