Reader Question: Doc, as a dietitian, do you have any quick tips to curb my appetite and reduce my cravings? It seems that snacking is always the death of my diet! I’m doing good, and then a craving comes and I cave. Help!
Dr. Duarte’s Answer: Do you eat spinach? If you don’t, and your goal is to lose as much body fat as possible, then you may want to start incorporating more spinach in your diet according to a recent study performed at Sweden’s Lund University.
In the study, thirty-eight overweight women consumed either a beverage containing 5g of spinach extract (made up mostly of the cell membranes from spinach stems) or a placebo prior to breakfast each day. At the end of the three month study, the spinach group lost 50% more weight!
Researchers credit the increased weightloss to an overall decrease in calorie intake as a compound in spinach stems known as thylakoids has been shown to reduce hunger, particularly cravings for sweets and fast food, by up to 95%! Thylakoids work by slowing down the digestion process, giving intestinal hormones time to communicate to the brain that we are satisfied.
Naturally, if you’re feeling more satisfied you won’t fall victim to regular snacking on all the wrong foods — and that means increased weightloss and a flatter stomach for you.
Here are some easy ways to get more spinach in your diet (be sure to include the stems):
1. Throw a couple handfuls of spinach in the blender along with your next protein shake. While it may change the color, it has virtually no taste.
2. If you’re into juicing, add spinach to your next juicing recipe.
3. Enjoy a spinach salad or sauteed spinach as part of any meal.