Fungus Amongus

05.22.14

Mushrooms Are Magic for Women Trying to Lose Weight

Throw a few extra mushrooms in tonight’s dinner—a new study shows they help you lose weight and exercise longer.

Want to lose weight? Load up on mushrooms.

A preliminary study from the Department of Nutrition Science at the University of Buffalo indicates that Portobello mushrooms in particular may help women shed weight by regulating blood sugar.

The study, titled “The effect of mushroom intake on modulating post-prandial glycemic response,” is the first to examine how plant-based glucose can aid in normalizing blood sugar. According to Peter Horvath, associate professor in the Department of Exercise and Nutrition Science at UB, the “results indicate that the consumption of mushrooms could be useful in regulating glucose levels. This alone may benefit individuals attempting to lose weight and exercise longer.”

Horvath suggested that it is a dense phytonutrient component, along with the “incredible antioxidant” ergothioneine, a naturally occurring plant based amino acid, which yield such powerful and rapid improvement to the body. Together, they nourish cells and work to protect against tissue damage, leading to greater stamina while also leveling blood sugar—in less than 30 minutes. “The results were quite rapid,” Horvath told The Daily Beast. “If you could have a mushroom granola bar a half-hour before you work out, well, that would be ideal.”

“If you could have a mushroom granola bar a half-hour before you work out, well, that would be ideal.”

By stabilizing blood glucose levels in the body, we can support the essential hormone balance needed to chuck unwanted weight—but understanding how to get there is tricky. Every cell in the body needs glucose (sugar) for fuel in order to thrive, but the Western diet is filled with unhealthy, processed sugar that the body can’t possibly expend. Unused sugar turns into fat, leading to fatty liver, diabetes, and obesity. Enter unassuming fungi: clean, plant-based solution that could possibly normalize blood sugar.

This particular study divided subjects into two groups: eight men and 10 women, ages 19-29.  Over the course of two weeks, all subjects underwent three modified Oral Glucose Tolerance Tests (OGTTs), essentially measuring how the blood glucose level of each individual responded to sweet drinks. Each subject drank one of the three options listed below:

75 g glucose drink (G)
75 g glucose drink with 95 g Portabella Powder (MG)
9.5 Portobello powder with Stevia/flavored water (M)

After two hours of each day, blood was drawn. The results showed a constant decline in post-prandial (after-meal) elevated insulin levels in women who consumed MG—the glucose drink with Portobello powder—while men showed no difference.

What does this research mean for us ladies? Mushrooms may provide the balance required to level-out blood sugar levels and keep the body at a healthy weight, all while providing clean fuel for endurance so the body doesn’t crash and burn. When asked if he would opt for a mushroom over a banana post-workout, Dr. Horvath said, “I would make a shake! You can actually buy the same mushroom powder used in our study. It’s treated with ultraviolet rays, so is enriched with Vitamin D2.  It might taste earthy, but it’s great for your health.”

And men, you need not be deterred—mushrooms can still aid in your health. They have long since been touted as medicinal fungi, boasting the ability to strengthen the immune system and lower cholesterol. Portobellos are also chock-full of antioxidants, and they’re full of fiber keep you full for longer periods of time.  They also have potassium for hydration and iron for healthy circulation.

Talk about a superfood.