Spinach Extract Boosts Weight Loss by Decreasing Cravings

First Posted: Sep 03, 2014 03:01 AM EDT

A team of scientists has discovered that spinach extract helps boost weight loss by decreasing cravings.

A latest study by researchers at the Lund University, Sweden, found that spinach extract containing green leaf membranes called thylakoids lower food cravings by nearly 95 percent and boosts weight loss by almost 43 percent. They based their finding on the analysis conducted on 38 overweight women.

Food craving is also known as hedonic hunger. Many people crave for junk food or sweets. Such cravings for unhealthy food are listed as the common cause for obesity as well as unhealthy eating habits. In this study, the researchers showed that consuming thylakoids strengthens the body's production of satiety hormone and suppresses hedonic hunger that further leads to a good control over appetite, healthier eating habits and increased weight loss.

"Our analyses show that having a drink containing thylakoids before breakfast reduces cravings and keeps you feeling more satisfied all day," said Charlotte Erlanson-Albertsson, Professor of Medicine and Physiological Chemistry at the Lund University.

As part of the study, the participants had a green drink every morning before breakfast. Half of the study participants took 5 grams of spinach extract and other half - the control group - received a placebo. The participants were unaware of what they consumed, and only received instructions for consuming a balancing diet that included three meals a day. They were also instructed to not go on any other diet and were made to run for three months.

The researchers noticed that, on an average the control group shed close to 3.5 kg of body weight and those receiving thylakoids lost 5 kg of body weight. Apart from weight loss, the group consuming thylakoids found it easier to adhere to three meals a day and did not have hedonic hunger.

According to the researchers, the green leaf membranes gradually slowed down the digestion process, due to which the intestinal hormone receives sufficient time to be released and signal the brain on satisfaction.

"It is about making use of the time it takes to digest our food. There is nothing wrong with our digestive system, but it doesn't work well with the modern 'pre-chewed' food. The 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 Charlotte Erlanson-Albertsson.

The study was documented in the journal Appetite.

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