Dr. Lawrence Cheskin, MD, Director of John Hopkins Weight Management Center, has conducted a study that suggests mushrooms are a good "low-density" food substitute for "high-density" meats in a diet designed to combat obesity. By extrapolation one can presume that mushrooms can help anyone to reduce calories, without reducing the enjoyment of favorite dishes. This is because mushrooms are very low in fat and calories, but high in flavor and provide satiety, the satisfying feeling of fullness that accompanies a good meal.
In the study, which was funded by the Mushroom Council, a variety of entrées including lasagna, sloppy Joe and chili, were prepared in two ways, one with a main ingredient of mushrooms, the other with lean ground beef. The dishes prepared with lean ground beef had a much higher calorie and fat content, but both styles of preparation were judged about equal in taste and in the feeling of pleasant fullness which lasts through the day.
"The most intriguing finding was that subjects seemed to accept mushrooms as a palatable and suitable culinary substitute for meat," said Dr. Cheskin. "They didn't compensate for the lower calorie mushroom meal by eating more food later in the day."
On average the meat-based recipes had 420 more calories and 30 more grams of fat than the mushroom-based recipes. Mushrooms have long been appreciated for their savory richness, the umami flavor that brings out the best in a dish. Now we have experimental evidence for mushrooms' ability to provide that boost of flavor while simultaneously allowing you to reduce calories. Truly, a delicious way to diet.
For more information on this intriguing study see http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080815130413.htm