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Results Show Weight Loss with 3 Muffins per Day Study

Tim Boyer's picture
PUFA fats beat MUFA fats for weight loss

Do you think that muffins are definitely not for dieting? Here’s what some scientists found that makes weight loss possible in a 3 muffins per day study that used this specific oil.


Believe it or not, your typical store-bought muffin contains more calories than a jelly donut. As such, muffins are typically one of dieting’s biggest no-no’s when it comes to starting your day by downing a muffin with that morning cup of coffee.

Here’s some low-cal coffee choices that can help put a dent in that calorie count.

However, it doesn’t have to be that way. According to a news release from the University of Maryland Medical Center, scientists were looking for a way to substitute animal-based saturated fats for plant-based unsaturated fats in muffins to help patients with metabolic syndrome. Their aim was to try two types of plant based saturated fats--MUFAs and PUFAs.

The MUFAs and the PUFAs

MUFA stands for monounsaturated fatty acid. Examples of foods that are rich sources of MUFA type non-animal fats include:

• Olives and olive oil

• Avocadoes

• Coconut oil

• Tree nuts such as almonds and almond butter

• Dark chocolate.

Unlike the monounsaturated fats in MUFAs that contain one unsaturated fat, PUFAs are polyunsaturated meaning that they contain many unsaturated fats. PUFAs can be found in:

• Seaweed snacks—here’s a special type for fighting belly fat.

• Pine nuts—a natural appetite suppressant for fighting belly fat.

• Sunflower seeds—another appetite suppressing seed, but here’s a better one.

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• Sunflower oil—here’s 10 facts about vegetable oils that includes sunflower oil.

According to Dr. Oz, MUFAs and PUFAs work well in different ways when it comes to fighting body fat:

“MUFAs fight off the inflammation, the irritation in your body. The PUFAs relax your fat. And when your fat is comfortable, you can burn more of it off. It doesn’t feel like that it has to stick to your hips and your waist,” stated Dr. Oz in a past episode of The Dr. Oz Show.

However, the press release tells us that scientists found that PUFAs do more for obese patients than MUFAs do.

3 Muffins a Day Study

According to the release, in the study, 39 adult men and women with metabolic syndrome were randomly selected for either a low calorie MUFA-enriched or PUFA-enriched diet for six months, aimed at reducing their calorie consumption by 300 per day. The relative percentage of carbohydrates, fat and protein were kept constant, but the saturated fat content was reduced in both groups from 30 percent to 25 percent of total fat intake and replaced with either MUFA or PUFA. To achieve their daily quota of MUFA or PUFA, the study participants were fed three 3.5 ounce, 275 calorie MUFA (high-oleic sunflower oil) or PUFA (safflower oil) enriched muffins daily.

What the researchers found after the six-month study ended was that PUFA was better than MUFA evidenced by patients in the PUFA group losing more weight, achieving lower blood pressure and triglyceride levels, and increased dilation of blood vessels in comparison to the MUFA group.

Furthermore, 25% of PUFA participants converted from metabolic syndrome to metabolically normal vs.10% of MUFA test subjects.

"The results surprised us, because, based on other studies elsewhere, we hypothesized that MUFA would be superior to PUFA for weight loss and improvement in heart-related parameters," says lead author Michael Miller, MD, professor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and preventive cardiologist at the University of Maryland Medical Center. "The muffins were from a USDA recipe developed specifically for this study, and both varieties tasted really good."

While further study is needed, the researchers concluded from their data that PUFA may be the unsaturated fat of choice to reduce cardiometabolic risk in patients with metabolic syndrome.

One PUFA You May Want to Avoid

Before rushing to the kitchen to make some PUFA-powered muffins to help take those pounds off, you may want to pay attention to the PUFA source you are using. According to one study, here’s a PUFA cooking oil that actually causes weight gain and is said to be worse than sugar!


University of Maryland Medical Center press release “The Muffin Study: Mono- vs. polyunsaturated fats in patients with metabolic syndrome

Poly is more effective than monounsaturated fat for dietary management in the metabolic syndrome: The muffin studyJournal of Clinical Lipidology 2016

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