If you think of prunes as something old people eat to keep their digestive systems, um, moving, then listen to this: A new study presented at the European Congress on Obesity suggests that these dried plums can play a big role in keeping pounds off long-term.
Researchers from the University of Liverpool in the U.K. divided 100 subjects into two groups of dieters. The first group consumed a handful of prunes per day for 12 weeks, while the second group didn’t have any prunes. At the end of the study, the prune-eating group sustained slightly more weight loss and a greater reduction in waist circumference than the subjects in the second group. Interestingly, the rate of weight loss for the prune-eating group also sped up during the last four weeks of the study, perhaps because these study subjects reported feeling fuller than the other group, according to the study abstract. Prunes are loaded with fiber, so it makes sense that the study subjects who ate them daily reported higher feelings of fullness.
Another finding from the study: The prune-eaters tolerated the fruit well—in other words, they didn’t cause any undo digestive effects (which we know may be something you’re concerned about). Though the researchers haven’t made any general statements as to whether dieters should add prunes to their meal plans—and they concede that they received funding from the California Prune Board—it can’t hurt to give these sweet, chewy snacks a try. Enjoy a few straight from the can or pouch, or cook them into stir-fries or baked goods.
*This story was originally published on WomensHealth.com.