Eating a lot of food is probably the last thing anyone on a diet should be doing, but a new study finds that doing so could actually make you lose weight. Just make sure what you’re eating is fruits.
Scientists at Harvard University have discovered that increasing your daily intake of fruits could help prevents weight gain, even if you consume the same amount of calories as you previously did. Like vegetables, the earthly foods contain nutrients called flavonoids that are linked to weight loss.
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In determining and testing which flavonoids are most effective, the researchers followed nearly 125,000 participants aged between 27 and 65 years-old, monitoring their diet, lifestyle habits, and weight and adjusting for a range of dietary and lifestyle factors such as smoking status and physical activity. Results were consistent across all participants.
Their figures showed that high levels of anthocyanins, flavonoid polymers and flavonols — mainly found in blueberries, strawberries, apples, pears and oranges — had the greatest overall effect.
Every extra portion of fruits per day reduced the average weight of participants by 100 grams over a four-year period. In other words, eating five fruits per day can cut weight by around 1.2 pounds (0.5 kg) over the same period of time.
The study also suggests that not all calories should be treated the same and that certain types of food may actually prevent fat from being deposited in the body. And as we’ve talked about endlessly on FoodTribute, losing weight or preventing weight gain can significantly reduce the risk of diabetes, cancer, hypertension and cardiovascular disease.
Monica Bertoia of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health stated:
“Our results suggest that choosing high flavonoid fruits and vegetables, such as apples, pears, berries, and peppers, may help with weight control. These data may help to refine previous dietary recommendations for the prevention of obesity and its potential consequences. Losing even small amounts of weight can improve health.”
Not everyone is on-board with the new findings, however, as some British experts believe the results could be skewed by the fact that individuals who ate more fruit were generally healthier and more educated, making it harder to pinpoint the exact cause of their weight loss.
Naveed Sattar, Professor of Metabolic Medicine at the University of Glasgow, argued:
“Consider the type of person who would eats lots of colorful fruit – you can imagine they may be more health conscious, better educated and lead healthy lifestyles in general. All this study says is that folk who tend to eat more fruit or veg, tend to put on less weight but whether it’s the foods they choose or their other behaviours, or both, that account for less weight, one cannot tell from this work.”
Nevertheless, the Harvard researchers say that their study, which was published in the British Medical Journal, “may help to refine previous dietary recommendations for the prevention of obesity and its potential consequences.”