Love tucking in to a steak or brunching on smashed avocado? Keep doing it. Dieters could be able to shed kilos while enjoying their favourite foods, including pork, chicken and plums.
Researchers from the University of Warwick in the UK have identified the cells in the brain – called tanycytes – that stop us overeating.
Two types of amino acids found in some foods were more likely to trigger the tanycytes to make us feel full sooner, the study said.
It means pork shoulder, beef sirloin steak, chicken, mackerel, plums, apricots, avocados, lentils and almonds are among the best foods to eat to healthily lose weight.
Within 30 seconds, tanycytes will have detected their amino acids and triggered the brain to suppress appetite.
The research was the first to identify tanycytes as the cells responsible for the sensation of feeling full.
“Dieting could be revolutionised” thanks to the “groundbreaking discovery”, researchers said.
The study, published in the Molecular Metabolism journal, said it could lead to treatments which curb obesity by intentionally suppressing appetite.
“This major discovery opens up new possibilities for creating more effective diets – and even future treatments to suppress one’s appetite by directly activating the brain’s tanycytes, bypassing food and the digestive system,” the study said.
Nutritionist Tracie Hyam Connor, from Tracie Talks Health, said the research would help practitioners hone in on diets and help those who struggle to control their appetite.
She said the discovery is an extension of what experts already know – that foods high in amino acids helped people feel full.
“They’ve identified more parts of the brain that are picking up on these amino acids and recognising them,” Ms Connor said.
But she is sceptical of the claim it could end the obesity crisis, saying a “magic pill” would not help everyone by suppressing their appetite.
“That’s not always the reason people put on weight, or keep it on, or have trouble losing it. It’s much more than having trouble feeling full.”
Ms Connor said there would need to be lots of clinical trials before the discovery could lead to a “synthetic drug” on the market.
In Australia, almost two-thirds of adults were overweight or obese in 2014-15, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
One in four children aged between two and 17 were overweight or obese in the same year.
The Bureau of Statistics said the toll of health care, loss of productivity and carers cost Australia $58 billion in 2008.
Excess weight elevates the risk of premature death, as well as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and stroke, the study said.