Inhibition of lipid absorption as an approach to the treatment of obesity

Methods Enzymol. 1997;286:3-44. doi: 10.1016/s0076-6879(97)86003-x.


A reduction in fat intake may be achieved by making educated choices to reduce total calorie intake, to consume a lower quantity of total fats, or to modify the ratio of saturated-to-polyunsaturated lipids. Leptin agonists or NPY or CCK antagonists may prove to be useful to diminish appetite and thereby reduce the total intake of food. But eating has such cultural, social, and hedonistic attributes that such a single-pronged approach is unlikely to be successful. The use of fat substitutes may prove to be popular to provide a wide range of snack food options, but these are likely to be of minimal use in weight reduction programs because of their distribution of additives in only a limited number of foods. The inhibitors of lipid digestion will be modestly successful in the short term; their long-term success will be influenced by gastrointestinal adverse effects and the need to consume fat-soluble vitamin supplements to prevent the development of fat-soluble vitamin deficiencies. The inhibition of lipid absorption is an attractive targeted approach for the treatment of obesity, since this would reduce the uptake of visible as well as invisible fats, which would potentially offer convenient dosing, and could also be a means to inhibit secondarily the uptake of carbohydrate calories.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bile Acids and Salts / pharmacology
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism
  • Dietary Fats / metabolism
  • Digestion
  • Fat Substitutes / administration & dosage
  • Fat Substitutes / metabolism
  • Fatty Acid-Binding Protein 7
  • Fatty Acid-Binding Proteins
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Absorption* / drug effects
  • Lipid Metabolism*
  • Lipoproteins / metabolism
  • Myelin P2 Protein / metabolism
  • Neoplasm Proteins*
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Obesity / drug therapy
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Satiation
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins*


  • Bile Acids and Salts
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Dietary Fats
  • FABP7 protein, human
  • Fat Substitutes
  • Fatty Acid-Binding Protein 7
  • Fatty Acid-Binding Proteins
  • Lipoproteins
  • Myelin P2 Protein
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins