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Spinach Extract May Aid Weight Loss

Update Date: Mar 10, 2014 05:46 PM EDT

Spinach extract may help with weight loss, according to Swedish scientists.

A new study found a compound in spinach and other leafy green vegetables called thylakoid helps people feeling fuller for longer.

Researchers from Lund University explain that the compound helps slow food digestion and triggers a release of satiety hormones in the intestine.

However, spinach consumption may not be enough to help with weight loss. Researcher explain that because the human body cannot break down the compound from fresh spinach, the vegetable has to be crushed, filtrated and centrifuged to free the thylakoids for absorption.

Previous studies suggest that thylakoids slow fat digestion by giving enough time for the whole intestine to get involved. Researchers explain satiety hormones are then released once food enters the distal intestine and transferred to the brain to tell the body it's full.

Researchers said that processed foods tend to only utilize the upper intestine so satiety hormones are not released.

"I like to say our intestines are unemployed," researcher Charlotte Erlanson-Albertsson, a professor at Lund University, said in a news release.

She explained that she knew that she could put out intestines back to work if she found a way to slow down fat digestion.

In the latest study, Erlanson-Albertsson and her team administered a shot of spinach extract in human participants in the morning. Researcher found that participants who had the spinach extract felt less hungry and had fewer cravings during the day. Researchers said that the participants in the experimental group therefore found it easier to only have three meals a day compared to those in control group who were given a shot without thylakoids.

Researchers explain that thylakoids are made up of many substances and cannot be traced to just one active ingredient.

"It contains hundreds of substances - galactolipids, proteins, vitamin A, E, K, antioxidants, beta-carotene, lutein, and so on," she explained.

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