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Study shows eating more, not less, can lead to greater weight loss as relaunched slimming group opens in Rendlesham

PUBLISHED: 15:25 29 May 2018

Kate James lost weight with Slimming World and has now become a consultant and is relaunching its Rendlesham group.
Picture: Kate James

Kate James lost weight with Slimming World and has now become a consultant and is relaunching its Rendlesham group. Picture: Kate James


When Kate James heard about the results of a study which found that bigger portions may help people lose weight, depending what was being eaten, she wasn’t surprised.

Kate knew through her own experience that filling up on “low energy density” foods such as vegetables, lean meat and rice could keep the hunger pangs at bay and was more likely to lead to weight loss than calorie counting and cutting portion sizes.

But still, it was exciting to see it scientifically proven, especially since the findings bust the long-held myth that you have to be hungry and deprived in order to lose weight.

The study, led by the University of Leeds and published in the Journal of Nutrition, found that people following a diet based around low energy density foods, which contain fewer calories per gram, lost almost twice as much weight as people following a diet that simply told them to restrict calories.

The study, funded by weight-loss organisation Slimming World, compared 37 overweight women following its Food Optimising eating plan, which is based around low energy dense foods, to another group of 41 following a diet centred around restricting calories to 1,400 calories a day.

Those on the Slimming World plan ate low energy density foods, including fruit, vegetables, lean meat, fish, pasta, rice, pulses, eggs and fat-free dairy,for 14 weeks. They also attended weekly support and weigh-in groups.

Researchers found those on the Slimming World plan could consume a larger amount of food while reducing overall calorie intake, feeling more satiated and less hungry.

In fact, those eating low energy density meals were on average consuming around 1,000 fewer calories a day than women in the other group. They also reported increased feelings of control around food choices and a greater confidence in their ability to stick to their weight-loss plan. What’s more, they lost significantly more weight than their calorie-counting counterparts – 6.2% body weight compared to 3.8%.

“The research comes as no surprise to me,” says Kate. “Like many others I have struggled with my weight over the years and have tried many fad diets and quick fixes, desperate to get quick results. Yes, I lost weight at first, but I only put it all back on again because I felt too restricted and deprived. I felt so ashamed at ‘failing’ too. You can’t keep that up for long.”

Kate, who lives in Rendlesham, joined Slimming World in January 2017 when a new group opened in the village and says members there have gone on to lose more 500 stone between them.

“I’ve lost 1st 10lbs and I’m eating more than ever,” she says. “I love to create tasty curries with vegetable side dishes and my absolute favourite meal is gammon, egg and chips with plum tomatoes. All my meals are simple, tasty and filling. I don’t do hungry.”

The eating plan has made such a difference to Kate’s life that she’s now becoming a Slimming World consultant and is relaunching her very own group in Rendlesham tomorrow (May 30).

“So many people think like I used to, and there really is no need. I want to help people eat more not less and achieve their dreams,” she says.

Psychologist Dr Nicola Buckland, lead author of the study, said: “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.

“For example, someone would have to eat around 250g of carrots to consume 100 calories whereas it would take just 20g of chocolate to achieve a similar calorie intake, yet the greater volume of carrots is likely to make you much fuller.”

Dr Jacquie Lavin, Slimming World’s Head of Nutrition and Research, says: “This study provides clear evidence that calorie counting and eating smaller portions are not the answer when it comes to weight loss.”

Kate James’ relaunched Slimming World group meets Wednesdays, 5.30-7.30pm, from May 30 at Rendlesham Community Centre.

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