LSU may have key to curbing hunger

Published: Jun. 2, 2015 at 6:12 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 2, 2015 at 6:14 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BATON ROUGE, LA (WVUE) - Struggling with losing weight?  Researchers at LSU's Pennington Biomedical Research Center say they've made an important discovery that could help the millions of people who struggle with their appetite.   The answer is an extract derived from spinach.  And scientists say it may not only help increase the feeling of fullness, but can also have with cravings for fatty or salty foods.

The patented supplement is called Appethyl.  Researchers claim it increased the feeling of fullness in study participants after just one dose. They also say it decreased cravings for salt, an important development for people who are being treated for high blood pressure.

"I believe that Appethyl is special," said Dr. Frank Greenway, lead researcher on the study and chief medical officer of Pennington Biomedical's Outpatient Clinic. "It is a safe food made from spinach that decreases hunger and decreases desire for salt, both key attributes that could be beneficial for people trying to maintain a healthy weight and blood pressure."

LSU scientists say Appethyl is an all-natural spinach extract enriched for thylakoids, the cellular membranes in plants which are found in chloroplasts where photosynthesis takes place. They say thylakoids work by slowing fat digestion, which in turn increases the body's production of hormones that lead to a satisfied feeling.

Before you run out to the store and stock up on the green vegetable, researchers say the supplement is more beneficial at curbing cravings than fresh spinach.  That's because Appethyl is reportedly active the moment it's eaten, and spinach leaves must be digested before the full feeling occurs, thereby missing the window for hunger control.

In the study conducted at Pennington Biomedical, 60 overweight and obese participants were provided either Appethyl or a placebo with a meal. Researchers found that those who took Appethyl felt more satisfied, had a reduced feeling of hunger for food, and had less desire for salty and savory foods.

"Appethyl has the ability to assist people in cutting their daily caloric intake," said Candida Rebello, registered dietitian and one of Pennington Biomedical's researchers on the study. "In 90 percent of adults, weight gain can be a consequence of overeating by just 100 calories a day. Appethyl can aid in preventing that weight gain by helping cut cravings and thereby the number of calories consumed."

This study was made possible through a grant partnership with Greenleaf Medical. The study results were published this week in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, which can be found here:

Copyright 2015 WVUE. All rights reserved.