Lose weight and keep it off with quinoa
With a headline like that, the regular and intelligent readers of this weblog will spot it immediately: this post is about sponsored research. And indeed, the Brazilian animal study, in which rats lost weight when their food contained quinoa, was funded by Solabia, the manufacturer of the quinoa-based high-protein QuinoLean. [solabia.com]
Quinoa – Latin name Chenopodium quinoa – is a superfood that's fast gaining popularity. With reason: the quality of the proteins in quinoa is nearly as good as that of the proteins in casein; the carbohydrates have a low glycaemic value; [Adv Food Nutr Res. 2009;58:1-31.] and the plant that's related to spinach is also a good source of ecdysteroids and other interesting bioactive substances.
Researchers at the State University of Maringa in Brazil gave rats a daily 2 g of hydrolysed quinoa, QuinoLean, per kg bodyweight. The human equivalent of this dose is about 0.3 g per kg bodyweight per day. A similar-sized group of rats were given no quinoa.
Half of both groups were kept sedentary. The researchers forced the other half of each group to swim each day. And to make sure that the animals did their best, the researchers tied little weights to their tales.
Over a period of 30 days the hydrolysed quinoa reduced the appetite of the sedentary and the active rats, and inhibited weight increase. The rats that swam and ate quinoa had lost 26.5 percent of their body fat after 30 days.
The researchers observed no side effects. The relative weight of the rats' heart, kidneys, liver and lungs did not change. Blood values such as glucose, triglycerides, cholesterol, albumin, urea, uric acid, AST, ALT and ALP did not change or only by a very small amount.
"The lower weight gain in the groups that received supplementation may be associated with reduced food intake, possibly related to the high caloric content of hydrolyzed quinoa protein", the Brazilians write.
"Supplementation with hydrolyzed quinoa, decreased body weight gain and food intake in sedentary and exercised rats", the researchers conclude. "These results and the fact that hydrolyzed quinoa showed no renal or liver toxicity suggest a potential use in human nutrition. However, future clinical investigations are warranted to confirm such a potentially important therapeutic prospect."
J Med Food. 2011 Jun;14(6):653-7.
Quinoa's bursting with ecdysteroids 06.04.2011