Spinach extract curbs junk food cravings

Patented spinach extract containing green leaf membranes called thylakoids decreased hedonic hunger up to 95 percent and increased weight loss 43 percent compared to placebo.

In a recently published long-term human study by researchers at Lund University, a patented spinach extract containing green leaf membranes called thylakoids was shown to decrease hedonic hunger with up to 95 percent and increase weight loss with 43 percent compared to placebo.

Hedonic hunger is another term for the cravings many people experience for unhealthy foods such as sweets or fast food, a common cause for overweight and unhealthy eating habits. 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.

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

The 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 g 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 thylakoids lost 5 kg, which is 43 percent more. The thylakoid group also found that it was easier to stick to three meals a day—and they did not experience any cravings,” said Erlanson-Albertsson.

The key is the feeling of satiety and suppression of hedonic hunger, vs homeostatic hunger that deals with our basic need of energy. Modern processed food is broken down so quickly that the hormones in the intestines that send satiety signals to the brain and suppress cravings cannot keep up. The green 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. There is nothing wrong with our digestive system, but it doesn’t work well with the modern ‘pre-chewed’ food. The thylakoids extend the digestion, producing a feeling of satiety and reducing hedonic hunger. 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,” says Erlanson-Albertsson.

‘Body weight loss, reduced urge for palatable food and increased release of GLP-1 through daily supplementation with green-plant membranes for three months in overweight women.’ Appetite. 2014. Published online June 30, 2014.

Authors: Montelius C., Erlandsson D., Vitija E., Stenblom E. L., Egecioglu E., Erlanson-Albertsson C. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24993695


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