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Raisins, Appetite Control, and Weight Loss


There is a link between successful weight loss and energy balance. Generally speaking, as the amount of food consumed rises, calorie burn needs to become greater for successful weight maintenance. If the amount of calories consumed rises, but the calorie burn declines (for instance, because of lack of exercise, or the natural decrease in metabolism as we age), increase in weight invariably follows. Additional challenges of modern life, such as lack of nutritional quality with fast food, the daily stress, and the ever-present lack of time, make successful dieting even more challenging.A lot of people are looking for every solution for weight loss. And, to answer that need, M. J. Puglisi and co-researchers may have a suggestion.

In 2009, M. J. Puglisi and co-writers at the University of Connecticut published a study on the nutritional qualities of raisins, as well as their potential for reducing risk factors for Cardio Vascular Disease. While weight loss was not the primary objective of the study, several interesting findings were noted. Among them was that the carb content in raisins could affect the blood concentration of leptin, which is one of the key hormones involved in appetite regulation and weight control. The authors suggest that as the sugars are taken up by fat cells (adipocytes), leptin secretion increases.

Among leptin’s key roles is to inform an area in the brain called the hypothalamus about energy storage within the body (which is a fancier description of fat). The more fat, the more leptin is produced, the stronger the signal becomes. At a certain point, the brain “gets it,” and tells us that we are full. (Incidentally, this is another reason why everyone should eat slowly – when food is consumed slower, it is more likely that less food will be eaten by the time the brain “gets it” and tells the body to stop).

Another important dietary benefit of raisins, as well as fruit in general, is the addition of dietary fiber into the diet. Fiber is an important supplement of most diets out there, including opposite ends of the spectrum from the Atkins-style to the low-fat diets. Dietary fiber’s role is to slow down the digestion cycle, which has the advantage of keeping us full longer. As you feel full longer, you generally eat less – and generally stay within the required caloric limits. This in turn helps you follow the guidelines of whatever diet you may be following for the purpose of weight loss.

What, if any conclusions can we draw from this research? Perhaps that when used as a part of a balanced, rational diet, raisins’ natural sugar may make it possible to control appetite. In addition, the fiber within raisins slows down digestion and makes us feel fuller, longer. When coupled with a moderate increase in physical activity, such as walking, it appears relatively easy to maintain a proper, balanced diet and a reasonable exercise routine. This, in turn, will likely lead to weight loss success in the long term. As with any diet or exercise program, be sure that you seek competent medical advice from your doctor before starting any program. The above is NOT written by a physician and is NOT medical advice.

Reference: Puglisi, M.J., Mutungi, G., et al., Raisins and Walking alter Appetite Hormones and Plasma Lipids by Modifications in Lipoprotein Metabolism and Up-Regulation of the Low Density Lipoprotein Receptor., Metabolism Clinical and Experimental 58 (2009) p. 120-128.

Source by Jason Chen

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