In the battle against the bulge, many of us use any weapon at our disposal: taking the stairs instead of the lift, eating numerous portions of fruit and vegetables each day and getting enough sleep for our body to regulate our hunger properly.

And now research shows that adding soy to our diet could help significantly reduce fat accumulation in the liver, which may encourage healthy living shoppers to fill up their trolleys with the healthy legume.

A study carried out by University of Illinois scientists revealed that protein found in the bean restores partial function of the liver’s key signalling system in obese patients, which can help alleviate some of the stress put on fatty livers.

Lead researcher Hong Chen commented: "Almost a third of American adults have fatty liver disease, many of them without symptoms. Obesity is a key risk factor for this condition, which can lead to liver failure.

"When fat accumulates in an organ that’s not supposed to store fat - like the liver, that organ’s vital function can be dangerously compromised," she noted.

Tucking into tofu and soy yoghurt could therefore help those who suffer with fatty liver disease.

Soy is also known to contain high levels of antioxidants, in particular
genistein, which is associated with a reduced chance of developing cancer.

Meanwhile, fitness expert Steve Halsall has given his advice on the best ways to burn off calories and fight the flab.

"Interval walking (bursts of intense walking followed by slower walking) will burn more calories, [and] some studies have implied that the use of Nordic walking poles increases calorific expenditure even more than conventional walking," he explained.

"Using naturally occurring slopes and hills will increase intensity too. Ultimately it is about creating a situation where it is a workout, not a stroll."

Posted by Matilda Jones