There's a sweet, super-smart snack that could help you feel fuller, so you'd eat less at mealtimes and fit into your jeans better.
We're talking about prunes. Or dried plums. By any name, research shows that these dried fruits may help whittle people's waists by causing them to eat less food.
Hunger Be Gone
When researchers gave 45 volunteers a midmorning nibble of white bread and low-fat cheese, adding prunes to the snack produced some significant findings. The snackers reported feeling less hungry after the prune-infused nosh -- and they ate 6 percent fewer calories at lunch compared with when they had snacked on just bread and cheese. (Did you know? Prunes are great for your heart and bones, too.)
The Fiber Factor
So what gives prunes the advantage in edging out hunger? It's the fiber. Even though each test snack had roughly the same amount of protein, calories, carbs, and fat, the prune snack packed more than twice the fiber. That chewy fiber makes you eat more slowly, allowing your brain to realize when you've had enough to eat. And the roughage sits in your stomach for a long time, slowing down digestion. The fiber also reduces the rate at which sugar is soaked up into your bloodstream -- good for keeping insulin levels on an even keel and reducing between-meal hunger pangs.