While stomach crunches have long been seen to be the way to a trimmer waistline, research reveals that crunching of a tastier sort may also help in the battle of the bulge.

Eat a whole apple as a snack and the hunger pangs stay away longer than if you grabbed a juice, according to the research. Add a whole apple to your meal and you are more likely to eat less over all, is the message from another study.

Solid fruits, like apples, are low in kilojoules and contain the type of texture that means they take time to eat. This, coupled with their low GI, is believed to be the reason for their ability to increase satiety (make you feel satisfied and less inclined to want to eat more) and reduce the amount of kilojoules you consume. The result tends to be better weight control.

The 2010 Apple Report also includes some emerging science that shows a regular apple habit may also help with the type of fat you shed. Rich in antioxidants known as polyphenols, it appears that these compounds may have the potential to help to reduce belly fat, by having a positive effect on the hormones involved in regulating fat metabolism.

Fat stored around your middle – to produce what is commonly known as the apple shape – puts you at greater risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. Shedding this type fat improves your health to a greater extent than just ‘losing weight’.

We all need at least two pieces of fruit each day for good health. Make one of these an apple, and you have a simple and affordable way of improving your daily diet, helping you achieve your weight loss goals more effectively. Don’t forget, the bulk of apples antioxidants are found in the skin so eat them whole and store them in the fridge for maximum crunch.

Karen’s top tips for a slimmer you

Follow the rule of quarters: divide your plate into four, giving a quarter to carbs, another quarter to protein while filling the other half of your plate with plenty of veg

Go the whole: include whole grains where you can; oats or natural muesli at breakfast, grainy bread at lunch and brown rice, wholemeal pasta at dinner

Hydrate: avoid drinking your kilojoules as juices or smoothies and quench your thirst with water

Snack on fruit: have at least one more serve of fruit after your daily apple! A serve is the equivalent of one large piece or two smaller pieces like kiwi, mandarins, plums or a cup of fruit salad or strawberries

Love legumes: low in fat and high in filling power, peas, dried beans and legumes are a dieter’s best friend.