Just topping off a sandwich with a few slices of tomato could help you beat the battle of the bulge. Scientists believe that tomatoes are rich in compounds which modify appetite hormones and leave us feeling satisfied.
Researchers at United Kingdom’s Reading University investigated the advantages of enriching white bread with fruit and vegetables. They offered women between the ages of 18 and 35 three different types of cream cheese sandwiches—those made with regular white bread, white bread enriched with carrots and white bread enriched with tomatoes. They theorized that fiber in the bread enriched with carrot would make the carrot bread more filling. But the women, who were all of normal weight, rated the tomato bread as most satisfying.
Since snacking between meals is a major pitfall of dieters, readily available tomatoes could be a cheap, easy way of keeping weight in check.
“It was a small study, and we can't yet say what the crucial tomato ingredient is, but the results were statistically significant,” said researcher Dr. Julie Lovegrove.
Lycopene, the pigment that gives tomatoes their bright red color, may be the appetite suppressing ingredient and could alter levels of ghrelin, a hormone that makes us feel full.
Lycopene already has an impressive list of health benefits including lowering the risk of developing many types of cancer, such as breast, lung and pancreatic, as well as boosting heart health.