Several people have asked for my opinion on the use of ehuru seeds/ calabash nutmeg for weight loss. To me, the idea was very appealing. My hopes went over the roof because if this worked, it would be a game-changer.
Weight loss is a troubling topic for many people. And people are in search of an easier and less painful solution that delivers results. So, this claim gave me hope for an African solution to weight loss. I thought that calabash nutmeg would have fat-burning activities. Or it would just make you stay full for longer thereby preventing overeating. I even hoped that calabash nutmeg would make a fat burner tea or a carbohydrate blocker. So, what did I find?
Calabash nutmeg for weight loss
The first and most important question is: Does it work? To be frank, the evidence is not that convincing.
I took my time searching for evidence linking calabash nutmeg and weight loss. The scientific evidence I needed exists as bits and pieces of inconclusive information. The few studies that mentioned calabash nutmeg and weight loss were vague. To make it worse, they linked to more articles that mentioned nothing about calabash nutmeg for weight loss. I became frustrated, but I had a mission because I wanted it to work.
A study that came closer
In one study administering aqueous extracts of calabash nutmeg on Winstar rats produced interesting results:
- Intake of calabash nutmeg was associated with reduced total blood cholesterol.
- It also reduced total triglyceride content and LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol).
- However, it increased total HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol).
- The extracts were also able to control the increase in body weight in a fatty diet.
According to this study, calabash nutmeg is a heart-healthy spice. This is because it lowers levels of bad cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is bad for your cardiovascular health.
Also, the study recorded an increase in body weight even with calabash nutmeg intake. However, the increase was lower than that observed in a normal high fat diet without calabash nutmeg extract. While this may sound good, it didn’t completely convince me. Because the evidence is very weak and it may be coincidental. Now if calabash nutmeg was a weight loss superfood we would expect no to very little weight gain.
These are all interesting facts but still, there is nothing about calabash nutmegs weight loss properties.
Other important facts on using calabash nutmeg for weight loss
Calabash nutmeg/ Xylopia aethiopica has a high fibre content. Dietary fibre is important for your digestive health. And it can help someone lose and manage their weight. This is because dietary fibre helps keep you full for longer. But, the problem is that calabash nutmeg is a spice. And spices and condiments are added to food sparingly. So just how much calabash nutmeg do you need to eat to stay satiated for longer? I think this is not a very valid argument.
Calabash nutmeg also has a very low calorific value due to low carbohydrate content (8.96% total mass). And this means that it is a good spice for a weight loss diet. Why? Because it does not add a significant amount of calories to your diet. But still, this does not show that calabash nutmeg is a superfood for weight management. So, unfortunately, there is no support for using calabash nutmeg for weight loss.
I have also looked at the many bioactive compounds that are present in calabash nutmeg. One good thing, I know is that these chemicals have a protective effect on your body. This is because most of them like phenolic compounds and monoterpenoids have strong antioxidant properties. These help in fighting the oxidative stress, damage of organs and inflammation common in overweight and obese people. And therefore these compounds help alleviate your risks of developing metabolic problems. A regular intake of calabash nutmeg in your diet can help replenish these nutrients in your body.
A sliver of hope dashed down!
According to one review, calabash nutmeg is very important in treating obesity and diabetes mellitus. This is attributed to the presence of phenolic compounds. These compounds have been linked with weight loss and diabetes treatment properties. The review shows evidence for the antidiabetic activities of the phenolic compounds, but there is nothing for obesity. I tried tracking the articles they linked to but the effort was fruitless. There was still no conclusive evidence supporting the use of calabash nutmeg for weight loss.
This is one of the most important benefits of calabash nutmeg. According to one study, calabash nutmeg has powerful antidepressant properties. And this is linked to the presence of monoterpenoids in the spice. Whilst, there is no contribution to weight loss directly, from this property of calabash nutmeg. This property may help in preventing weight gain in depressed and stressed people.
Stress and depression occur when there is limited/ impaired production of dopamine and cortisol. But the most important part is that during depression some people find solace in food. As a result, they overeat. The food is usually highly processed, tastes good and is unhealthy. This results in weight gain and increases in your body fat content. Therefore calabash nutmeg may help fight weight loss by reducing depression.
Inhibitory effects on alpha-amylase
Another study shows that calabash nutmeg has inhibitory effects on the enzyme alpha-amylase. This limits the amount of starch that is digested and absorbed in the body. On a reasonable scale, this would work because it would reduce the absorbed calories. In other words, this can help control weight gain. Or in other cases help limit the excess calories that can be absorbed into the body. This is one of the points that would make sense if calabash nutmeg is to work for weight loss. However, the question remains: At what scale? How much calabash nutmeg do we need? And believe me, I would like an answer to these questions too!
Calabash nutmeg not for weight loss?
Well, as you can see, we are grasping at straws in a raging river here. The evidence to support the claim of using calabash nutmeg for weight loss is just not there. This means, according to my analysis calabash nutmeg is no weight loss superfood.
However, it can still be a part of your healthy weight loss routine and diet. This is because it is rich in many bioactive compounds. These have protective effects on the body and this will help alleviate risks of chronic diseases. These compounds have many health benefits, many of which are solutions to problems associated with overweight and obese people.
Let me just give you a friendly warning reader. There is nothing that comes for free. It’s always a trade. Most people who create these wellness products grasp at straws for sales. They make wild non-existent claims with weak evidence to validate their products. Sometimes they make wild claims about their products. They know that there are desperate people who can do anything for quick results. This claim about calabash nutmeg for weight loss was probably such a claim.
So, on a personal level, I don’t believe that calabash nutmeg/ ehuru seeds are a weight loss super spice.
Lose weight the right way to avoid these problems. Create a calorie deficit, fast intermittently, exercise and then persist!
Conclusion on calabash nutmeg for weight loss
To be frank I am still not convinced that calabash nutmeg is some kind of weight loss super spice. Because the evidence is just non-existent. I have tried to hunt for information about constituent compounds individually. I was hoping maybe some of them have weight loss/ or fat burning activities. But I couldn’t find any conclusive information. Unless, calabash nutmeg leaves, roots and fruits contain one unknown compound that burns fat, I think that we are grasping at straws here! What do you think? Leave a comment.