If you’re looking to curb hunger and lose weight, eating hummus may not be such a bad idea.
Research has found that eating foods containing polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs), such as hummus, walnuts and salmon, may alter the appetite hormones associated with hunger.
The study found that millennials (ages 18-35) who regularly consumed such foods felt more satisfied and less hungry than others, which may prevent overeating.
During the study, researchers looked at physiological hunger and satiety responses in a group of millennials by measuring hormone changes at different times.
They also took subjective ratings by asking participants to indicate on a scale how hungry or full they were and how much they thought they could eat.
Study participants that consumed a diet high in PUFAs had a significant decrease in fasting ghrelin – a hormone that increases hunger – and a significant increase in peptide YY (PYY) – a hormone that increases fullness or satiety.
“Appetite hormones play an important role in regulating how much we eat,” said lead researcher, Jamie A. Cooper, PhD of the University of Georgia.
“These findings tell us that eating foods rich in PUFAs, like those found in walnuts, may favourably change appetite hormones so that we can feel fuller for longer.”
Researchers enrolled 26 healthy men and women ages 18-35 who visited the lab for measurements and to receive their meals throughout the study.
At the beginning of the study, participants were measured and then consumed test meals high in saturated fat.
Researchers then placed subjects on a seven-day diet high in PUFAs or a control diet consisting of a typical American eating pattern.
The PUFA-rich diet included whole foods such as walnuts, Alaska salmon, tuna, flaxseed oil, grapeseed oil, canola oil, and fish oil supplements. All meals were provided by the researchers.
After the seven-day diet, participants consumed test meals high in saturated fat, again.
The two diets contained the same number of total calories and percent of calories from fat but differed in the types of fat included.
The control diet was comprised of 7% polyunsaturated fat, 15% monounsaturated fat and 13% saturated fat, compared to the PUFA-rich diet which was 21% polyunsaturated fat, 9% monounsaturated fat, and 5% saturated fat.
The study authors noted that more research is needed to asses the impact of a PUFA-rich diet longterm and determine if any specific foods have a greater impact than others.
The study is published in the journal Nutrition.