by Sudha Bhat on  January 31, 2016 at 9:35 PM Health In Focus
 Eating Fruits and Vegetables Linked to Weight Loss
A trip to the supermarket could sometimes be tedious, but one looks at the fresh produce section sticked with a wide array of colorful fruits and vegetables, is definitely a mood booster. If the food chosen matters in determining a healthy life, then make sure you make the right choice by picking the right type of food!

Fruits and vegetables are considered as "natural super foods" and are loaded with vitamins and antioxidants and provide immense benefits that help in weight loss. Most of us are aware that fruits and vegetables should be an integral part of a healthy, balanced diet and can help to fill us up when we're trying to lose weight.

A new study published in BMJ indicates that eating fruits and vegetables that contain high levels of flavonoids such as blueberries, apples, pears and onions could help prevent weight gain and also curb obesity problems in the long run.

Flavonoids are a diverse group of phytonutrients found in most fruits and vegetables, which are responsible for the rich vibrant colors of the fruits and vegetables. They not only serve as powerful antioxidants, but are also known for their anti-inflammatory and immune system benefits. They are known to decrease levels of leptin in the body, which is an appetite-suppressing hormone.

For the study, a total of 124,086 men and women from the US participated, who were then subdivided into three large groups - the first two groups consisted of women-only with average ages of 36 and 48 while the third group featured men with an average age of 47.

The participants were required to self-report their weight, lifestyle habits and any newly diagnosed diseases through questionnaires every two years and their diet every four years between 1986 and 2011.

After a follow-up of 24 years, the results demonstrated that eating more fruits and vegetables containing the naturally occurring compound, flavonoid, was found to cause a small but potentially significant reduction in weight gain.

Prof Aedin Cassidy, of UEA's Norwich Medical School, said: "There's a lot of interest in flavonoids with cardiovascular health and diabetes. We think the different subclasses [of flavonoids] have different effects.

"A lot of people, when they go on a diet, have to do something radical. This is basically saying that something which is good for you already may also be good for weight maintenance, particularly in middle age when weight gain is associated with increased chance of getting heart disease and strokes.

Analysis of dietary intake of flavonoids and weight change was noted. Results were adjusted for a range of dietary and lifestyle factors and were found to be consistent across men and women, as well as different ages.

The greatest impact was identified for anthocyanins, which are found in large amounts in blueberries, strawberries, grapes, cherries and flavonoid polymers found mainly in tea and apples. It was seen that men on an average gained 1 kg for over a four-year period while women gained a couple of kgs, however the participants with higher consumption of certain flavonoids did not report any increase in weight. Studies conducted previously had demonstrated that flavonoid subclasses could decrease energy intake, decrease fat absorption or increase glucose uptake in muscle.

However, some British experts are of the opinion that the results could be biased by the fact that participants who ate more fruits and vegetables were already in good shape and healthy to begin with and more educated.

Naveed Sattar, who is a professor of metabolic medicine at the University of Glasgow, commented, "In truth, individuals who eat more high-flavonoid foods have other habits which lead them to put on less weight - or other effects of high-flavonoid foods may be responsible, such as fiber content in fruits and vegetables. Hence, one must be very careful about recommending high-flavonoid foods as beneficial to health".

Thus, the results of the study show that even small amount of flavonoids could help in maintaining a healthy weight and the authors expect that the findings would aid in refining dietary recommendations for weight loss and obesity prevention in the long run.

Source: Medindia

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