Eating prunes could increase by 50 percent the amount that people lose off their waistline, research suggests.
People felt more full and lost one-third more weight when they ate prunes, compared with not eating them.
Study participants lost weight without making other changes to their diet or lifestyle.
Prunes probably help weight loss because of their fibre content and dried fruit is easy to add to the diet.
Fibre increases feelings of fullness and reduces calorie intake.
Researchers repeatedly find that increases in fibre intake can help with weight loss.
The study included 100 obese and overweight people who were tracked for 12 weeks.
All the people in the study initially ate less fibre than is recommended.
One half were just given general advice about the types of snacks that were most healthy.
The other half were told to eat 15 or more prunes each day.
The results showed that those eating prunes lost an average of 4.4 pounds, compared with 3.3 pounds in the group who were not eating prunes.
Dr Jo Harrold, who led the research, said:
“These are the first data to demonstrate both weight loss and no negative side effects when consuming prunes as part of a weight management diet.
Indeed in the long term they may be beneficial to dieters by tackling hunger and satisfying appetite; a major challenge when you are trying to maintain weight loss.”
Professor Jason Halford, an expert on eating behaviours, said:
“Maintaining a healthy diet is challenging.
Along with fresh fruit and vegetables, dried fruit can provide a useful and convenient addition to the diet, especially as controlling appetite during dieting can be tough.”
The research was presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Sofia, Bulgaria.