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    Food Synergy Secrets for Weight Loss continued...

    2. Load Up on Fruits and Vegetables. What do fruits and vegetables have that typical fast food and junk food does not have? More water, fiber, and key nutrients -- but fewer calories. This makes them one of the best ways to lower your diet's "energy density" (that is, to eat more food that is low in calories in relation to its volume) and increase "nutrient density" (to add foods that are high in nutrients in relation to volume).

    Eating a less calorie dense diet that includes lots of fruits and vegetables helps make meals more satisfying, while cutting calories. A recent study indicated that eating more fruits and veggies along with cutting down on fat is a particularly smart strategy. In the study, Penn State University researchers divided obese women into two groups. One group was given counseling on reducing fat intake. The other got counseling on reducing fat intake plus increasing water-rich foods (mainly by eating fruits and vegetables). Both groups then made their own choices about how much to eat. Although both lost significant amounts of weight, the group that was counseled to reduce fat and add fruits and veggies lost an average of 3 pounds more. Perhaps most importantly, this group reported less hunger.

    3.Eat Vegetarian Meals More Often. People following vegetarian diets tend to weigh less than meat-eaters, according to one review study. The researchers, who looked at data from 87 studies, found that the body weight of vegetarians is, on average, 3% to 20% lower than that of meat-eaters.

    Switching to a low-fat vegan diet (one that includes no animal products) could result in a loss of about a pound a week, even without extra exercise or limits on calories, says study author Neal Barnard, MD, founder of the advocacy group Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

    But even going partially meatless can help. Women who are semi-vegetarian (who may include poultry and fish in their diets, but no red meat) or lacto-vegetarian (those who include milk products in their diets) had a lower risk of overweight and obesity, compared with omnivorous women, according to a Swedish study.

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