Regular consumption of pomegranate extract may reduce feelings of hunger, while increasing the sensation of being full, according to the experts from Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh.
Volunteers who took a pomegranate supplement daily for three weeks reported feeling significantly less hungry during the experiment than those who had a placebo instead.
When given a plate of food as part of the trial, those who had been taking the extract ate an average of 22% less than those in the control group, but reported greater enjoyment of the food.
Volunteers took part in the double-blind study carried out by the university. Half took a pomegranate extract, containing the skin, pith and seeds, and the rest took a placebo tablet.
The pomegranate extract group felt less hungry by an average of 12%, had less desire to eat (by 21%), felt fuller (by 16%) and more satisfied (by 15%).
The research team now plans to do a further study to try to determine why the extract has this effect. One theory is that it contains polyphenols which are thought to act as an appetite suppressant.
Dr Emad al Dujaili, who led the study, said the results "may have the potential to assist in the challenge of reducing risk factors for obesity".
He said: "Pomegranates contain potent antioxidants that can neutralise free radicals better than red wine, green tea and commonly consumed juices."