Losing weight all boils down to the amount of calories you consume. Basically, if you eat more calories than your body can burn, you will add some weight, but if you eat fewer calories than your body needs, you will lose some weight. Fact!
So, why do people worry about whether eggplants or aubergines are fattening or not? Probably because they are unaware of the amount of calories they provide. It can also be that they think these vegetables cause weight gain naturally for no reason. Of course, I have heard many people say don’t eat this or that because it cause weight gain or weight loss. This is just a classic approach by people that can be misleading. Losing or gaining weight all depends on the amount of calories you consume.
So, how much calories are in eggplants?
According to the USDA, a 100 gram serving of raw eggplants provide just 25 calories. One peeled eggplant that weigh 458 grams will provide just 114 calories (1).
Considering the fact that eggplants are low in calories, we can confidently say that “they can help you in achieving your weight loss goals”. If you compare the amount of calories an eggplant provides with that of french fries or fried potatoes (312 calories per 100 gram serving), you will see that it is very low in calories.
What other benefits do eggplants have in weight loss?
Fiber! Of course, eggplants are rich in fiber. If you consume one peeled eggplant, you will most likely satisfy more than 50% of your daily need for fiber. That’s a significant addition to your body.
Fiber helps in weight loss by helping you reduce the total amount of food you eat, thus, you enjoy a reduced calorie intake. It achieves this by increasing your feeling of satiety, as it makes you feel full easily. Because fiber is a little bit hard to break down, it stays in your stomach for longer periods – this makes you feel satiated.
But satiety alone cannot make you lose weight. What actually makes you lose weight is the reduction in the amount of foods you eat. If you are always full, I bet you won’t take those in-between-meals and high-fat snacks, that might be responsible for most of your weight gain.
Apart from fiber, eggplants contain very little amounts of fat, just 0.2 g per 100 gram serving. So, you need not to worry when consuming these wonderful vegetables.
Eggplants and saponins
Apart from fiber, eggplants do contain some beneficial compounds known as saponins. These saponins have been found to decrease the absorption of fats in your food, which are the main culprit of weight gain. While a single gram of carbohydrate or protein provides just 4 calories, just 1 gram of fat provides up to 9 calories. That’s more than double the amount carbs and protein contain.
So, if saponins can help reduce the absorption of fats in foods, it means it can aid your weight loss journey. But is there any research to back this claim? While there are still no human studies that have proven this effect, many animals studies have found this compound to actually work.
A study conducted in 2014, found oral administration of some laboratory animals to reduce adipose tissue accumulation, and inhibited lipid absorption in vivo (2). The research concluded with “saponins showed strong anti-obesity activity”.
There are many products out there in the market that promise reduced fat absorption from foods. While some of them may work, others may not. Moreover, these kind of products usually shows side effects such as palpitation. Due to this reason, it is better you go for natural alternatives. Natural compounds that contain the same active ingredient as these products in the market.