Just in time to give you a boost of motivation to help keep your New Year’s health resolutions, a study has found that flavonoids found in certain fruits and in tea may help prevent weight gain in adults. The study, which was published in the journal BMJ, looked at data from 124,086 adults participating in the Health Professionals Follow Up Study, the Nurses’ Health Study, and the Nurses’ Health Study II. Every two years for 20 to 24 years, participants answered questions regarding their weight, lifestyle, and changes in health status. Every four years during the same period of time, participants also answered questions regarding their diet, which researchers analyzed for seven different types of flavonoids, including anthocyanins, flavonoid polymers, and flavonols. After adjusting for smoking, exercise habits, and other dietary and lifestyle factors, researchers found that:
Each standard deviation (a statistical unit used to quantify variations from an average) increase in consumption of anthocyanins, mainly from blueberries and strawberries, was associated with a 0.23 pound reduction in weight gained over a four year period.
Each standard deviation increase in consumption of flavonoid polymers, mainly from tea and apples, was associated with a 0.18 pound reduction in weight gained over a four year period.
Each standard deviation increase in consumption of flavonols, mainly from citrus fruits and citrus juice, was associated with a 0.16 pound reduction in weight gained over a four year period.
Like most studies correlating eating habits to health, these associations are based solely on observation. Controlled trials are needed to show a direct link between flavonoids from fruits and weight maintenance. Nevertheless, numerous studies have suggested that eating fruit, which is naturally low in calories and high in nutrients and fiber, can reduce risks of certain chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes. So, if your goal is to stay healthy while (possibly) keeping the pounds off, it wouldn't be a bad idea to make room for fruit in your daily diet.