Want to lose weight but dread starting a new diet or intense exercise regime? A handful of berries and can potentially cut 1000 calories from your weekly diet.
We have all been there – it’s 3 p.m. and you’re craving something sweet. It’s tempting to grab piece of chocolate or sneak a bit of cake but recent research from Loughborough University has found that opting for fresh berries instead of sweets can cut your weekly calorie intake by a staggering 1000 calories.
During a four month study conducted from 2014 of October through 2015 of January, participants were given either a handful of blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and raspberries for a confectionery sweet for a snack. Both the sweets and berries contained the same caloric content. An hour later, the participants were advised to eat a pasta dinner until they felt satisfied.
There are a number of potential health benefits of consuming berries, but this is the first time that consuming them as a snack has been shown to reduce how much people eat during the next meal of the day
Compared to the participants that ate a confectionery snack, those who ate berries consumed, on average, 134 calories less of the pasta dinner. From these results, an afternoon snack of berries instead of sweets could cut your weekly calorie intake by 938 calories! (7(days) x 134(calories) = 938)
Dr Lewis James, from the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Science at Loughborough University, carried out the research.
‘There are a number of potential health benefits of consuming berries, but this is the first time that consuming them as a snack has been shown to reduce how much people eat during the next meal of the day,’ Dr James said. ‘The cumulative effect of the reduced calories could help people lose the extra pounds without them having to make an effort, or even noticing.’
A pound of body fat is equal to 3500 calories, so replacing your snacks with berries could lead to pound a month of body fat lost a month, and up to a stone in a year.
replacing your snacks with berries could lead to pound a month of body fat lost a month, and up to a stone in a year
But what is it about berries that triggers the feeling of being full? Dr James suggests two possibilities.
First, the longer you chew food, it can increase how full it makes you feel. According to the study, it took participants an average of four minutes to consume the berries while the confectionery sweets took under a minute.
Second, in order to the receive the same amount of calories from the confectionery sweet as the berries, a greater amount of berries had to be consumed among participants. The larger intake may have accounted for the fullness effect.
So you don’t fancy berries that much? There are still other healthy snack swap opportunities. Dr James says any kind of fruit snack or vegetable snack could have the same fulness effect as well as diary-based snacks like yoghurt.
any kind of fruit or vegetable snack could have the same fulness effect
‘I don’t think there is a one size fits all,’ Dr James said about snacking. ‘But if you get people to perhaps replace some of the unhealthy components of their diet with more healthy components, even if you’re not going to see weight loss, you are probably going to see improved health, and that is important too.
Berry lovers and those who suffer from mid-afternoon hunger pangs can collectively rejoice – if you get your daily fix of berries, you may be one step closer to a healthier you!
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