Olive oil promotes satiety
As the global obesity problem continues to balloon out of control, reduced-fat foods are gaining in popularity as consumers search for ways to reduce caloric intake in order to lose weight. Unfortunately, consumers tend to overeat reduced-fat foods because they don’t feel full, so the challenge for food scientists is to create great-tasting foods that promote satiety. A new study has shown how natural oils and fats — particularly olive oil — regulate the sensation of feeling full after eating.
Researchers at the Technische Universität München (TUM) and the University of Vienna stuided four different edible fats and oils: lard, butterfat, rapeseed oil and olive oil. Over a 3-month period, study participants consumed 500 grams of low fat yogurt enriched with one of the four fats or oils every day as a supplement to their normal diet.
Results showed olive oil had the biggest satiety effect. The olive oil group showed a higher concentration of the satiety hormone serotonin in participants’ blood. No participant in this group recorded an increase in their body fat percentage or weight.
Next, the researchers focused on the aroma compounds in olive oil. In the second part of the study, participants of one group were given yogurt with olive oil aroma extracts, while participants in the control group were given plain yogurt. Results showed the olive oil group’s daily calorie intake remained the same, but the control group had been consuming an extra 176 kcal per day. Results also showed participants in the control group had less serotonin in their blood.
Blood sugar levels are significant to how long the feeling of satiety lasts. The faster blood sugar levels fall, the quicker cells absorb glucose from the blood and the sooner a person will start to feel hungry. In the next part of the study, researchers investigated which of the aroma substances present in the oil are most effective at inhibiting glucose absorption.
The researchers used olive oils from Spain, Greece, Italy and Australia for the study. They identified two substances that reduce the absorption of glucose from the blood in liver cells — Hexanal and E2-Hexenal. They also discovered that Italian olive oil contained larger amounts of the two aroma compounds.
“Our findings show that aroma is capable of regulating satiety,” the researchers said. “We hope that this work will pave the way for the development of more effective reduced-fat food products that are nonetheless satiating.”
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