Eating potatoes helps you lose weight faster than calorie-counting

Researchers say the foods fill dieters up quicker so they have fewer cravings for snacks and junk food and end up eating less.

Fresh fruit, vegetables, lean meat, fish, eggs and pulses have the same effect. They typically have fewer calories per mouthful than processed foods as they are full of water, protein and fibre.

Study leader Dr Nicola Buckland, from Leeds University, said: “A lot of people give up on diets because they feel hungry between meals.

“Our research shows eating low energy density foods can help overcome that problem.”

The study found 37 overweight women who ate food with a low energy density for 14 weeks lost an average of 12lbs 13oz.

But 41 other women on an NHS programme restricting their calories to 1,400 per day lost just 7lbs 4oz in the same time period.

Separate lab tests on both groups showed volunteers ate 1,057 fewer calories for dinner when they had a breakfast and lunch with less energy-dense foods.

They also reported feeling less hungry and had fewer cravings.

Dr Buckland explained: “Someone would have to eat around 250g of carrots to consume 100 calories or 20g of chocolate.

“But the greater volume of carrots is likely to make you much fuller.”

The findings were welcomed by Slimming World’s Dr Jacquie Lavin.

She said: “We might think we need to be overly strict when we’re losing weight by reducing portion sizes right down, but this approach ultimately leaves us feeling more hungry."

5-a-day blow

A poll of 2,000 mums and dads with children aged up to ten also found two in five had ditched trying to get greens into their diets at all.

One in 20 admitted they did not think it important for kids to get their five-a-day.

The research was commissioned by home appliance giant Beko to mark the launch of its “Eat Like A Pro” healthy recipe campaign with FC Barcelona.

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