The prevalence of obesity in Indonesia is high. Data from Basic Health Research in 2013 shows the prevalence of obesity is up to 8.8% among 5 - 12 years old children, 2.5% among 13 - 15 years old teenagers, 1.6% among 16 - 18 years old teenagers, and 15.4% among adults. On the other hand, obesity can become a risk factor for the occurrence of several diseases including hypertension, diabetes mellitus type 2, as well as social and psychological problems.
Concerned with the issue, several UGM students try to find an alternative solution. Sekar Risdipta Savitarasmi, Meilisa Khoiriya, and Raka Permana Adlin Putra from Faculty of Medicine collaborating with Sri Wening Kurniajati from Faculty of Veterinary Sciences and Wahyu Setyaning Budi from Faculty of Agricultural Technology develop a milk product made from peanut as an alternative solution for obesity, namely SUKATA. This research is conducted under the supervision of Harry Freitag Luglio Muhammad, S.Gz., M.Sc., dietician, through the UGM Students Creativity Programme 2017.
The leader of SUKATA developers, Sekar Risdipta, said obesity is often caused by uncontrolled appetite. Appetite is controlled by the brain, particularly the arcuate nucleus, a part of the hypothalamus which produces serotonin hormone. This hormone has a function to reduce the appetite and induces food satisfaction.
“Serotonin hormone is precursor by the tryptophan amino acid. The source of this tryptophan amino acid is easily found in nuts, including peanuts,” said Sekar on Wednesday (12/7) in UGM.
Sekar said peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) contains high tryptophan amino acid. As much as 100 grams of peanut contains 250 mg tryptophan amino acid that can suppress the appetite.
Therefore, they conducted an advanced research to study the role of peanut milk towards the production of serotonin molecules. In order to prove the effect of peanut milk in decreasing the appetite, they conducted an experiment on 30 Sprague-Dawley rats. The peanut milk was given through feeding tube to the rats which had been given a high-fat and high-fructose daily feed. It aimed to induce obesity in the rats. After 25 days, they took blood plasma of the rats to see the serotonin level.
“The result is that the addition of body weight of the rats which had been given SUKATA is less than those of the rats which did not consume it,” said Sekar.
Moreover, the appetite of the rats which consumed SUKATA also decreased. It proves that SUKATA can help prevent the excessive body weight addition that can lead to obesity.
The production of this peanut milk not only becomes the solution to prevent obesity in Indonesia but also to encourage the diversification in peanut-based functional food processing that is still limited and has yet to be known by the society.
“This peanut milk can become a solution to prevent obesity in Indonesia as well as an alternative product for peanut-based food processing diversification,” she added.