They keep you feeling fuller for longer
Consuming foods high in water could be the key to losing weight, nutritionists say.
Dishes with a high water content, including pasta and rice – which absorb liquid – as well as soups and stews, appear to keep you feeling fuller for longer, scientists from the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) say.
At the same time padding out these meals with vegetables – which are high in both water and fibre – will mean you can eat more while in fact consuming the same amount of calories.
The BNF’s advice is to use foods low in energy density to make up the bulk of your diet. These are foods lower than 1.5 calories per gram and include baked beans, boiled eggs, or vegetable stir-fry with noodles. You can work this out by dividing the number of calories by the weight of your food.
So your 180g sandwich with 360 calories has 2 calories per gram. As such it falls into the category of medium energy density foods, which also include lasagne, pizza steak and salmon. ‘You need to control the portion sizes of these foods and eat them alongside lots of lower energy density foods,’ says Bridget Benelam, a nutrition scientist at the BNF.
The suggestion that foods high in water keep us feeling fuller for longer is increasingly substantiated by research. The idea is that the combination of food blended with water empties more slowly from the stomach than solid food on its own with a glass of water to wash it down.
Catherine Collins, a spokeswoman for the British Dietetic Association, said ‘We are getting to a point now where people realise that more fruit and vegetables are the way to go and more luxurious foods should be saved for indulgence.
‘It’s good advice to pad out your meals with foods lower in energy. When you look down at dinner time, vegetables should be taking up a lot of room.’