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Tomatoes 'stop you getting fat'
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Nutritionists have long recognised that vegetarians and others who eat a lot of fruit and vegetables are much more likely to be slim than those drawn to a standard modern diet of highly processed foods.

But now it seems it is not just down to the fact that fruit and vegetables contain fewer calories.

Tomatoes are rich in the compound lycopene, which scientists believe may help to make people feel more full by lowering appetite hormones.

Researchers from the University of Reading made their discovery by testing the effects of bread enriched with vegetables on a ground of 17 normal weight women aged 18 to 35.

The volunteers were given sandwiches either filled with cream cheese or made with bread enriched with carrot or tomato and asked to record how full they were.

The researchers had expected the additional fibre in the carrot bread to promote the most feelings of satiety or fullness, but instead they found the tomato bread was actually the most filling.

"It was a small study, and we can't yet say what the crucial tomato ingredient is, but the results were statistically significant," Dr Julie Lovegrove, a specialist in nutritional metabolism who is leading the project, said.

The lycopene found in tomatoes makes them red and is a key component of the Mediterranean diet which is credited with lowering rates of heart disease, diabetes, dementia, and some forms of cancer.

Dr Lovegrove believes it may too be the reason why the volunteers felt more full.

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