Obesity is reaching global epidemic proportions as a result of factors such as high-calorie diets and lack of physical exercise. Obesity is now considered to be a medical condition, which not only contributes to the risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease and cancer, but also negatively affects longevity and quality of life. To combat this epidemic, anti-obesogenic approaches are required that are safe, widely available and inexpensive. Several plants and mushrooms that are consumed in traditional Chinese medicine or as nutraceuticals contain antioxidants, fibre and other phytochemicals, and have anti-obesogenic and antidiabetic effects through the modulation of diverse cellular and physiological pathways. These effects include appetite reduction, modulation of lipid absorption and metabolism, enhancement of insulin sensitivity, thermogenesis and changes in the gut microbiota. In this Review, we describe the molecular mechanisms that underlie the anti-obesogenic and antidiabetic effects of these plants and mushrooms, and propose that combining these food items with existing anti-obesogenic approaches might help to reduce obesity and its complications.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/david-ojcius/316/