Yorkshire pioneers survey into women's diets

Women wanting to lose weight in 2011 are being sought by researchers looking into which of two healthy diets is the best at improving health.

A team at the Human Appetite Research Unit at the University of Leeds are running a study comparing the effects of the 12-week plans on body

weight, body composition and appetite control.

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Professor Louise Dye, chairman in nutrition and behaviour at the unit and one of the leaders of the Leeds Women's Wellbeing Study,

said: "This study is really about taking foods that we know are good for you and looking at whether we can incorporate them into a healthy eating lifestyle over a 12-week period and help people to maintain a healthy weight, or in this case lose a bit of weight."

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The study started in May last year and 32 women have completed it so far, but researchers are hoping for around 70 in total so they are looking for many more women to put themselves forward.

Participants need to be pre-menopausal women aged between 18 and 48 who are overweight, non-smokers, not pregnant and in general good health and can follow the 12-week plan.

Those accepted will be provided with breakfast cereals, snacks and a recipe book, and will be supported by a dietician.

Dr Clare Lawton, senior research fellow and clinical trials co-ordinator, said the diets were both healthy and did not involve any unusual foods or supplements.

"They include five portions of fruit and vegetables and both diets are based on the British Heart Foundation's healthy eating guidelines," she said.

As well as changing their diet, women are asked to record their feelings to enable the researchers to look at their eating behaviours.

Prof Dye added: "What we know from other studies is that a lot of people don't eat because they are hungry, they have other triggers for their behaviour such as they use foods they find comforting, like chocolate.

"We are looking at that and using that information to try and help make suggestions about how they could change their behaviour."

* Women are being recruited for the study until March. For more information, contact Diana or Iria on 0113 343 5753 or email: LWW@leeds.ac.uk