Experts share best foods to eat to lose weight and maintain it

Eating certain types of food could help you shed the pounds if you’re struggling to lose weight, a study has found.

The reasons for why some people struggle to lose weight more than others are complex and include a variety of environmental and social factors. But new research has found a key factor which explains why some people find it harder to maintain a healthy weight than others due to having a ‘low satiety response.’

People with a ‘low satiety response’ find it harder to recognise appetite signals and satisfy their appetite, experts found. They’re also more likely to reach for snacks and take longer to feel full after eating, which often leads to them consuming more calories.

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However, the study, led by Dr Nicola Buckland and a team of researchers at Leeds University, found that eating certain types of foods over others can help people with a low satiety response feel more in control of their appetite – and protect them from the risk of over-consuming calories, making it easier to lose weight. These foods, which are lower in energy density or calories per gram, include everyday staples such as fresh fruit and veg, lean meat and poultry, eggs, pasta, rice and fat free dairy products.

Two groups of women with a mixture of low and high satiety responses took part in the study, with one following a calorie counting diet and the other following Slimming World’s Food Optimising plan, which is based on healthy, low energy dense foods, eaten freely, which tend to be lower in fats and sugar, and higher in protein, complex carbohydrates and fibre,

Researchers found that when people with a low satiety response ate meals containing low energy dense foods they were more in control of their appetite and their food choices than when they were given high energy dense meals.

GPs, nurses and other health professionals often refer patients to Slimming World through the NHS who they feel would benefit from their weight loss management programme.

Professor James Stubbs from the Leeds research team said: “People who have a low response feel less satisfied after eating. They’re more likely to crave high fat foods, to snack between meals and generally are less able to stick to their plans around food choices – therefore they’re more likely to consume more calories than people with a high satiety response and find it harder to manage their weight.

“They’re also less likely to be able to lose weight because of how hungry they feel and how difficult they find such a weight loss regime to sustain. What this research looked at for the first time is how, for those people who have a low satiety response, choosing foods low in energy density (those foods naturally low in calories per gram) could help them feel fuller, limit their calorie intake and so help their weight loss.”

Dr Jacquie Lavin, Head of Research and Scientific Affairs at Slimming World who contributed to the study, said: “The findings suggest that encouraging slimmers to base their meals on generous amounts of low energy dense foods is likely to have a protective effect, helping them manage their appetite better, and thereby protecting them from consuming excess calories.”

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