A small amount of spinach extract increases weight loss by 43 percent, research finds.
The extract — which contains leafy membranes called thylakoids — also reduces feelings of hunger by 95 percent.
Spinach extract slows down the digestion process, helping people feel fuller and eat less.
People in the study simply drank the extract before breakfast and ate their usual three meals a day.
Professor Charlotte Erlanson-Albertsson, study co-author, said:
“Our analyses show that having a drink containing thylakoids before breakfast reduces cravings and keeps you feeling more satisfied all day.”
The study included 38 overweight women who were tracked for three months.
Half of the women were given 5 grams of the spinach extract in a drink before breakfast.
Other than that, the women did not follow a diet but were told to cut out snacking and increase their physical activity.
Professor Erlanson-Albertsson explained the results:
“In the study, the control group lost an average of 3.5 kg while the group that was given thylakoids lost 5 kg.
The thylakoid group also found that it was easier to stick to three meals a day — and they did not experience any cravings.”
One problem for people trying to lose weight is that many modern processed foods are easily broken down by the body.
This means it is hard to feel satisfied by food, so cravings return quickly.
Modern foods are effectively ‘pre-chewed’ said Professor Erlanson-Albertsson:
“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.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the journal Appetite (Montelius et al., 2014).