In my real-life work today, I came across an announcement of a clinical trial Ė sponsored by The Mushroom Council Ė investigating the use of mushrooms instead of meat as part of a weight-reducing diet. Johns Hopkins will be performing this study.
I love mushrooms of all types. They taste wonderful, and have lots of vitamins. And itís a no-brainer that if a person eats the same volume of mushrooms instead of meat, fewer calories will be consumed. One interesting aspect of the study is that the researchers will be looking at measures of satiety, or how satisfied people are with the mushroom-based meals, and for how long.
It goes along with the conventional wisdom that higher fiber intake leads to greater satiety, but for me, at least, itís protein that gives me the staying power.
Call me cynical, but after reading the protocol several times, Iím starting to think that this study is little more than a market research project. One of the main goals is to develop and taste-test a variety of mushroom-based meat substitutes, and use the most acceptable ones in the experiment.
And then what? If this study shows what they want it to show, will The Mushroom Council then be able to make health claims about eating mushrooms? With the weight of Johns Hopkinsí international reputation behind them, people might listen. But, letís take it a step further. If health claims are made, would that lead to tax write-offs for the rest of us? Will health insurance cover the cost of mushrooms?
Youíre right Ė I need to get back to work, but this clinical trial has me thinking about the relationship between private sponsorship and the decisions we make about our health on both the individual and policy levels.