A stomach-filling "anti-hunger" additive is being used to make yoghurts and smoothies that help people lose weight.
The compound is a new version of methyl cellulose, which is widely used as a binding agent in the manufacture of baked foods, sweets, snacks and ready meals.
Scientists are designing the updated ingredient, known as SATISFIT-LTG, as a slimming aid that boosts satiety - the feeling of "fullness" after eating.
Dr Carsten Huettermann, from Dow Wollf Cellulosics in Bomlitz, Germany, told the American Chemical Society's annual meeting in Philadelphia: "This ingredient would make people feel full after eating smaller amounts of food.
"With that sense of fullness and hunger-satisfaction, they would not crave more food.
"In our first study, we saw that fewer calories were consumed at the following meal after eating our new product. Our next step now is to investigate in further studies the mechanism of action and whether this may have an impact on weight management."
Consumption of SATISFIT-LTG reduced the calorie intake of volunteers by 13%.
Conventional versions of methyl cellulose pass through the stomach too rapidly to have an impact on satiety, said Dr Huettermann. But the new additive forms a gel at body temperature which lingers in the stomach before passing into the small intestine.
SATISFIT-LTG is being developed as a potential ingredient in chilled products such as smoothies and yoghurts, Dr Huettermann added.