A compound extracted from spinach can reduce food cravings by encouraging the release of satiety hormones and slowing down fat digestion, especially in men, a new study has claimed.
The study examined how consuming the concentrated extract of thylakoids found in spinach can reduce hunger and cravings.
Thylakoids encourage the release of satiety hormones, which is very beneficial in slowing down fat digestion.
The study examined the effect of consuming a single dose of concentrated extract of thylakoids from spinach on satiety, food intake, lipids, and glucose compared to a placebo.
Sixty people (30 males and 30 females) classified as overweight or obese took part in a double-blind randomised crossover study.
They consumed either the spinach extract or a placebo in random order at least a week apart. Using blood samples, their lipid and glucose levels were measured before a normal breakfast, followed by a dose of the extract and standard lunch four hours later.
After another four hours, pizza was served, and throughout the interval, various blood tests and responses were gathered.
The results showed that the spinach extract containing thylakoids increased satiety over a two-hour period compared to a placebo.
There were no differences in plasma lipids and energy intake at dinner, but males showed a trend towards decreased energy intake.
Thylakoid consumption may influence gender-specific food cravings – in a previous study, it was found that in women, a reduced urge for sweets was significant after a single dose of the spinach extract and the reduced urge for sweets was sustained throughout the study.
“The reduction in hunger and the desire for salty food that we saw in this study might make thylakoids particularly useful for people with high blood pressure and associated weight problems,” said co-author Frank L Greenway of Pennington Biomedical Research Centre in US.
The study was published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.