Obesity is a global problem. It is not an isolated issue, as it affects people all over the world, no matter their social context. Being overweight is just a step towards obesity. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1.9 billion adults were overweight in 2014 alone. 600 million of them are obese.
Finding an efficient and affordable solution for preventing unnecessary weight gain is crucial. Researchers from the Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences in Iran have experimented with diets and a well-known spice, cumin, in an attempt to improve the weight of women with a BMI (Body Mass Index) of over 25.
For women, a normal BMI ranges from 18.5 to 25. All of the women who participated in the study were healthy individuals, without a history of diseases or drug consumption and with a stable weight. 100 women between the ages of 20 and 60 took part.
The study lasted for three months and included a reduced-calorie diet (by 500 kcal per person) and a random assignment of two servings per day of 150 ml of low-fat yogurt or the same amount low-fat yogurt with three grams of cumin powder (1.5 grams of cumin with 150 ml of yogurt twice a day).
All women were monitored, counseled individually and given the same amount of attention. The dietitian who prescribed the diet for each participant did not know who was going to receive the cumin. There were no significant differences between the two groups regarding their weight, BMI, or cholesterol levels.
While twelve participants had to quit the study, the results from the remaining 88 painted a clear picture. The participants who had a daily intake of 3 grams of cumin powder had a higher decrease in body weight (6.2 kg compared to 4.2 kg on average), they kept their muscular mass (a 0.04 kg decrease compared to 0.34 kg in the control group) and lowered their fat mass (they lost 5.5 kg of fat on average, as compared to 3.75 kg in the control).
The more interesting results are those related to the cholesterol levels, which decreased by 14%, the LDL-c (Low Density Lipoproteins - "bad" cholesterol) that decreased by 7.2%, and the HDL-c (High Density Lipoproteins - "good" cholesterol) that increased by 3.4% in the cumin group. In the control group, the cholesterol levels only decreased slightly by 4%, the LDL-c actually increased by 2% and the HDL-c decreased by 0.3%.
This great news means that you can add a tasty spice to your food and reap the benefits of its cholesterol reducing components. Even if you are not overweight or diabetic, keeping your cholesterol under control is very important for your health.
If you know anyone who could benefit from this information, don't hesitate to share this article. Being healthy, losing excess weight and eating tasty food are not mutually exclusive!
(Photo Credit: Getty)