16 May 2016

The foods to eat for a healthy weight

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Have researchers unlocked the secret ingredient to a healthier weight?

Eating fruit and vegetables that contain high levels of flavonoids, such as apples, pears, and berries, may be associated with less weight gain, suggests findings from a recent study.

Dietary flavonoids are natural compounds found in fruits and vegetables. These have been linked to weight loss, but most studies have looked at a particular flavonoid found in green tea, and have mostly been limited to small samples.

So a team of researchers examined the association between the dietary intake of seven flavonoid subclasses and weight change in a large study of 124,086 men and women based across the US over 24 years.

Findings revealed that increased consumption of flavonoid subclasses was associated with less weight gain.

Blueberries and strawberries were the main source of anthocyanins, and flavan-3-ols and their polymers were mainly derived from tea and apples. Orange juice and oranges were the main sources of flavanone and flavones, and tea and onions were the main sources of flavonols.

This is the first study to examine the associations between consumption of seven flavonoid subclasses and weight gain in a large sample size.

It is an observational study so no definite conclusions can be made, and several limitations exist due to the design of the study. Nevertheless, the authors say that the findings "may help to refine previous dietary recommendations for the prevention of obesity and its potential consequences."

They add that the results can provide guidance on which fruits and vegetables to choose for preventing weight gain.

Furthermore, they add that people may be able to maximize the health benefits of eating fruit and vegetables by choosing those with high levels of flavonoids, such as apples, pears, and berries.

BMJ 2016; 352 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i17 published 28 January 2016
BMJ Public Release 27 Jan 2016