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Thykaloids Found in Spinach May Aid Weight Loss

A recent study suggests that taking a supplement that included a patented spinach extract containing green leaf membranes called thylakoids may lower measures of “hedonic hunger” by as much as 95%.

Hedonic hunger is eating for pleasure rather than to satisfy a biological need. A good example of hedonic hunger is continuing to eat potato after your body is no longer physically hungry.

vParticipants in the study included 38 overweight women between the ages of 40 and 65. They were given either 5 grams daily of spinach extract or a placebo every day before breakfast over the course of 12 weeks. All the participants were told to follow a 3 meal a day schedule and to increase their physical activity.

At the conclusion of the study, the extract group had an average loss of 11 lbs, which as 43% more body weight than the placebo group loss of 7.5 lbs. They also had a significant decrease in total LDL cholesterol.

In addition, the researchers found that taking the spinach extract was associated with an increased release of the hormone GLP-1, which is responsible for feelings of satiety. The spinach group also had decreased urges for sweets and chocolate, which is a measure of hedonic hunger, when compared with the control group.

The researchers believe that the thykaloids in the spinach extract extend the period of digestion, which makes us feel satiated and reduces hedonic hunger.

Researchers from Lund University in Sweden conducted the study. It was published in the October 2014 issue of Appetite.

In order to get the weight loss benefits seen here, the researchers recommend that spinach be consumed in a “green drink” form. Because our bodies can’t digest thykaloids, the spinach must be crushed, filtrated, and centrifuged - or, in other words, run through a blender. Thykaloids can also be found in other green leafy vegetables, including cabbage, lettuce, kale, and collard greens.

In addition to weight loss, previous studies suggest that the thykaloids found in spinach may help with insulin regulation.

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