Friday, August 15, 2008

Mushrooms are a Healthy Substitute for Meat

Anyone trying to lose a few pounds would be interested in a new study out of Johns Hopkins, conducted by Dr. Lawrence Cheskin, director of the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center.

The clinicians at Hopkins studied the effects of substituting mushrooms for lean ground meat, and found it to be an excellent substitute for preventing or treating obesity. Preliminary research shows these mushroom entrées as just as satiating and palatable as meat entrées. This is good news for the more than one-third of U.S. adults age 20 and older who are obese, according to the Center for Disease Control. Obesity is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer, and type 2 diabetes.

In the study led by Dr. Cheskin, funded by the Mushroom Council, study participants were randomly chosen to receive either beef or mushroom lunch entrées over four days – lasagna, napoleon, sloppy Joe and chili. Subjects then switched entrées to consume the other ingredient (mushroom or beef) the following week.1

Energy (calorie) intakes were significantly higher during meat meals than mushroom meals, a difference that averaged 420 more calories and 30 more fat grams per day over the four-day test period. Subjects' ratings for palatability (meal appeal), appetite, satiation (after meal fullness) and satiety (general fullness) did not differ between groups.

That's a very good sign, because typically when another, lower-calorie substitution is made in meat dishes, the dieter finds other ways to bring in additional calories. This did not happen with the mushrooms.

"The most intriguing finding was that subjects seemed to accept mushrooms as a palatable and suitable culinary substitute for meat," said Dr. Cheskin.

The preliminary findings of Cheskin's team follow findings from other initial data that suggested if men substituted a 4-ounce Portabella mushroom for a 4-ounce grilled hamburger every time they ate a grilled hamburger over the course of a year, and didn't change anything else, they could save more than 18,000 calories and nearly 3,000 grams of fat.3 That's the equivalent of 5.3 pounds or 30 sticks of butter. More research is needed to further understand mushrooms' role in weight management as a low-energy density food.


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