Choosing the right foods when trying to lose weight can be confusing. What about shiitake mushrooms, are they good for weight loss or fattening?
Shiitake mushrooms are a type of edible fungus that is mainly popular in the East but available in areas all over the world. You can eat shiitake mushrooms on their own, whole or dried, but they can also serve as an ingredient in a variety of recipes.
Like most edible mushrooms, many people will benefit in terms of weight loss by eating more shiitake mushrooms. Find out just how good shiitake mushrooms are and how you want to eat them for more weight loss.
Micronutrients in shiitake mushrooms
The first thing to look at is the amount of micronutrients in shiitake mushrooms.
Micronutrients are a group of nutrients your body absolutely needs to survive and thrive. Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals. These are involved in basically every aspect of your health, including weight loss.
100 grams of raw shiitake mushrooms provides you with approximately (1):
- Niacin: 19% of the DV (Daily Value)
- Vitamin B5: 15% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 15% of the DV
- Riboflavin: 13% of the DV
- Manganese: 12% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 11% of the DV
- Potassium: 9% of the DV
- Selenium: 8% of the DV
- Copper: 7% of the DV
- Zinc: 7% of the DV
- Magnesium: 5% of the DV
And some other vitamins and minerals in less significant amounts. The amount of other vitamins and minerals in mushrooms is good compared to many other whole foods.
If you have trouble reaching your daily vitamin and mineral goals mushrooms can help you a nice amount with a few of these goals.
Mushrooms also contain certain kinds of antioxidants, substances that help your body deal with oxidative damage. It is not entirely clear if and to what extent antioxidants help weight loss.
Fiber in shiitake mushrooms for weight loss
Another very important factor for weight loss is the amount of fiber in your food.
Raw shiitake mushrooms contain around 2.5 grams of fiber per 100 grams.
That’s a good amount of fiber per 100 grams compared to many whole foods.
Fiber has multiple benefits for weight loss. First of all, it feeds your microbiome, the microbes that live in your intestines. The health of your microbiome influences your body’s health and weight. Feeding it well is usually not a bad idea.
Fiber also helps you feel less hungry without adding a lot of calories to your diet. Hunger and cravings can be a big pitfall for people trying to lose weight, so avoiding this is a big plus.
With the amount of fiber in shiitake mushrooms you can reduce the time you spend craving for food a good amount.
Do shiitake mushrooms help you lose weight?
Before knowing whether or not shiitake mushrooms deserve a spot in your weight loss diet you still need a final piece of the puzzle. The number of calories in shiitake mushrooms.
Raw shiitake mushrooms contain 34 calories per 100 grams. 27.2 of these calories come from the carbohydrates (6.8 g per 100 grams of which 2.5 g fiber).
There are vegetables and other mushrooms lower in calories than shiitake mushrooms but shiitake mushrooms are still generally low in calories. Fruits, legumes, meats, and everything in between are generally higher in calories than shiitake mushrooms.
Shiitake mushrooms are a very low-calorie food that can help you feel fuller with its great fiber content. This can help you avoid higher-calorie foods. For most people that, and thus eating more shiitake mushrooms, is enough to help them lose weight.
If you don’t like shiitake mushrooms you don’t have to go out of your way to force it into your daily eating habits, shiitake mushrooms are not a unique weight loss food. There are other foods that are just as good, or even better for weight loss.
If you are gaining weight while eating shiitake mushrooms, the first place to look at is the rest of your diet and other lifestyle habits. Shiitake mushrooms are generally not fattening.
One small study investigated the effect of giving shiitake mushroom powder to rats on a high-fat diet for 6 weeks. They divided the group of rats into four groups with zero, low, medium, and high dosage of the powder (2).
The study found a dose-dependent increase in weight loss. In short, the more shiitake mushroom powder the rats got, the more weight they lost.
Studies with humans would be even better but together with the weight loss friendly nutritional values of shiitake mushrooms it does look like shiitake mushrooms can be helpful when trying to lose weight.
How to eat shiitake mushrooms for weight loss
There is a wide variety of ways to eat shiitake mushrooms. Some are better than others for weight loss.
The best way to eat shiitake mushrooms for weight loss would be just raw or boiled. You can also add shiitake mushrooms to these popular healthy recipes:
Baking and putting shiitake mushrooms on the grill is also acceptable when it comes to losing weight. In this case you preferably want to use a healthy cooking oil.
Shiitake mushrooms are also often available in their dried form. Drying them does increase the amount of vitamins, minerals, and fiber per 100 grams but also the number of calories. Dried shiitake mushrooms can contain up to 296 calories per 100 grams (3).
Water is also very helpful for losing weight. It helps you feel fuller and increases the number of calories you burn.
So when trying to lose weight you generally want to stick to whole shiitake mushrooms.