Obesity has reached such epidemic numbers globally that it is now classed as a disease. In Australia, recent data estimates that up to 65% of Australian adults are overweight or obese. There are many factors that can cause and influence obesity including diet, exercise, and lifestyle as well as genetics. Obesity increases many significant disease risks in people including heart disease, stroke, diabetes and even some cancers (4).
One of the primary factors that contributes to obesity rates is the increased consumption of high fat/high sucrose foods that are energy-dense and but nutrient-poor foods. It has been observed that many people struggle to cut out processed, unhealthy foods or stick to calorie restrictive diets. Dietary therapeutic attempts to help reduce weight and normalise body weight with single nutrients alone has generally been disappointing (1).
When we look at appetite, we know that appetite control occurs through two systems: called homeostatic regulation and the hedonic regulation. The homeostatic regulation involves the control of energy (calorie) intake, and hedonic regulation involves the control of the sensory pleasure we feel when we eat (2).
What are thylakoids?
Thylakoids are pouch-like sacs found within the plant cells of green leaves. Science has shown us that when ingested, thylakoids they are easily absorbed in the body and are proving to be a novel strategy for the treatment and prevention of obesity (1). Studies concur that when thylakoids are added to food, they can be helpful in achieving weight loss and improving overall health.
What the research tells us:
Clinical studies have shown that daily supplementation with thylakoids may help to:
- Suppress hunger levels
- Reduce snacking and meal size
- Promote a feeling of fullness after a meal
- Assist with weight management
Research has found that when thylakoids are consumed, they stimulate the release of several hormones. This promotes satiety (the feeling of being satisfied) and suppresses hunger which leads to a loss of body weight and body fat. It has also been shown that the gut microflora of a person’s microbiome is also modified by thylakoids.
In long-term studies thylakoids have successfully stimulated weight loss and improved blood lipids and blood glucose. Participants who consume thylakoids in clinical studies also have a decreased liking for fatty and sweet foods.
In two studies, it was found that thylakoids consistently suppressed hedonic hunger (the enjoyment experienced when eating food). The overweight women in one study were served breakfast with a single shot of thylakoids. There was a significant reduction in the liking of fatty and sweet foods after a single shot of thylakoids, on that day. The liking reduced even further after 12 weeks consumption of a 5g daily dose. Researchers determined that thylakoids could suppress the urge for sweet and fatty foods and that this effect appears to last for the duration of the day when participants drank a thylakoid-enriched juice that morning (5, 6).
A systematic review of the potential effects of thylakoids in the management of obesity published in 2021, summarised that the major findings of studies into thylakoids was that they:
- Suppressed hunger
- Caused reduced food intake and
- Weight loss was achieved
According to the clinical studies the proposed physiological ways in which thylakoids benefit weight loss is by increasing the secretion of satiety hormones, decreasing absorption of fat in the intestines, inhibiting lipase/colipase activity, improving intestinal barrier function, modifying the microbiome, and appear to have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effects. Long term studies are desirable, but the evidence so far supports the use of thylakoids as a complementary treatment in tackling obesity (3).
Product Highlight: Activated Nutrients Slim Down
Slim Down™ contains a natural ingredient isolated from fresh spinach leaves known as thylakoids. Thylakoids have been clinically proven to suppress appetite, reducing cravings for foods high in sugar and fat and facilitate weight management by reducing snacking and meal size. It’s easy to use: Just mix 2 teaspoons (approximately 6.3g) in a glass of water and serve immediately. We recommend taking Slim Down prior to or with your breakfast meal to help control hunger levels across the day.
1. Montelius C et al, (2011.) Chloroplast thylakoids reduce glucose uptake and decrease intestinal macromolecular permeability. Br J Nutr;106(6):836–844.
2. Erlanson-Albertsson C, Albertsson PÅ, (2015). The Use of Green Leaf Membranes to Promote Appetite Control, Suppress Hedonic Hunger and Loose Body Weight. Plant Foods Hum Nutr,70(3):281-90.
3. Fatemeh Pourteymour Fard Tabrizi & Mahdieh Abbasalizad Farhangi, (2021.) A Systematic Review of the Potential Effects of Thylakoids in the Management of Obesity and Its Related Issues, Food Rev Intern, 37:5, 469-490,
4. The Garvan Institute of Medical Research, (2021). Obesity, viewed 8/11/2022, available at: https://www.garvan.org.au/research/diseases/obesity
5. Montelius C et al, (2014). Body weight loss, reduced urge for palatable food and increased release of GLP-1 through daily supplementation with green-plant membranes for 3 months in overweight women. Appetite;81:295–304.
6. Stenblom E-L, Egecioglu E, Landin-Olsson M, Erlanson-Albertsson C, (2015). Consumption of thylakoid-rich spinach reduces hunger, increases satiety, and reduces cravings for palatable food in overweight women. Appetite;91:209-19.