Cut Calories While Boosting Your Intake of Vegetables
Looking for a new way to cut calories while increasing your intake of healthful vegetables? You know that eating vegetables is good for you, but maybe you or your family members don’t always greet vegetables with enthusiasm. Here’s a neat trick that researchers at Pennsylvania
State University reported on recently in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
They wondered if it would be possible to get people to eat fewer calories by “hiding” vegetables in food. Noting that not everyone likes the taste of vegetables, they added vegetable puree to various dishes. Separate studies looked at both adults and young children and concluded that this “stealth” vegetable strategy works well. Subjects ate fewer calories, while also increasing their intake of vegetables.
Depending on how much vegetable puree was hidden in foods, subjects ate up to 357 fewer calories a day, even though they were free to eat as little or as much as they wished. Most subjects didn’t even notice the addition, and didn’t object to the taste. The test foods included carrot bread, macaroni and cheese, and chicken and rice casserole. Vegetables included carrots, squash and cauliflower. The addition of vegetable puree to these foods decreased their “calorie density.” Foods are calorie dense if they supply plenty of calories but few nutrients and little fiber. French fries are an example of a calorie dense food.
Blatt AD, Roe LS, Rolls BJ. Hidden vegetables: an effective strategy to reduce energy intake and increase vegetable intake in adults. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Apr;93(4):756-63. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.110.009332. Epub 2011 Feb 2.
Spill MK, Birch LL, Roe LS, Rolls BJ. Hiding vegetables to reduce energy density: an effective strategy to increase children's vegetable intake and reduce energy intake. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Sep;94(3):735-41. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.111.015206. Epub 2011 Jul 20.