New research has found that a diet containing foods full of polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs), including nuts and salmon, may affect the production of hormones related to hunger.
A study, published in the journal Nutrition, found that millennials who consumed foods of this nature were more likely to feel satiated and less likely to overeat.
As part of the study, researchers examined the physiological responses to hunger and satiety in millennials. They did this by measuring the changes in hormone levels at different times, as well asking the participants for subjective responses as to how hungry they were and how much they thought they’d be capable of eating.
The study found that participants who were following a diet containing higher amounts of PUFAs had significantly less ghrelin, a hormone that triggers hunger. Those on this diet were also found to have a significant increase in peptide YY, which is a hormone that increases fullness.
“Appetite hormones play an important role in regulating how much we eat,” said lead researcher, Jamie A. Cooper, PhD of the University of Georgia.
“These findings tell us that eating foods rich in PUFAs, like those found in walnuts, may favourably change appetite hormones so that we can feel fuller for longer.”
26 healthy men and women between the ages of 18 and 25 took part in the study, and were required to visit the lab to receive their meals and have measurements taken.
The beginning of the study saw participants measured and given ‘test meals’ which were high in saturated fats.
The participants were then placed on either a high-PUFA diet or a control diet, which was intended to represent the traditional American diet, for seven days.
Those on the PUFA-increased diet were fed many whole foods, such as salmon, oils, tuna and walnuts.
When the seven-day diet was over participants were asked to consume test meals once more, with this again containing high levels of saturated fats.
Both diets consisted of the same number of calories and the same proportion of calories being eaten in the form of fat, with the only difference being the types of fat included in the meals.
The PUFA-rich diet was comprised of 21 per cent PUFA, 9 per cent monounsaturated fat and 5 per cent saturated fat; the control diet, on the other hand, was made up of 7 per cent PUFA, 15 per cent monounsaturated fat and 13 per cent saturated fat.
It was noted by the authors of the study that more research will need to take place, in order to examine the long-term effects of eating a PUFA-rich diet and to determine the effects of specific foods.