Weight loss can be helped by quitting smoking, scientists at Yale University have found.
While it was once thought that smoking could help dieters stay slim by dulling down their appetite, smokers actually have far worse diets that former-smokers or non-smokers.
Those who smoke eat around 200 more calories a day.
It seems that while they eat smaller portions, smokers are opting for more calorie dense foods.
Those who smoke everyday eat around 2.02 calories per gram of food they consume.
One the other hand those who smoke, but not everyday, eat around 1.89 calories per gram.
People who have never smoked consume 1.79 calories per gram of food.
Scientist believed that those who smoked were choosing a lower calorie diet that those who didn’t.
Smokers ate less fruit and vegetables, putting them at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.
A scientist involved in the research said: “We know from the literature that concerns about weight gain are barriers to quitting smoking, and we know that diets high in energy density are associated with higher body weight.
“Our results suggest that addressing the energy density in diets of current smokers may be a good target for interventions as part of a larger smoking cessation plan.”
So if you are looking to quit smoking and improve your health for good, make sure you eat a diet full of healthy carbohydrates such as fruit, vegetables and brown rice.
The study looked at 5293 adults who took the National Health and Examination Survey.
The NHS offers lots of help on quitting smoking, including how to stop without putting on weight.
It said: “After you quit smoking, your body burns calories more slowly. Even if you eat no more than when you smoked, you may put on weight – but being more active can help.
“Regular exercise may prevent about half the weight gain expected after a year of quitting smoking. It burns off calories and reduces cravings for cigarettes.”
Following the 5:2 diet can help you lose weight quickly, according to experts.
Restricting your calories on just two days of the week has a quicker weight loss effect than cutting calories every day.
People on the 5 2 diet, where you eat normally for five days and consume a low number of calories (around 600) on two days, are said to drop pounds faster.
Those following the diet plan were able to reach at least five per cent weight loss within two months, found the researchers.