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Reduce calories, stave off hunger with water-rich foods -- not water

University Park, Pa. --- Drinking water before or with your meals is a healthy habit, but Penn State research has shown that it won't satisfy your hunger or help you eat less to control your weight.

Dr. Barbara Rolls, who holds Penn State's Guthrie Chair in Nutrition, says "We're not sure where the idea that drinking water before or during a meal can stave off hunger originated but it was very popular in the 60s, and is still a common belief. Our research shows that, although drinking water with meals may not be an effective method for reducing calories, eating water-rich foods can lower calorie intake."

Rolls and her research team have shown that eating foods with a high water content - pasta dishes with additional vegetables, smoothies, soup, fruits and vegetables -- can offer a way to cut back on calories and still feel full and satisfied.

The study of the effects of water on food intake is detailed in the October issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in a paper, "Water Incorporated Into A Food But Not Served With A Food Decreases Energy Intake In Lean Women." The authors are Rolls, Elizabeth Bell, doctoral candidate in nutrition, and Michelle Thorwart, project associate.

The study was the first to systematically examine the effects of water served as a beverage and water incorporated into a food on subsequent food intakes. The 24 lean women who participated in the study ate breakfast, lunch and dinner one day a week in Penn State's Laboratory for the Study of Human Ingestive Behavior for four weeks. They were served a first course 17 minutes before lunch that consisted of either a chicken rice casserole, the same casserole with a glass of water, or a bowl of chicken rice soup. Even though the soup and the casserole-served-with-water contained exactly the same ingredients in the same amounts, the soup was more effective in curbing appetite and reducing the calories the women consumed during lunch.
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Contact: Barbara Hale
bah@psu.edu
814-865-9481
Penn State
23-Sep-1999


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