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A Lazy Dieter's Guide to Consuming Functional Mushrooms

A Lazy Dieter's Guide to Consuming Functional Mushrooms cover
Written by Real Mushrooms - Updated: June 18, 2024

A Lazy Dieter's Guide to Consuming Functional Mushrooms

You’re taking the no-pressure approach to healthy eating and losing weight, and we understand why. There’s a mind-numbing amount of dieting information out there.

Let’s zero in on functional mushrooms whose low carb, high fiber qualities make them ideal for any lazy dieter.

“I encourage people to eat mushrooms because I look at mushrooms as the missing dietary link. A mushroom isn’t an animal or a plant. It sits right in the middle. Mushrooms have 20–40% protein, are low in fat, high in fiber, and have no starch.” - Jeff Chilton — Founder of Nammex.

Beyond the macronutrient content, mushrooms are also packed with active compounds such as terpenoids and beta-glucans. These immune modulators work from the inside out to support the immune and digestive systems, which can affect your health and weight.

With these benefits in mind, we want to delve into:

  • Adding mushroom supplement powders to quick and delicious beverages
  • Creating tasty meals with functional mushrooms
  • Applying mushroom benefits to your healthy diet and weight loss journey

Using Reishi to Support Weight Loss

Reishi is a functional mushroom best known for helping support the immune system. Additionally, it is useful as a mushroom supplement to ease occasional stress and anxiety, and as a sleep aid.

Functional mushroom - reishi
Reishi is a functional mushroom that can help support weight loss by supporting quality sleep.

The Link Between Reishi’s Sleep Benefits and Weight Loss

The duration and quality of your sleep affect your hunger levels, fat retention, and weight. Reishi’s positive impact on sleep quality and stress relief is a great addition to any diet.

Recent research shows that:

  • Accumulating abdominal fat may be the body’s way of dealing with increased stress hormone levels caused by a chronic lack of sleep. [1]
  • Sleeping for 5.5 hours or fewer while on caloric restriction leads to 55% less fat loss and 60% more lean body mass loss compared to sleeping for over 8 hours. [2]
  • Going to bed early and rising early strongly correlates to lower weight, higher physical activity, and better lifestyle habits, such as avoiding late-night snacking.[3]
  • Having a better sleep quality has been shown to increase your likelihood of losing weight by 33%. [4]
  • Restricting sleep increases levels of ghrelin (a hunger hormone) and decreases levels of leptin, which balances your energy and inhibits the hunger response.[5]

Basically, if you want your effortless dieting to pay off, you must get the quality of your sleep and habits in check. This is where the adaptogenic effects of reishi come in.

Easy Ways to Add Reishi Mushrooms to Your Diet

Reishi is a tough, bitter mushroom. So, while it won’t star in your mushroom sauces, you can consume it as a supplement in powder or capsule form.

The easiest way to consume it as a powder is to make reishi tea, but here are some delicious, dieter-friendly recipes that make use of reishi for its health-supporting properties:

Lazy Breakfast Option With Reishi

Chia seed pudding recipe with reishi powder
Chia seed pudding with functional mushroom extract powder is an ideal breakfast option for anyone wanting a simple but delicious weight-loss-supporting meal.

Start the day right with a mushroom chia seed pudding that includes reishi and cordyceps powders. Thanks to the full-fat coconut milk and fiber from the chia seeds, mushroom chia seed pudding is a filling, yet effortless, breakfast.

Just mix the milk, flavorings, chia, cacao, and mushroom powder together, and put it in the fridge overnight. In the morning, it’ll be ready to go.

Click here for the mushroom chia seed pudding recipe.

A Sweet Snack Using Reishi

Our recipe for homemade bounty bars uses healthful ingredients, including reishi powder, to make regulating your weight a little easier and a little more delicious.

Up your snack game with these healthy reishi bounty bars which mesh together the flavors of chocolate and coconut with functional mushroom health benefits. All you have to do is melt some chocolate, mix the ingredients together, and let your freezer do the rest.

Click here for the healthy reishi bounty bar recipe.

Incorporate reishi into your evening dessert with these delicious paleo brownies, which take only 20 minutes to bake. The coconut flour has a lower carb content than wheat flour, and the healthy fats in cacao butter will fill you up.

Click here for the healthy reishi bounty bar recipe.

Beverages With Reishi Benefits

Nourishing reishi elixir
Our nourishing elixir recipe features reishi mushroom powder and 4 other functional mushroom powders that can help support functional weight loss.

Warm up your days with our nourishing mushroom elixir. It’s packed with five functional mushrooms, namely:

  • Reishi to ease stress and boost positive mood
  • Lion’s mane to support brain function
  • Chaga supports balanced blood sugar and cholesterol and helps regulate inflammation
  • Cordyceps to boost energy
  • Turkey tail to support blood sugar balance, gut health, and liver health

The full-fat coconut milk and cacao make it deliciously rich, while the dates and honey sweetly counter the reishi’s bitterness.

Maca adds iron and iodine to the drink, both essential nutrients for regulating energy production and nutrient use in the body.

Click here for the nourishing mushroom elixir recipe.

A Nightime Beverage for Better Sleep

A nighttime golden milk recipe with reishi helps to relax you and set the start for a restful sleep. Good sleep is integral to a functional weight loss plan.

As part of your night routine, mix our Organic Reishi Mushroom Powder with cinnamon, turmeric, plant milk, and honey for a relaxing golden milk.

Click here for our evening golden milk recipe.

Expert Tip: If your reishi isn’t bitter, it’s not real reishi. You need to find an organic supply with real mushrooms in it.

Obviously, sweeteners like honey can counter this bitterness. However, chocolate or coffee will meld beautifully with the naturally earthy and bitter flavor profile of reishi.

At the end of the day, if you simply don’t like the taste of reishi powder, you can always take your reishi supplement in capsule form!

Reishi supplement
Prefer to simplify the process of getting your daily dose of reishi even further? Real Mushrooms have organic reishi capsules for that!
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Using Shiitake and Maitake to Support Weight Loss

Functional mushrooms - shiitake maitake
Shiitake (top) and maitake (bottom) are delicious culinary mushrooms that can really help to manage your diet and weight long-term.

When it comes to flavor, shiitake and maitake mushrooms are probably the tastiest options in the functional mushroom roster. It’s fitting that these mushrooms are the most important when it comes to managing your diet and weight long-term.

The Link Between Maitake, Shiitake, and Weight Loss

Eritadenine [6] is a chemical inhibitor found in shiitake mushrooms that lower the level of fats in the body.

On top of that, beta-glucans, the dietary fibers that form the cell walls of mushrooms, positively impact the body [6] by:

  • Delaying nutrient absorption
  • Increasing satiety
  • Reducing food intake
  • Down-regulating fat levels in the body

Besides having the above benefits of beta-glucans, maitake mushroom extracts can modulate blood sugar levels, insulin sensitivity, and the composition of gut bacteria.[7] These three factors need to be balanced in order for your body to maintain a healthy weight.

Deliciously Simple Ways to Add Maitake and Shiitake to Your Diet

Shiitake mushrooms are rich, buttery, and meaty when cooked. They lend their flavor well to savory recipes.

Maitake mushrooms are more delicate than shiitake mushrooms but have a stronger savory flavor profile than porcini mushrooms.

You can pan-fry them, air-fry them, add them to soups, and even fold them into your omelet.

Delicious Lunch Using Shiitake and Maitake

Our recipe for Keto quesadillas features both shiitake and maitake mushrooms. These mushrooms are high in fiber and low in calories. They are a very satisfying and delicious means to support healthy diets for weight loss or weight maintenance.

The mushroom and onion quesadillas above are a quick, yet filling breakfast or lunch option, especially if you’re restricting calories.

It won’t take you long to prep the five ingredients: shiitake and maitake mushrooms, onion, spinach, tortillas, and cheese. We love that the cheese and yogurt are calorie dense, while mushrooms are high in fiber—together, keeping you full for longer.

Click here for our keto mushroom quesadilla recipe.

Gluten-Free Dinner With Shiitake Functional Mushrooms

Our recipe for mushroom ramen is Paleo and gluten-free and is one of our most popular recipes. It makes for a delicious entry into your weight-maintenance recipe collection.

Our gluten-free mushroom ramen or a simple stir-fry takes advantage of the savory umami flavor of the mushrooms.

Make these recipes your own by using vegetables that are in season or ones that you already have in your fridge.

Click here for our paleo mushroom ramen recipe.

Beverages With a Complex of Functional Mushrooms

Functional mushroom hot chocolate mix
Real Mushrooms’ premade hot chocolate mix is low in calories and sugar and features extract powder of 5 functional mushrooms.

If, in the genuine spirit of lazy dieting, you can’t be bothered to cook, just add a teaspoon of our 5 Defenders Organic Mushroom Complex to your tea, coffee, or hot chocolate to get the health benefits of mushrooms daily.

You can also use the 5 Defenders mushroom powder to prepare a pre or post-workout Cashew Mocha Mint Smoothie.

Finally, we have a slew of mushroom coffee recipes for you to try.

Functional mushroom coffee recipes
Use one of our 11 mushroom coffee recipes for inspiration about how to incorporate functional mushroom powders into your day.

Check out our free recipe book for even more recipes.

Expert Tip: Fresh shiitake and maitake may be hard to find. Rehydrating them from dry with a hot water soak works just as well for most recipes.

The functional mushroom supplement blend like the 5 Defenders complex includes three additional mushroom supplements: chaga, reishi, and turkey tail.

As we mentioned earlier, these mushrooms support your immune system and help regulate your blood sugar and energy levels, all of which are vital when eating healthily and losing weight.

Using Cordyceps to Support Weight Loss

Functional mushrooms - Cordyceps
Cordyceps are functional mushrooms that can help support your energy levels without the crash of caffeine.

What about exercise and endurance?

For an extra kick of energy to get you moving every day and increase your endurance during exercise, cordyceps mushrooms are your go-to.

The Link Between Cordyceps’ Energy Boost and Weight Loss

When your body is breaking down food efficiently (into energy for your muscles and storing less fat, both notable effects of supplementing cordyceps), you may notice a reduction in your weight.

A weight loss fitness plan often means that you’re working out harder and more often. Cordyceps’ effect on endurance and post-exercise recovery means you can maintain your calorie-burning activities with less downtime.

One animal study showed that after supplementing with Cordyceps militaris [8]:

  • Fatigue markers decreased
  • Liver and muscle glycogen levels increased
  • The concentration of antioxidant enzymes increased

For an active body, these findings may mean more energy for the muscles and less post-exercise fatigue, which is usually caused by the release of free radicals and inflammation. Therefore, your body bounces back to action faster, burning calories and fat.

Another study examining performance in healthy elderly people found that supplementing with cordyceps increased their metabolic and ventilatory thresholds.[9]

This means more oxygen delivered to the muscles and a longer exercise period before experiencing muscle fatigue from lactic acid buildup.

"Helped me with my workouts, I noticed I wasn't running out of breath as quickly and I felt like I had more endurance," Daniel

Simple Ways to Bring Cordyceps Into Your Diet

Cordyceps mushrooms are pretty scarce as culinary mushrooms. Your best bet is to source a high-quality cordyceps mushroom supplement with a USDA organic certification, such as our Organic Cordyceps Mushroom Extract Powder.

Energizing Cordyceps Mushroom Drinks

Cordyceps mushroom coffee recipes
Add Cordyceps extracts to your drink of choice or use one of our 5 delicious recipes that make use of cordyceps extract powder.

Blend one teaspoon of Organic Cordyceps Mushroom Extract Powder with your cold brew, milk, nut butter, and protein powder for an energizing coffee drink.

Here are 5 recipes that make use of cordyceps extract powder.

Cordyceps Snacks & Treats

Cloud bread recipe
If you’re trying to maintain a healthy weight and haven’t discovered the low-calorie, low-sugar wonder that is cloud bread... let us introduce you!

Enjoy cordyceps extract powder in simple, healthy treats, like our keto cloud bread which only has three base ingredients: eggs, cream cheese, and cream of tartar. You can add or leave out the toppings according to your taste preferences.

Click here for the keto cloud bread recipe.

This recipe for paleo biscuits features energy-supporting cordyceps extract powder. It’s a delicious alternative to traditional biscuits for anyone wanting to keep their diet gluten-free and/or low-carb.

You can batch-cook these delicious paleo superfood butter biscuits so that you never leave your healthy snacking to chance.

Click here for the paleo superfood butter biscuit recipe.

Expert Tip: Those on blood thinners or with blood clotting issues should be cautious when taking cordyceps.

It’s best to consult your physician naturopath doctor before taking any functional mushrooms, including cordyceps. This will ensure you get the best out of your mushroom supplements and that they are being used safely.

shop cordyceps mushrooms

Summary of Functional Mushroom Effects on Diet and Weight

Here’s a table summarizing all the benefits you can expect when you incorporate healthy mushrooms into your routine. Basically, a mushroom cheatsheet:

Table: Functional Mushrooms for Weight Loss

Functional Mushrooms benefits - table
The above table summarizes some key benefits of 4 types of functional mushrooms and how they can support weight loss.

Support a Healthy Diet With Functional Mushrooms

Each of these functional mushrooms tackles a specific aspect of regulating your weight, whether it be boosting energy or regulating sugars and fats.

It’s crucial to remember that all functional mushrooms contain a significant amount of beta-glucans and other compounds that balance out the immune system, which handles 40% of our body’s ability to regulate weight.[10]

Getting the immune system to work better can allow the body to build healthy fat and let go of the weight that’s keeping you at a plateau. Lastly, your diet is only as good as what it’s made of.

Expert tip: If you’re kicking off your healthy weight-loss diet in the spring, consider doing a functional mushroom-supported spring cleanse using these instructions & recipes.

Make sure your mushrooms and supplements are organic and have no grain fillers to dilute their benefits. If you’re ready to boost your diet and health, start with our 5 Defenders Organic Mushroom Complex which offers the benefits of five mushrooms in one supplement.

shop real mushrooms
Functional mushrooms extract supplement
Mushroom supplements provide multiple unique health benefits, including weight loss support. Just make sure they are organic, grain-free, and feature real mushrooms, not mycelium!


  1. Chaput, JP., Tremblay, A. (2012).Insufficient Sleep as a Contributor to Weight Gain: An Update. Curr Obes Rep 1, 245–256.
  2. Chaput, J. P., & Tremblay, A. (2012). Adequate sleep to improve the treatment of obesity. CMAJ : Canadian Medical Association journal = journal de l'Association medicale canadienne, 184(18), 1975–1976.
  3. Olds, T. S., Maher, C. A., & Matricciani, L. (2011). Sleep duration or bedtime? Exploring the relationship between sleep habits and weight status and activity patterns. Sleep, 34(10), 1299–1307.
  4. Thomson, C. A., Morrow, K. L., Flatt, S. W., Wertheim, B. C., Perfect, M. M., Ravia, J. J., Sherwood, N. E., Karanja, N., & Rock, C. L. (2012). Relationship between sleep quality and quantity and weight loss in women participating in a weight-loss intervention trial. Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.), 20(7), 1419–1425.
  5. Spiegel, K., Tasali, E., Penev, P., & Van Cauter, E. (2004). Brief communication: Sleep curtailment in healthy young men is associated with decreased leptin levels, elevated ghrelin levels, and increased hunger and appetite. Annals of internal medicine, 141(11), 846–850.
  6. Handayani, D., Chen, J., Meyer, B. J., & Huang, X. F. (2011). Dietary Shiitake Mushroom (Lentinus edodes) Prevents Fat Deposition and Lowers Triglyceride in Rats Fed a High-Fat Diet. Journal of obesity, 2011, 258051.
  7. Chun Xiao, Chunwei Jiao, Yizhen Xie, Linhui Ye, Qianqing Li, Qingping Wu. Grifola frondosa GF5000 improves insulin resistance by modulation of the composition of gut microbiota in diabetic rats. Journal of Functional Foods, Volume 77, 2021, 104313,
  8. Xu Y. F. (2016). Effect of Polysaccharide from Cordyceps militaris (Ascomycetes) on Physical Fatigue Induced by Forced Swimming. International journal of medicinal mushrooms, 18(12), 1083–1092.
  9. Chen, S., Li, Z., Krochmal, R., Abrazado, M., Kim, W., & Cooper, C. B. (2010). Effect of Cs-4 (Cordyceps sinensis) on exercise performance in healthy older subjects: a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.), 16(5), 585–590.
  10. Lynch, L. (2016, September 13). iNKT Cells Induce FGF21 for Thermogenesis and Are Required for Maximal Weight Loss in GLP1 Therapy. Cell Metabolism.

Real Mushrooms is the premier provider of organic mushroom extracts, verified for the beneficial medicinal compounds like beta-glucans and free from starchy fillers like grains. With over 40 years of mushroom growing experience, Real Mushrooms prides itself on providing a transparent source of functional mushrooms that you can trust. All the information provided on our blog has been reviewed by our science and medical team.

Disclaimer: The information or products mentioned in this article are provided as information resources only, and are not to be used or relied on to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information does not create any patient-doctor relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. The information is intended for health care professionals only. The statements made in this article have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Any products mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information in this article is intended for educational purposes. The information is not intended to replace medical advice offered by licensed medical physicians. Please consult your doctor or health practitioner for any medical advice.