04/03/2011 10:06 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Hidden Veggies Help Fight The Flab

red-pepper-weight-loss Adding mushed-up veggies to your food could help you lose weight. Photo: Getty

Losing weight could be so much easier if we actually liked eating low-calorie, low-fat foods - such as lots of fruit and vegetables, for instance. Eating more fruit and veg and less sugar and fat would mean eating fewer calories. But it's not so easy in practice, especially if you're not that fond of fresh fruit and veg.

Nutrition experts from Pennsylvania State University have, however, come up with a sneaky way of increasing your vegetable intake. And they say it could help you lose a pound of body fat in ten days.

Writing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the experts enrolled 20 men and 21 women to take part in their experiment. The volunteers had to eat specially prepared meals once a week for three weeks. The meals were always the same: carrot bread for breakfast, macaroni and cheese for lunch and chicken and rice casserole for dinner.

The volunteers were given as much as they wanted, plus extras including bread rolls, yoghurt, side vegetables and even snacks such as carrot sticks and fig biscuits to take home with them.

What they didn't know, however, was that their meals were being doctored. Extra vegetables, such as pureed cauliflower, carrots and squash, were being added to the main dishes - but they couldn't see or taste the difference.

By noting exactly everything the volunteers ate, the researchers estimated that their calorie intake dropped by an average of 360 on the days they had their special meals. And if you cut that amount of calories in your diet every day, you could lose about a pound in ten days.

Does that sound like a good idea to you? Or are there easier ways of eating more healthily?

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