Are Mushrooms Good For Weight Loss? Types & Tips 2024

by

Reviewed by Chelsea Rae Bourgeois, RDN
are mushrooms good for weight loss
Mushrooms are nutrient-dense, but can they aid weight loss? Photo: New Africa/Shutterstock

Each article is created without any external influence. When you use our provided links to buy products, we receive a commission as an affiliate. To understand how we generate revenue, please read our advertising disclaimer.

Losing weight looks easy on paper, but in reality, lots of people struggle to shed excess pounds. Weight loss supplements, high-intensity exercise, and vegetarian weight loss diets are all viable options for people hoping to reach a healthy weight. However, when it comes to balanced eating, many people don’t know where to start.

We all know that a well-balanced diet full of fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, and lean protein is key for ensuring long-term health. Plant foods are typically high in dietary fiber and packed with essential nutrients, but some are more effective for weight loss than others. For example, mushrooms are thought to have anti-obesity properties that may aid your weight loss journey.

So, are mushrooms good for weight loss? Read on to learn how mushrooms can help you slim down and how to include more of them in your diet.

Are Mushrooms Good For Dieting?

Mushrooms are a low-calorie food that contains a generous amount of protein and very little fat. Substituting meat and other high-fat foods for mushrooms can significantly reduce your daily calorie intake and, therefore, help to reduce body weight.

Are Mushrooms Good For Weight Loss?

One of the leading causes of weight gain is a high-fat diet. The popularity of fast food and processed snacks has increased the waistlines of people throughout the world, and, as a result, global obesity rates have almost tripled since 1975.[1] Therefore, the key to losing weight is to reduce our intake of calories from fat and increase our intake of healthy, nutritious foods like mushrooms.

Mushrooms are low in fat, carbohydrates, and calories and, as such, are a good food to eat if you’re trying to lose weight. Eating mushrooms and other low-calorie foods can cut your overall calorie intake and help you achieve a calorie deficit. Maintaining a calorie deficit, in which your body burns more calories than it takes in, is critical for shedding excess weight.

When your body enters a calorie deficit, it is forced to use its fat stores[2] as a source of energy. If you can maintain a weight loss diet, your body will gradually burn through excess fat, and your body weight will drop.

In theory, weight loss looks easy — simply burn more calories than you eat, and your body fat will slowly melt away. Unfortunately, the reality is much trickier, as calorie restriction can increase hunger pangs and make you more likely to reach for carbs and fat-laden snacks. One way you can fight the urge to snack is by making your meals more satisfying.

Mushrooms may be low in carbs and virtually fat-free, but they are rich in high-quality protein.[3] Protein is considered the most satiating macronutrient,[4] so eating protein-rich foods can keep you feeling full and satisfied between meals. This means that eating mushrooms can help to curb your appetite between meals and help you stick to your diet.

The Nutritional Value Of Mushrooms 

The nutritional benefits of mushrooms are well known, and edible fungi have been valued as a health food for thousands of years.[5] Mushrooms contain a wide variety of essential nutrients and are thought to help prevent medical conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and cancer. They also have antibacterial properties and can help to boost immune function, reducing your risk of infection.

Mushrooms also contain a healthy dose of dietary fiber. Fiber is very important for gut health, and increasing your daily fiber intake can help protect against colorectal cancer.[6] Fiber, like protein, keeps you feeling full for longer and can help prevent snacking between meals.

One cup of raw mushrooms[7] contains 15.4 calories, 2.28 grams of carbohydrates, 2.16 grams of protein, 0.24 grams of fat, and 0.7 grams of dietary fiber. Mushrooms also contain a wide array of essential micronutrients, including iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, selenium, niacin, folate, choline, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and vitamin D. 

Which Mushrooms Are Good For Weight Loss?

All edible mushrooms have a low-calorie count, negligible fat content, and a wide range of health benefits. Swapping meat and high-carb foods for mushrooms is a reliable way to reduce your caloric intake and help you shed excess body fat. However, some mushroom varieties have specific anti-obesity properties that are thought to aid weight loss more than others.

Shiitake Mushrooms

Shiitake Mushrooms
Shiitake mushrooms have anti-obesity properties. Photo: xiaoxiao9119/Shutterstock

One mushroom that may help you lose weight is the shiitake mushroom. Shiitake mushrooms are widely used in Chinese and Japanese dishes, where they are enjoyed for their earthy, meaty flavor. Shiitake mushrooms might also help reduce body fat more than other types of mushrooms, as studies have found[8] that including them in your diet may reduce fat storage.

Maitake Mushrooms

Maitake mushrooms are also popular in Chinese and Japanese cuisine and, like shiitake mushrooms, are thought to have weight loss benefits. Maitake mushrooms have been found to reduce weight gain[9] and fat accumulation in obese mice and may also help to reduce cholesterol,[10] regulate blood sugar, and improve insulin resistance. Therefore, eating these mushrooms may benefit both your waistline and your overall health.

Reishi Mushrooms

Reishi Mushrooms
Reishi mushrooms have powerful medicinal properties. Photo: Light Stock/Shutterstock

Reishi mushrooms are often used in traditional Chinese medicine and are thought to have anti-obesity properties. Studies have found[11] that mice fed with an extract of reishi mushrooms had reduced inflammation, blood glucose levels, and weight gain compared to other mice. These health benefits may be due to positive changes in the gut microbiota caused by eating reishi mushrooms.

Reishi mushrooms are edible, but they have a bitter taste and a tough texture. If you want to try medicinal mushrooms for weight loss, look for supplements and diet pills that list mushroom extract as an active ingredient.

How Do You Prepare And Eat Mushrooms For Weight Loss 

Mushrooms can be a valuable addition to any healthy eating plan thanks to their rich nutritional profile and extremely low-fat content. However, mushrooms can be a polarizing food – some people love them, while others balk at the texture.

Fortunately, mushrooms are a versatile food that can be enjoyed in various dishes. If the mouthfeel of mushrooms makes you wince, try blending them into a creamy soup. Many cream of mushroom soup recipes include onion and garlic, two tasty superfoods with numerous potential health benefits.[12]

Mushrooms are also frequently used as a meat substitute, thanks to their high protein content and satisfying texture. Many meat-free brands use mushrooms to make burgers, sausages, and other faux meat foods. These products can help you easily get more mushrooms into your diet, though they typically contain more calories than fresh mushrooms.

If you happen to enjoy mushrooms, garlic mushrooms are easy to prepare and delicious on toast. Simply pan-fry sliced, fresh mushrooms with a little olive oil and garlic and season them with salt, pepper, and parsley. You can also substitute mushrooms for meat in bolognese, stews, pasta dishes, or chili to reduce the overall calorie content of your meal.

If you really can’t stand mushrooms but don’t want to miss out on the health benefits, you may consider mushroom supplements. Dietary supplements containing mushroom extract have many of the same health benefits as whole mushrooms and can be found online.

Safety Tips For Mushrooms

Mushrooms are good for dieting and can be a healthy food to eat to lose weight. However, not all mushrooms are edible; in fact, many are poisonous, and some are deadly.[13]

Many dangerous mushroom varieties, like the aptly named Death Cap, look innocent to the untrained eye. Therefore, you should only eat mushrooms purchased from reliable shops and supermarkets and resist the urge to forage your own fungi.

Conclusion

Mushrooms have been prized for their nutritional and medicinal properties by cultures across the globe for many years. Their high nutrient content has been found to regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels, benefit the immune system, and protect the human body against a variety of diseases.

Mushrooms are also high in protein, low in carbohydrates and fat, and contain very few calories. As a result, people often eat mushrooms as part of their clean eating plan for weight loss. Including mushrooms in your daily diet may help reduce your body mass index and safeguard your long-term health.

If you have questions about diet and weight loss, seek guidance from your registered dietitian nutritionist.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do mushrooms burn belly fat?

Using mushrooms as a meat substitute can help you lose weight, as they have a lower calorie count and fat content than meat. As you lose weight, your fat stores will shrink, helping to reduce fat in all body parts.

Is it OK to eat mushrooms every day?

Mushrooms are a highly nutritious, low-calorie food that can be eaten every day. Daily consumption of mushrooms has a wide range of health benefits and may help you lose weight.

Are mushrooms high in calories?

Mushrooms have a very low-calorie content. A one-cup serving of mushrooms contains only 15.4 calories, making them a sensible choice for people on a weight loss journey.

Is mushroom a fat or protein?

Mushrooms contain very little fat but are high in protein. They are a good choice for people trying to lose weight as they are a satisfying, low-calorie food.

+ 13 Sources

EHproject has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We work mostly with peer-reviewed studies to ensure accurate information. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

  1. World (2021). Obesity and overweight. [online] Who.int. Available at: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/obesity-and-overweight.
  2. Recchia, F., Leung, C.K., Yu, A.P., Leung, W., Yu, D.J., Yee, D., Montero, D., Lee, C.H., Stephen Heung‐Sang Wong and Siu, P.M. (2023). Dose–response effects of exercise and caloric restriction on visceral adiposity in overweight and obese adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. British Journal of Sports Medicine, [online] 57(16), pp.1035–1041. doi:https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2022-106304.
  3. Ayimbila, F. and Suttipun Keawsompong (2023). Nutritional Quality and Biological Application of Mushroom Protein as a Novel Protein Alternative. Current Nutrition Reports, [online] 12(2), pp.290–307. doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/s13668-023-00468-x.
  4. Morell, P. and Fiszman, S. (2017). Revisiting the role of protein-induced satiation and satiety. Food Hydrocolloids, [online] 68, pp.199–210. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodhyd.2016.08.003.
  5. María Elena Valverde, Talía Hernández-Pérez and Paredes‐López, O. (2015). Edible Mushrooms: Improving Human Health and Promoting Quality Life. International Journal of Microbiology, [online] 2015, pp.1–14. doi:https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/376387.
  6. Masrul Masrul and Ricvan Dana Nindrea (2019). Dietary Fibre Protective against Colorectal Cancer Patients in Asia: A Meta-Analysis. Open Access Macedonian Journal of Medical Sciences, [online] 7(10), pp.1723–1727. doi:https://doi.org/10.3889/oamjms.2019.265.
  7. Usda.gov. (2024). FoodData Central. [online] Available at: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1103362/nutrients.
  8. Handayani, D., Meyer, B.J., Chen, J., Simon, Mitchell, T.W. and Huang, X. (2014). A High-Dose Shiitake Mushroom Increases Hepatic Accumulation of Triacylglycerol in Rats Fed a High-Fat Diet: Underlying Mechanism. Nutrients, [online] 6(2), pp.650–662. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/nu6020650.
  9. Aranaz, P., Peña, A., Vettorazzi, A., María José Fabra, Martínez‐Abad, A., López‐Rubio, A., Pera, J., Parladé, J., Massimo Castellari, MilagroF.I. and González-Navarro, C.J. (2021). Grifola frondosa (Maitake) Extract Reduces Fat Accumulation and Improves Health Span in C. elegans through the DAF-16/FOXO and SKN-1/NRF2 Signalling Pathways. Nutrients, [online] 13(11), pp.3968–3968. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13113968.
  10. Aoki, H., Motoki Hanayama, Mori, K. and Sato, R. (2018). Grifola frondosa (Maitake) extract activates PPARδ and improves glucose intolerance in high-fat diet-induced obese mice. Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, [online] 82(9), pp.1550–1559. doi:https://doi.org/10.1080/09168451.2018.1480348.
  11. Chang, C.-J., Lin, C.-F., Lu, C., Martel, J., Ko, Y., Ojcius, D.M., Tseng, S., Wu, T.-R., Yi-Yuan Margaret Chen, John Ding‐E Young and Lai, H. (2015). Ganoderma lucidum reduces obesity in mice by modulating the composition of the gut microbiota. Nature Communications, [online] 6(1). doi:https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms8489.
  12. García-García, J., Gracián, C., Baños, A., Guillamón, E., Júlio Gálvez, Rodriguez‐Nogales, A. and J. Fonollá (2023). Beneficial Effects of Daily Consumption of Garlic and Onion Extract Concentrate on Infectious Respiratory Diseases in Elderly Resident Volunteers. Nutrients, [online] 15(10), pp.2308–2308. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/nu15102308.
  13. Wennig, R., Eyer, F., Schaper, A., Zilker, T. and Hilke Andresen‐Streichert (2020). Mushroom Poisoning. Deutsches Arzteblatt International. [online] doi:https://doi.org/10.3238/arztebl.2020.0701.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kate is an experienced science writer with a Bachelor's degree in Biology and a background in medical research. Her mission is to help scientists and healthcare providers communicate the value of their findings, products and services… See More