Starting the day with mushrooms - on toast or in an omelette, for instance - could help people shed the pounds, according to new research.

The fungi makes you feel fuller after breakfast than bacon or sausages – even when the same amount of calories are consumed.
It follows a study earlier this year that suggested the food, which is neither a fruit nor a vegetable, could combat dementia.

Professor Joanne Slavin, an expert in gut health at the University of Minnesota, said: “Previous studies on mushrooms suggest they can be more satiating than meat.

“But this effect had not been studied with protein matched amounts until now.

“As with previous published research, this study indicates there may be both a nutritional and satiating benefit to either substituting mushrooms for meat in some meals or replacing some of the meat with mushrooms.”

They are said to have similar flavours to meat, bringing an intensely savoury ‘umami’ character to a dish.

Prof Slavin and colleagues believe mushrooms are one of the most imperative ingredients of breakfast, which is said to be the most important meal of the day.

The study published in Appetite matched the mushroom and meat by their amount of protein – the most satiating macronutrient – as well as calories.

Nutritionist Mary Jo Feeney, of the Mushroom Council which funded the research, said: “This new study adds to a growing body of evidence that suggests mushrooms may aid weight management and satiety, and thus contribute to overall wellness.

“Consumers are interested in the benefits of protein food choices, so it is important for them to know plant based sources of protein, such as mushrooms, can be satisfying.”

The study of 32 men and women found hunger and food consumption was curbed when they ate mushrooms, rather than meat.

For 10 days they were assigned at random to diets that either included twice a day servings of 8oz (226g) of sliced white button mushrooms or 1oz (28g) of lean ground beef, containing just 7 per cent fat.

Prof Slavin said participants reported significantly less hunger, greater fullness and decreased prospective consumption after consuming a mushroom breakfast, rather than a meat one.

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines in the US encourage healthy eating patterns that are low in saturated fat, which is found in meat.
Research has shown blending finely chopped mushrooms with meat can be a cooking technique that’s both nutritious and delicious.

A previous study by Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, found participants eating a mushroom rich diet instead of lean, ground beef lost seven pounds, showed improvements in body and maintained the changes after losing weight.

Another by University of California, Davis, showed substituting mushrooms for a portion of meat helped improve nutrition and flavour.

Adding them to the mix lowered calories, saturated fat and salt intake, while increasing vital nutrients including B vitamins, vitamin D, antioxidants and potassium.

Today, the mushroom-meat mix, also referred to as The Blend, is popular with both professional chefs and home cooks.

One serving of five, white, raw, medium sized mushrooms contains 20 calories, zero fat, 3g of protein and almost no sodium.
Mushrooms are unique in that they are the only food in the supermarket aisle that contain natural vitamin D.

In January, scientists said experiments on rodents and humans had found mushrooms contain chemicals that prevent inflammation in the brain.

The Malayan team suggested they should be considered a ‘superfood’ because they increased grey matter by raising production of a chemical called NGF (nerve growth factor).
They said “they may fulfil a preventive function against the development of Alzheimer’s disease.”

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