One particular fungus might be instrumental in understanding why your body stores sugar and fat the way it does — and helpful in getting you back on track with your weight loss.
A preliminary study out of the Department of Nutrition Science at the University of Buffalo shows that Portobello mushrooms in particular are effective in helping women lose weight by monitoring blood sugar levels. The study, led by Peter Horvath, is the first to look at how plant-based glucose can help stabilize human blood sugar. “Our results indicate that the consumption of mushrooms could be useful in regulating glucose levels,” Horvath, who is an associate professor in the Department of Exercise and Nutrition Science at UB, said in a news release. “This alone may benefit individuals attempting to lose weight and exercise longer.”
Mushrooms contain a phytonutrient component as well as the antioxidant ergothioneine — a plant-based amino acid — which together protect against tissue damage and can normalize your blood sugar in less than 30 minutes. Given our sugar- and fat-rich Western diet, especially in America, our bodies are often unable to process the large amount of sugar we consume — turning it into fat, and ultimately causing chronic diseases like diabetes and obesity. So if mushrooms and other plant-based solutions can help normalize that blood sugar, the authors believe they might be onto something. “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.”
The researchers reviewed eight men and 10 women who were aged 19 to 29, and analyzed their body fat as well as fasting glucose levels. Researchers had participants consume sweet drinks, some of which contained Portabella powder and others with none. They found that particularly for young, healthy females, the mushroom powder reduced insulin and glucose levels. Horvath notes that it’s possible to add Portobello powder into smoothies or drinks in order to reap its benefits.
Portobello mushrooms are fat-free and have very few calories, so overall they’re an excellent addition to your diet. They are packed with nutrients, such as selenium, copper, and niacin — as well as vitamin D, fiber, and protein.