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Feb 27, 2019 Diet & Nutrition Samantha Mainland 509 views

Have you heard of “The Sardine Diet”? No, neither had I. Whilst it recommends eating a tin of sardines every single day, I am not going to recommend that. Don’t get me wrong, sardines are pretty great, but come on, sardines every single day? Pass.

In saying that, I do believe sardines are generally underrated and overlooked by too many. They shouldn’t be.

Sardines are fantastic for several reasons; they’re inexpensive, a great source of protein, an equally great source of fats, a great dairy-free source of calcium (if you eat the bones), and they are packed full of selenium, B12 and phosphorus. Some have called them ‘nature’s multivitamin’ and it definitely earns the title ‘super food’, but does it deserve to be called a ‘weight loss’ food?

Sardines in weight loss has only been directly studied in one study, using postpartum women. This 2018 study[1] was successful in showing that an addition of a 125g tin of sardines per week, along with carbohydrate restrictions, significantly reduced body weight compared to the control group (who ate as per their country’s National Nutritional Guidelines). Those who ate the sardines lost more weight than those women that didn’t. This shows some great potential, however more direct studies, with a more singular dietary adjustment would be better.

Theoretically, sardines should aid weight loss via their high protein content (aiding satiety and altering additional food choices), and via their high omega 3 content (shown[2] to reduce waist circumference). Unfortunately, there are not many direct studies to back this up. Yet.

New research from 2018[3] is once again confirming the positive effect fish oil (as a group) has on obesity and metabolic syndrome, and further studies are continuing to show the positive power of the omega 3 fatty acids for depression[4], cholesterol[5], period pain[6], cardiovascular disease and heart health[7]. So, we are very aware that sardines have many health benefits and I’d even say they would be great for weight loss, however, I’d recommend enjoying sardines as part of a dietary change, not as a magic game changer.

A tin of sardines (or fresh sardines if you can), once a week sounds like a great start to boost your health, for many reasons.

A word for the wise, avoid sardines if you are allergic to fish or have a vulnerability towards gout.


References

[1] Castro MBT, Cunha DB, Araujo MC, Bezerra IN, Adegboye ARA, Kac G, et al. High protein diet promotes body weight loss among Brazilian postpartum women. Maternal & child nutrition. 2018:e12746.

[2] Du S, Jin J, Fang W, Su Q. Does Fish Oil Have an Anti-Obesity Effect in Overweight/Obese Adults? A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. PLoS One. 2015;10(11):e0142652. Published 2015 Nov 16. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0142652

[3] Patti AM, Al-Rasadi K, Giglio RV, et al. Natural approaches in metabolic syndrome management. Arch Med Sci. 2018;14(2):422-441.

[4] Sanchez-Villegas A, Alvarez-Perez J, Toledo E, Salas-Salvado J, Ortega-Azorin C, Zomeno MD, et al. Seafood Consumption, Omega-3 Fatty Acids Intake, and Life-Time Prevalence of Depression in the PREDIMED-Plus Trial. Nutrients. 2018;10(12).

[5] Sparkes C, Gibson R, Sinclair A, Else PL, Meyer BJ. Effect of Low Dose Docosahexaenoic Acid-Rich Fish Oil on Plasma Lipids and Lipoproteins in Pre-Menopausal Women: A Dose(-)Response Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial. Nutrients. 2018;10(10).

[6] Sadeghi N, Paknezhad F, Rashidi Nooshabadi M, Kavianpour M, Jafari Rad S, Khadem Haghighian H. Vitamin E and fish oil, separately or in combination, on treatment of primary dysmenorrhea: a double-blind, randomized clinical trial. Gynecological endocrinology : the official journal of the International Society of Gynecological Endocrinology. 2018;34(9):804-8.

[7] Sparkes C, Gibson R, Sinclair A, Else PL, Meyer BJ. Effect of Low Dose Docosahexaenoic Acid-Rich Fish Oil on Plasma Lipids and Lipoproteins in Pre-Menopausal Women: A Dose(-)Response Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial. Nutrients. 2018;10(10).

Samantha Mainland

About The Author - Samantha Mainland

Samantha is a highly educated Naturopath having graduated from both Southern Cross University with a Bachelor of Naturopathy, and University of Tasmania with a Bachelor of Medicine Management with Professional Honours in Complementary Medicine.

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