Omega-3 fatty acids can help dieters feel full longer and eat less, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Navarra, University of Iceland and University College Cork and published in the journal Appetite. “Omega-3s could improve the patients’ compliance to changes in dietary habits required for weight loss and weight loss maintenance,” the researchers wrote.
Researchers placed 232 overweight or obese volunteers onto a lower calorie, balanced diet that was supplemented with either a low or high dose of Omega-3s for eight weeks. The average age of participants was 31, and their average body mass index was 28.3 kg per square metre. The low Omega-3 dose was 260 milligrams per day, while participants in the high-dose group were given 1,300 milligrams per day. During the last two weeks of the experiments, researchers assessed the appetites of participants and found that those in the high dose group tended to feel hungry less frequently than those in the low dose group, when measurements were taken either, immediately after or two hours following a meal. The researchers also found that participants with higher blood levels of Omega-3s and a healthier Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratio were also less likely to report being hungry after eating.
“The most important finding of this study is that subjects who eat a dinner rich in long chain Omega-3 fatty acids feel less hunger and more full directly after and two hours after than their counterparts fed with the low long chain Omega-3 fatty acids diet,” the researchers wrote. “This observation indicates that long chain Omega-3 fatty acids modulate hunger signals.” Omega-3 fatty acids are found in high concentrations in certain fish oils, flaxseeds and other seeds and nuts and certain varieties of algae. Omega-6 fatty, acids are found in high concentrations in vegetable oils. Recent research is suggested that Omega-3s are essential for the healthy development of the central nervous system, and the higher ratio of Omega3s to omega-6s is important for cardiovascular health.