Skinny Daily Post


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.

3 thoughts on “Mushrooms and clinical trials

  1. jonquil says:

    Now we’re getting somewhere. If people realized how corrupt science is becoming, they’d be much less trusting, and less freaked out by all the health disinformation that ends up as “news,” especially in women’s magazines and local broadcasts. To be seen by the decision makers who spend money on groceries, of course.

    If the food industry wants to push a certain trend, they buy the “studies,” create some press releases and other strategic puffery for the media, disseminate the stuff as widely as possible, and finally hit the consumer again with advertising on the same topic.

    And once the food people buy a significant chuck of advertising, the media outlets don’t want to offend them, so even the pretense of an “iron curtain” between advertising and editorial is gradually eroded. It’s just saturation marketing by other means.

    Just imagine how intense this whole deal gets for the big food industry players, like beef and grain, people who have ties to the petrochemical industry (fertilizers), Big Pharma (animal drugs), and the Feds (BLM, Agriculture, Commerce, etc.). And let’s not forget that lots of oil people, especially in Texas, are cattlemen, too. We’re talking billions of dollars at stake here. Pun intended.

    Hmmmm. I wonder if anyone on the Mushroom Council is an alum of Johns Hopkins, and in a position to make a substantial private donation? Kind of like Syriana, but with mushrooms instead of oil!

  2. london slimmer says:

    Here in Britain we have a widely available mushroom-based meat substitute called Quorn (Macdonalds even does a ‘Quornburger’ – though I DON’T recommend eating that!!). I don’t like some of the meat-lookalike products made with Quorn, such as the sausages and burgers, but I am a fan of Quorn mince (looks just like minced beef). It’s pretty high in protein and B vitamins and I don’t think the mince has anything too funky in it (though beware of the sausages, which have trans fats). In recipes, it’s indistinguishable from minced beef and I do find it fairly satiating – and, like you, I like my protein and am a bit fan of rump steak. Perhaps you should try it.

  3. Debbi says:

    You’re right to be skeptical, and it’s not just food. Pharmaceutical companies pay for lots of studies proving their drug is better than yours. But that’s another soapbox.

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