Different people have different reasons for wanting to lose weight.
Your reason might be that you want to improve your health… or you may want to be more fit or stronger… you might be concerned about your appearance.
No matter the reason for wanting to lose weight, there’s a common factor that is all but universal to trying to lose weight.
And that is… Losing weight is hard!
It’s hard for a lot of reasons. It takes time to see the results you’re hoping for which can be disheartening. It requires eating less, and often less of the things you enjoy the most. This can leave you feeling deprived, which makes it harder to stick to your plan. If you don’t get enough sleep — or enough quality sleep — that can sabotage your efforts. So can stress.
Mushrooms aren’t a magic weight-loss bullet.
But they can be helpful if you’re trying to lose weight.
And they help in a lot of different ways. Let’s take a look…
For such a small package, mushrooms pack in a lot of nutritional benefit in relatively few calories.
Many kinds of mushrooms are a good source of vitamin D — an uncommon thing to find in the produce section. They are also a rich source of zinc, potassium, selenium, copper, and magnesium — all minerals that are essential to a countless number of chemical processes in your body.
Mushrooms are also a good source of fiber and contain more protein than your average plant-based food (No, mushrooms aren’t plants. They’re part of the fungi kingdom).
Because of their complex, nutrient-rich make-up, mushrooms can be helpful to anyone trying to find satisfying low-calorie foods that aren’t just empty calories.
One of the reasons losing weight is hard is that pesky feeling of hunger.
If you’re feeling hungry all the time, you’re not going to feel at your best. You’re going to feel sluggish and irritable. And eventually, you’re going to decide you just want to feel full… for a lot of people that’s the moment they give up on reaching their target weight.
Mushrooms help you feel full and satisfied. Make them a regular feature on your menu, and you’ll find it easier to eat less overall.
In one study, participants were asked to eat either mushrooms or a lean, meat-based protein for breakfast. The servings were protein- and calorie-balanced across the groups, meaning that the serving size of mushrooms was large enough to equal the serving size of meat in terms of calories and proteins.
After ten days, those in the mushrooms-for-breakfast group reported have less hunger throughout the day and ate less during the day.
If feeling hunger has held you back from reaching your target weight, eating more mushrooms might be just what you need.
There’s a connection between blood sugar levels and successful weight loss.
The idea that eating less and moving more will to weight loss is sound on the face of things. And for some people it works.
But for others, it can feel like no matter how much you count your calories and cut back your portions and sweat at the gym, weight loss remains elusive.
The reason for that might lie in your blood sugar. Big swings in blood sugar levels can make losing weight hard, even when you’re doing everything else by the book.
The polysaccharides and terpenoids found in medicinal mushrooms (like Maitake mushrooms) can have a positive effect on how your body uses glucose and insulin, which could conceivably make reaching your target weight easier.
In early studies, these compounds have been shown to improve the entire system of glucose use in your body through a number of mechanisms, including increasing insulin sensitivity. That’s a key factor in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.
And when you have healthy, steady blood sugar levels, eating less and moving more really can lead to losing weight.
When it comes to weight loss, mushrooms are so promising, there’s even a mushroom diet. Known as the M-Diet, it advocates replacing one meal each day with mushrooms.
Fad diets generally aren’t a good idea, but you can strategically incorporate mushrooms into your regular eating plan to help you reach your target weight successfully and in a healthful way.
First, use mushrooms to replace meat two or three times a week. They go great in pastas and soups, and you can use portobellos as an entrée, either stuffed or as the “meat” in a burger.
Second, look for ways to snack on mushrooms instead of empty calories. You can find mushroom jerky and mushroom chips at your local high-end grocery store (or on Amazon). You can buy jars of marinated mushrooms to snack on. You can also stuff button or cremini mushrooms with just about anything you like and then roast them to create a tasty, healthy snack to keep in your fridge.
Third, add mushrooms to your breakfast as often as you can without getting tired of them.
When you turn to mushrooms instead of calorie-dense meats or empty-calorie snacks, you’ll enjoy a number of health benefits… and you might find it makes it easier to make progress toward your target weight.
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