Diets Rich in Polyunsaturated Fats May Reduce Appetite

A study out of the University of Georgia suggests that regularly eating foods high in polyunsaturated fats, such as avocado, quinoa, chickpeas, salmon, walnuts and olive oil, may have an affect on your appetite.

Nov. 15, 2017
By Anthony Vasquez-Peddie

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New research sug­gests that reg­u­larly eat­ing foods high in polyun­sat­u­rated fats may affect hunger.

A study out of the University of Georgia shows that these foods, which include avo­cado, quinoa, chick­peas, salmon, wal­nuts and olive oil, may have an effect on hor­mones that results in reduced appetite.

These find­ings tell us that eat­ing foods rich in polyun­sat­u­rated fats may favor­ably change appetite hor­mones so that we can feel fuller for longer.- Jamie A. Cooper, University of Georgia

This was done by mea­sur­ing the phys­i­o­log­i­cal lev­els of hunger and sati­ety through hor­mone changes in study sub­jects and ask­ing them to rate how hun­gry they were and how much they could eat. 

Participants who were fed a diet high in polyun­sat­u­rated fats had a sig­nif­i­cant decrease in fast­ing ghre­lin, a hor­mone that increases hunger, and a sig­nif­i­cant increase in pep­tide YY, a hor­mone that increases the feel­ing of being sati­ated or full. Measurements were taken after meals and dur­ing peri­ods of fasting.

Appetite hor­mones play an impor­tant role in reg­u­lat­ing how much we eat,” lead researcher Jamie A. Cooper said. These find­ings tell us that eat­ing foods rich in polyun­sat­u­rated fats may favor­ably change appetite hor­mones so that we can feel fuller for longer.”

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While these changes in hor­mones indi­cate bet­ter appetite con­trol, there were no changes in sur­vey answers between those who ate meals high in polyun­sat­u­rated fats and the con­trol diet through­out the study.

The results may have impli­ca­tions in terms of weight loss. If a diet high in polyun­sat­u­rated fats leads peo­ple to eat less, it could help tackle the obe­sity epidemic.

The study involved 26 healthy men and women between the ages of 18 and 35 who vis­ited the lab for test­ing and to eat their meals. At the begin­ning of the study, sub­jects were fed a diet high in sat­u­rated fats. They were then given either meals high in polyun­sat­u­rated fats or a con­trol diet con­sis­tent with typ­i­cal American eat­ing pat­terns over a seven-day period. Afterward, they were once again fed meals high in sat­u­rated fats.

The diet high in polyun­sat­u­rated fats con­sisted of Alaska salmon, tuna, wal­nuts, flaxseed oil, grape­seed oil, canola oil and fish oil supplements.

Both this diet and the con­trol diet con­tained the same total num­ber of calo­ries and calo­ries from fats. The dif­fer­ence was the types of fats included. The diet high in polyun­sat­u­rated fats was com­prised of 21 per­cent polyun­sat­u­rated fats, nine per­cent mono­sat­u­rated fats and five per­cent sat­u­rated fats, while the con­trol diet had seven per­cent polyun­sat­u­rated fats, 15 per­cent mono­sat­u­rated fats and 13 per­cent sat­u­rated fats.

It’s impor­tant, how­ever, to note the lim­i­ta­tions of the study. It was done on a small scale within a lim­ited age group. There were no indi­ca­tions of diver­sity. We’re also unable to deter­mine whether the results dis­played can be attrib­uted to a par­tic­u­lar type of polyun­sat­u­rated fat, food source or a com­bi­na­tion of factors.



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