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Fungal ‘meat’ diet leads to weight loss: Study

The study also revealed further heart health benefits from consuming mycoprotein, the unique ingredient in all Quorn products.

Quorn is made from the soil mould Fusarium venenatum strain PTA-2684. Image by Anne Jea (CC BY-SA 4.0).
Quorn is made from the soil mould Fusarium venenatum strain PTA-2684. Image by Anne Jea (CC BY-SA 4.0).

People wishing to lose weight should consider swapping red meat for Quorn protein. This not only aids overall weight reduction, a scientific study finds that the mycoprotein improves heart health and reduce waist circumference.

This finding comes from Northumbria University and the focus is with reducing cholesterol. In a trail, beneficial effects became apparent in just two weeks.

Quorn is a popular mycoprotein-based meat substitute derived from the Fusarium venenatum fungus. The product is generally vegetarian, as the fungus culture is dried and mixed with egg albumen (however, a vegan option is available that uses potato starch as the binding agent). In the U.K.,  the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food approved mycoprotein for sale as a food in 1985.

The fungus is grown in vats using glucose syrup as its food. To begin the process, a fermentation vat is filled with the growth medium and then inoculated with the fungal spores.

The experiment involved 20 healthy male adults who were randomly assigned to consume 240 grams per day of red and processed meat or an equivalent amount of Quorn over two 14-day periods.

With this new Quorn study, those who switched from red meat to Quorn saw a significant 12 percent drop in ‘bad’ low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and a 7 percent fall in total cholesterol, compared to those who ate similar products made from red and processed meat.

The significance relates to high LDL cholesterol being associated with a quarter (115) of the 460 heart and circulatory disease deaths recorded in the U.K. every day.

 In addition, those who switched to Quorn also reduced their waist circumference by close to 1cm (0.95cm) on average over the 14 days. Waist circumference is a good measure of abdominal fat and a key marker of cardiovascular health. Furthermore, a larger waist typically indicates that there’s excess fat around and inside organs and when this happens in the liver, for example, it pushes out too much fat and sugar into the blood, increasing the risk of coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

The study also revealed further heart health benefits from consuming mycoprotein, the unique ingredient in all Quorn products.

The researchers identified a clinically meaningful trend toward lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure in the mycoprotein group, potentially contributing to improved cardiovascular health.

The research additional indicates that Quorn mycoprotein significantly reduces the presence of cancer biomarkers and improves gut health.

The research appears in the European Journal of Nutrition, titled “The effects of substituting red and processed meat for mycoprotein on biomarkers of cardiovascular risk in healthy volunteers: an analysis of secondary endpoints from Mycomeat.”

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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