No need to skip a meal or head to a gym as easy ways to lose a few pounds — not anymore. Replacing just one between-meal confectionery snack with a handful of berries can do the trick as well.

Research shows that when people swapped a confectionery treat for a berry snack with the same energy content, considerably fewer calories were consumed at their next main meal.

This suggested that a simple change in habit alone could reduce a person’s calorie intake by nearly 1,000 calories a week, reports

The reduction in calories would be expected to produce a loss of around 0.45 kg of body fat per month, and much more if consumed alongside exercise and other healthy-eating choices, according to researchers.

Seasonal Berries commissioned Loughborough University to conduct the research.

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Lewis James from the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences at Loughborough University, that conducted the research, said anyone who does the simple swap could feel the effects on their health and waistline. “Our research shows that an afternoon snack of mixed berries decreases energy intake at dinner. It’s a simple method that might help people control and lose weight,” said James.

“There are a number of potential health benefits of consuming berries, but this is the first time that consuming them as a snack has been shown to reduce how much people eat during the next meal of the day. The cumulative effect of the reduced calories could help people lose the extra pounds without them having to make an effort, or even noticing,” added the expert.

In the research trials, which were carried out over four months, 12 participants tested the effects of swapping a confectionery snack with a handful of berries – strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries – with the same energy content.

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