N° 46 | June 2010



Increased consumption of Fruits and Vegetables (F&V) can help to facilitate weight loss; however, several clinical trials testing this effect have reported a decline in intake over time. A sustained increase may be more likely if people are taught specific strategies for incorporating more F&V into their diets to manage their hunger and eat fewer calories. This can be achieved when F&V displace high-energy-dense foods so that the overall energy density of the diet is reduced. A simple and effective strategy is to increase the proportion of vegetables or fruits at a meal, for example by substituting them for more energy-dense ingredients in mixed dishes or by serving larger portions as side dishes. Another approach is to fill up at the start of a meal with a low-energy-dense salad or whole fruit so that intake of more energy-dense foods during the rest of the meal is reduced. People also need to be aware of strategies that are ineffective in reducing energy intake, such as consuming fruit as juice rather than eating it whole. In addition, simply advising people to add F&V to their meals may have little effect on energy intake and could even increase it if the additions are not very low in energy density. There are many reasons why people may not sustain an increased intake of F&V in order to manage their weight, and one of these could be that this approach is not perceived to be effective. Future interventions should explore whether teaching people specific strategies to enhance satiety by incorporating F&V in their diets will not only prevent a decline in intake, but will also promote greater weight loss.

See next article