Pureeing vegetables and then slipping them into food where they'll be undetectable — that's a sneaky technique parents have been using on picky kids for ages. But researchers at Pennsylvania State University decided to try it on a group of adults to see whether it could help them cut calories and lose weight.
It worked — even better than the researchers expected. The unsuspecting men and women, who ate various comfort foods enhanced with vegetable purees, not only liked the doctored dishes, but also more than doubled their vegetable consumption and cut their calories by up to 360 calories a day.
Imagine — if people could eat 360 fewer calories a day, they could lose one pound of body fat in 10 days. Definitely something to consider in a country where 70 percent of adults over age 20 are overweight or obese.
In the study, which was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 41 subjects, ages 20 to 45, agreed to eat three meals at a laboratory once a week for three weeks. The meals were always the same: Carrot bread at breakfast, macaroni and cheese at lunch, and chicken-and-rice casserole for dinner. The subjects could eat as much as they wanted, along with side dishes like rolls, strawberry yogurt, and broccoli and green beans, depending on the meal. Portion size was controlled by weight, and researchers tracked the amount of food each participant ate.