Big portion sizes could actually be better than smaller ones, new research has revealed.

 

The study by Leeds University academics funded by Slimming World revealed that people who followed a diet of low energy density food such as vegetables, lean meat and rice were more likely to feel full than those who tried to restrict their calorie intake.

It said this was the 'first evidence that low energy density meals reduce hunger'.

Indeed, as a result, eating big meals with such foods meant such people consumed fewer calories than those trying to restrict calorie intake overall. This is because the so-called 'low energy' density foods contain more water, protein, and fibre, and as a result reduce hunger pangs.

An example would be someone eating 250g of carrots consumes 100 calories. Only 20g of chocolate results in the same calorie intake.

 

So what could you offer for low energy dishes?

 

  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Lean meat
  • Fish
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Potatoes
  • Eggs
  • Pulses
  • Beans

 

Psychologist Dr Nicola Buckland, the lead author of the study, said: "The findings show that a commercial programme based on low energy density foods helped people to feel more in control of their food choices, and that more than likely made the process of losing weight more effective.

"A lot of people give up on diets because they feel hungry between meals. Our research shows that eating low energy density foods can help overcome that problem.

"Gram for gram, low energy dense foods contain fewer calories than high energy density foods, so people are able to eat a larger volume of food for the same (or lower) calorie intake, leading them to feel much fuller."