Edible mushrooms: Potential role in weight regulation

Kavita H. Poddar, Mary Jo Feeney, Lawrence J Cheskin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Mushrooms are a class of " macrofungi" which in recent years have gained popularity among general consumers and the scientific community. Edible mushrooms have been shown to possess high nutritive value, and are being considered as " nutraceuticals" due to their potential health benefits. In vitro and in vivo studies suggest that bioactive compounds in mushrooms have immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative, lipid lowering and anti-tumor effects. Some research findings suggest that edible mushroom consumption is associated with prevention of cardiovascular diseases. Many of these health benefits can be attributed to the nutrient profile of the mushrooms, which include protein, B-vitamins, minerals, along with low fat content. In addition, bioactive compounds like polyphenols and flavonoids present in mushrooms may contribute to health benefits. Weight management is a growing concern for all segments of the U.S. population. Moreover, recent statistics provide compelling evidence that overweight and obesity are on the rise not only among adults, but also in children younger than twelve years of age. This growing trend in overweight and obesity imposes major health, economic and social burdens worldwide. While genetic, biologic and social factors are responsible to a great extent, many individuals engage in dietary behaviors that put them at risk of weight gain. On the intake side of the energy balance equation, high intake of energy-dense foods is largely responsible for the problem of positive energy balance, and the resulting epidemic of overweight and obesity in the U.S. Energy regulation is complex, but there is evidence that humans have limited ability to regulate food intake in response to changes in energy density. One obvious method of preventing passive overconsumption when consuming energy dense foods is substitution of low energy dense foods. However, palatability differences, access, cost, and habit may prevent people from choosing such foods. Edible mushrooms are very low in calories and energy density. They have a nutrient profile similar to that of many foods recommended in weight loss/maintenance diets. However many " diet" foods have low palatability, which may result in non-adherence to these foods by those seeking to lose weight and keep it off. In contrast, edible mushrooms are generally regarded by adults as highly palatable, making them potentially a good substitute for high energy density foods in the prevention and treatment of obesity. In support of this hypothesis, one study we conducted in humans on the effect of mushroom on satiety and palatability showed promising results, suggesting a potential role in improving weight regulation. In addition, mushrooms may have the added benefit of reducing oxidative stress and inflammation, conditions that are associated with obesity and a number of chronic diseases. Future research is needed on the effect of mushroom intake on body weight regulation, and associated health benefits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMushrooms: Types, Properties and Nutrition
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages28
ISBN (Print)9781614701101
StatePublished - Feb 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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