A soya shake a day could keep a pot belly at bay.
Research shows that one soya-based drink a day can slash the amount of fat that accumulates across the stomach.
Abdominal fat is particularly bad for health, raising the risk of heart attacks and diabetes more than fat found on other parts f the body.
It is thought that soya, a vegetable protein, somehow interferes with the processing of excess sugar into fat. Previous studies have shown that soya and tofu, a meat substitute made from soya bean curd, cut the risk of ovarian cancer and heart disease.
In the latest study, the researchers looked at the effect of soya supplements on the health of 15 women who had gone through the menopause.
Nine were asked to drink a 120-calorie soya shake a day, while six were given a dummy shake to drink.
After three months of daily shakes, there was little difference in weight between the two groups.
However scans showed a big difference in the amount of fat the women were carrying around the waist.
While those on the soya shakes had lost abdominal fat during the course of the study, the other women had put it on, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine's annual conference heard.
The US researchers said the finding could prove particularly significant in improving the health of older women who often pile on the pounds after the menopause.
Writing in the journal Fertility and Sterility, they said: 'Our trial suggests a new dietary option for the prevention of abdominal adipose tissue gain that occurs after menopause.'
Source - Daily Mail