While many of us would love to lose a few pounds, it could be more important to simply maintain our current weight and not add to it.
It turns out that certain foods may help with weight control, specifically apples, pears, berries and peppers, reports HealthDay News of research from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston.
The secret ingredient in each of these foods is flavonoids. There are some 6,000 flavonoids that are found in plants and provide the rich diversity of color pigments. Flavonoids are best known for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory health benefits.
The study: Led by Harvard research associate Monica Bertoia, the team followed more than 124,000 men and women of various ages, all of whom were enrolled in three large-scale U.S. studies. They specifically looked at how much of seven types of flavonoids the participants ate over the 24-year follow-up period from 1986 to 2011.
The results: The greatest link between flavonoids and weight maintenance were with the flavonoids known as flavanols, flavan-3-ols, anthocyanins and flavonoid polymers, which are found in abundance in apples, pears, berries and peppers.
And while the link is modest, it is considered important. For example, eating one-quarter cup of strawberries daily was linked to a quarter-pound less weight gain over four years. Preventing even small amounts of weight gain can lower your risk for life-shortening diseases, such as type 2 diabetes.
While most of the men and women did gain weight over the years, those whose diets were rich in flavonoid produce gained less weight. In addition, there were some who actually lost weight due to this.
Why do apples, pears, berries and peppers seem to help with weight control? Bertoia admits it is not clear, and there isn't a cause-and-effect relationship; however, other studies show that eating produce that is rich in flavonoids helps decrease total calorie intake. It could also be that flavonoids decrease fat absorption from foods and increase energy (calorie) expenditure.
The study findings were published in the BMJ.
--From the Editors at Netscape