Spinach extract reduces cravings, helps weight loss

September 2, 2014 in Nutrition Topics in the News, Weight Management

Spinach extract reduces cravings, helps weight loss

Swedish researchers from at Lund University have revealed that a  spinach extract containing green leaf membranes called thylakoids decreases hedonic hunger with up to 95% - and increases weight loss with 43%.

Hedonic hunger is another term for the cravings many people experience for unhealthy foods such as sweets or fast food. The study shows that taking thylakoids reinforces the body's production of satiety hormones and suppresses hedonic hunger, which leads to better appetite control, healthier eating habits and increased weight loss.

The small study involved 38 overweight women and ran for three months. Every morning before breakfast the participants had a green drink. Half of the women were given 5 grams of spinach extract and the other half, the control group, were given a placebo. The participants did not know which group they belonged to -- the only instructions they received were to eat a balanced diet including three meals a day and not to go on any other diet.

In the study, the control group lost an average of 3.5 kg while the group that was given the spinach compound lost 5 kg. The spinach group also found that it was easier to stick to three meals a day and they did not experience cravings.

The key is the feeling of satiety and suppression of hedonic hunger versus homeostatic hunger that deals with basic energy needs. Modern processed food is broken down so quickly that gut hormones that send satiety signals to the brain and suppress cravings cannot keep up. The spinach leaf membranes slow down the digestion process, giving the intestinal hormones time to be released and communicate to the brain that we are satisfied.

"It is about making use of the time it takes to digest our food. The spinach thylakoids extend digestion, producing a feeling of satiety. This means that we are able to stick to the diet we are meant for without snacks and unnecessary foods like sweets, crisps and such," said the lead researcher.

Source: Appetite, 2014.

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