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Pennington Biomedical Finding Helps Curb Hunger and Cravings

Spinach extract may be used as dietary supplement
Released: Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Baton Rouge, LA – Scientists at LSU's Pennington Biomedical Research Center have tested and confirmed the effectiveness of a new spinach-based dietary supplement that cuts hunger and increases the feeling of fullness—an important discovery for the millions of people who struggle with their appetite and who may also crave fatty or salty foods.

The patented supplement, Appethyl, increased the feeling of fullness in study participants after just one dose. It also decreased cravings for salt, an important development for people who are being treated for high blood pressure.

"I believe that Appethyl is special," said Dr. Frank Greenway, lead researcher on the study and chief medical officer of Pennington Biomedical's Outpatient Clinic. "It is a safe food made from spinach that decreases hunger and decreases desire for salt, both key attributes that could be beneficial for people trying to maintain a healthy weight and blood pressure."

Appethyl is an all-natural spinach extract enriched for thylakoids, the cellular membranes in plants which are found in chloroplasts where photosynthesis takes place. Thylakoids work by slowing fat digestion, which in turn increases the body's production of hormones that lead to a satisfied feeling. The extract is created through a specialized process that releases the active components in the spinach and renders them active when they're eaten.

The supplement is more beneficial at curbing cravings than fresh spinach because Appethyl is active the moment it's eaten. Spinach leaves must be digested before the full feeling occurs, thereby missing the window for hunger control.

In the study conducted at Pennington Biomedical, 60 overweight and obese participants were provided either Appethyl or a placebo with a meal and were monitored. Researchers found that participants who took Appethyl felt more satisfied, had a reduced feeling of hunger for food, and had less desire for salty and savory foods.

"Appethyl has the ability to assist people in cutting their daily caloric intake," said Candida Rebello, registered dietitian and one of Pennington Biomedical's researchers on the study. "In 90 percent of adults, weight gain can be a consequence of overeating by just 100 calories a day. Appethyl can aid in preventing that weight gain by helping cut cravings and thereby the number of calories consumed."

This study was made possible through a grant partnership with Greenleaf Medical. The study results were published this week in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, which can be found here: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/07315724.2014.1003999.

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The Pennington Biomedical Research Center is at the forefront of medical discovery as it relates to understanding the triggers of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia. It is a campus of Louisiana State University and conducts basic, clinical and population research. The research enterprise at Pennington Biomedical includes approximately 80 faculty and more than 25 post-doctoral fellows who comprise a network of 44 laboratories supported by lab technicians, nurses, dietitians, and support personnel, and 13 highly specialized core service facilities. Pennington Biomedical’s more than 500 employees perform research activities in state-of-the-art facilities on the 222-acre campus located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.