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The link between fruits, vegetables and body weight

Research 1 Jul 2016
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Eating fruit and vegetables that contain high levels of flavonoids, such as apples, pears, and berries, may be associated with maintaining weight, suggests findings from a study published in The BMJ.

Flavonoids are a component of plant foods with a particularly high concentration in some fruit and vegetables. They work as a disease-fighting antioxidant and are known to have several health benefits. A team of researchers examined the association between eating fruit and vegetables high in flavonoids and weight change in a long-ranging study.

More than 124,000 men and women in the United States self-reported their weight, lifestyle habits and any recently diagnosed diseases via a questionnaire every two years between 1986 and 2011. They also self-reported their diet every four years.

The findings revealed that increased consumption of fruits and vegetables high in flavonoids was linked to less weight gain in participants – both male and females – over the 24 year period.

Jean Hailes Dietitian Anna Waldron says it's important to note that this study is the first of its kind and at this stage it doesn't change the nutrition recommendations to the general population.

"Fruit and vegetables should be an integral part of everyday food choices," says Ms Waldron. "Eating a wide variety of fruit and vegetables will help maximise the intake of flavonoids as well as other vital nutrients."

Read more about the healthy eating guidelines.