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Sat Oct 01 17:34:00 SAST 2016

Dieters, eating more could help take off weight

©The Daily Telegraph | 29 January, 2016 00:36
Researchers say it is all to do with flavonoids, naturally occurring compounds in fruits and vegetables, which have been linked to weight loss. File photo
Image by: ©Gts /shutterstock.com

It might seem like the last thing dieters should do, but eating more might be a great way to lose weight.

Scientists at Harvard University found that upping the daily intake of fruit prevents weight gain, even when the number of calories eaten is unchanged.

Researchers say it is all to do with flavonoids, naturally occurring compounds in fruits and vegetables, which have been linked to weight loss.

"Our results suggest that eating fruits high in flavonoids, and vegetables, such as apples, pears and berries, aid weight control."

To test which flavonoids were most effective, researchers followed 125000 people between the ages of 27 and 65 for 25 years, monitoring their diet, lifestyle habits and weight.

The results showed that increasing levels of anthocyanins, flavonoid polymers and flavonols - mainly in blueberries, apples, strawberries, pears and oranges - had the biggest effect.

A five-fruit-a-day regime could achieve weight loss of 500g over four years.

Most people eat less than one cup of fruit, and less than two cups of vegetables, a day.

The authors say people battling to hit their five-a-day target would benefit from choosing the fruits with the highest flavonoid levels.

The study was adjusted for a range of dietary and lifestyle factors that could influence results, such as smoking and physical activity.

Results were consistent in men, women, and for different ages.

Paul Kroon, research leader and head of the Polyphenols and Health Group's Institute of Food Research, said: "There are many reports and meta-analyses of data from randomised controlled trials showing that eating flavonoid-rich foods, such as cocoa, dark chocolate, and tea) cause beneficial changes in markers of cardiovascular disease risk, such as blood pressure and endothelial function.

"There is rising evidence that eating anthocyanins found in coloured berries and currants reduces plasma cholesterol."

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