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Spinach-Based Supplement May Help Lower Feelings of Hunger, Increase Satiety

A recent study suggests that a spinach-based, thylakoid-enriched dietary supplement may decrease hunger and increase feelings of satiety or fullness. Thylakoids are the cellular membranes of chloroplasts, the part of the plant that makes photosynthesis possible.

Participants in the study included 60 overweight or obese people who were given either 5 grams of the spinach-based supplement or a placebo before a standard lunch. A week later, the participants switched to the other intervention. The researchers drew blood to assess lipids and glucose four hours before lunch and two hours after lunch. The participants were given a pizza dinner four hours after lunch.

At the conclusion of the study, the researchers found that the spinach extract group had reduced feelings of hunger and reduced longing for food over two hours.  They also increased plasma glucose concentrations after eating. No difference was found in plasma lipids or calorie intake at dinner but they did find a trend toward decreased calorie intake in the men.

Researchers from LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on June 1, 2015, in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.

Our bodies can’t digest thylakoids, so they must be processed in some way, usually by being crushed, filtrated, and centrifuged. In addition to lowering feelings of hunger an increasing satiety, previous studies suggest that the thylakoids found in spinach may help with insulin regulation and weight loss.

Thylakoids are also found in other green leafy vegetables, including cabbage, lettuce, kale, and collard greens.

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