Consumption of thylakoid-rich spinach extract reduces hunger, increases satiety and reduces cravings for palatable food in overweight women

Appetite. 2015 Aug;91:209-19. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2015.04.051. Epub 2015 Apr 17.


Green-plant membranes, thylakoids, have previously been found to increase postprandial release of the satiety hormone GLP-1, implicated in reward signaling. The purpose of this study was to investigate how treatment with a single dose of thylakoids before breakfast affects homeostatic as well as hedonic hunger, measured as wanting and liking for palatable food (VAS). We also examined whether treatment effects were correlated to scores for eating behavior. Compared to placebo, intake of thylakoids significantly reduced hunger (21% reduction, p < 0.05), increased satiety (14% increase, p < 0.01), reduced cravings for all snacks and sweets during the day (36% reduction, p < 0.05), as well as cravings for salty (30%, p < 0.01); sweet (38%, p < 0.001); and sweet-and-fat (36%, p < 0.05) snacks, respectively, and decreased subjective liking for sweet (28% reduction, p < 0.01). The treatment effects on wanting all snacks, sweet-and-fat snacks in particular, were positively correlated to higher emotional eating scores (p < 0.01). The treatment effect of thylakoids on scores for wanting and liking were correlated to a reduced intake by treatment (p < 0.01 respectively), even though food intake was not affected significantly. In conclusion, thylakoids may be used as a food supplement to reduce homeostatic and hedonic hunger, associated with overeating and obesity. Individuals scoring higher for emotional eating behavior may have enhanced treatment effect on cravings for palatable food.

Keywords: Emotional eating; Liking; Meal supplement; Reward; VAS; Wanting.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Craving / drug effects*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Eating
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Food Preferences / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Hunger / drug effects*
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / diet therapy*
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Obesity / psychology
  • Overweight
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Satiation / drug effects*
  • Snacks
  • Spinacia oleracea / chemistry*
  • Taste
  • Thylakoids*


  • Plant Extracts