Most of us find it all too easy to gain weight. An increase in body weight only happens when people eat more kilojoules than they burn each day through physical activity. So, to lose any excess body fat they have to eat fewer kilojoules than they burn.
There are three ways to achieve that:
- Eat fewer kilojoules by changing the diet;
- Burn more kilojoules by being more active; or
- A mixture of eating fewer kilojoules and being more active
In reality, a mix of dietary change and becoming more active has the greatest chance of long-term weight loss success.
Foods with a low energy density like fruits, vegetables and mushrooms have the ability to fill people up, avoiding an over-consumption of food. The mushroom, one of the lowest energy dense foods around, appears to have an additional benefit for the weight watcher: it has the ability to dampen the appetite, certainly over the short-term.
When meat dishes were substituted with button mushrooms, the satiety of the meal was enhanced (Cheskin 2008). Although the mushroom meal was 420 kJ (100 Calories) less than the meat meal, consumers actually ate 1555 fewer kilojoules (370 Calories) each day over four days. This suggests that mushrooms have a powerful ability to increase the satiety of a meal. The same research group is now looking at the effect of mushroom consumption on appetite over 12 months, rather than just days, to see if the effect is sustained.
The mushroom is ideally suited for weight control because it is low in fat, low in kilojoules and low in energy density (see Table 4). That makes mushrooms suitable for everyone, including those who have heart disease or diabetes. A single serve of mushrooms (100g or three button mushrooms) has only 103 kJs (25 Cals).
With mushrooms offering a different range of nutrients than found in vegetables, it is smart to include mushrooms as one of your five vegetable serves each day.
Table 4. Energy Density of Example Foods
|Food||kJ/100 g||Cals/100 g|
|Apple, red delicious
|Boiled potato, new
|Lean beef, grilled
Source: NUTTAB 2010