Wednesday, 05 January 2011 13:48
Lots of diets work for lots of people—the key is to find what works best for you. But if you’re not sure where to begin, these 5 science-proven tips (that are easy to fit into any lifestyle) will get you started:
1. Snack on almonds
When salty cravings strike, bypass the pretzels or popcorn. In a study of 65 men and women who were following a low-calorie diet, California researchers found that those who noshed on the nuts shrank their waistlines nearly 50% more than dieters who didn't eat them, despite consuming the same number of calories. Likewise, Spanish researchers found that even without increasing exercise, a diet enriched with monounsaturated fatty acids (aka MUFAs, found in foods such as almonds and avocados) decreased the accumulation of abdominal fat, compared with a carbohydrate-heavy diet, which increased it.
2. Fill up on fiber
"When you slow digestion, you slow the delivery of glucose [blood sugar] to the bloodstream," says Marie Savard, MD, author of The Body Shape Solution to Weight Loss and Wellness. "That means less insulin is released, and with lower insulin release comes lower visceral [belly] fat storage." In a study of more than 2,900 adults, those who ate the most fiber weighed less and had lower insulin levels and slimmer waistlines than those who ate the least. Aim for at least 25 g a day from such foods as vegetables, fruits, beans, lentils, brown rice, and whole grain bread, cereal, and pasta.
3. Stay satisfied with protein
Gram for gram, protein has the same number of calories as carbs (and half that of fat), but takes longer to digest, so you feel full longer. It also seems to help lower levels of the hormone ghrelin, which is known to stimulate appetite. In a Danish study of 60 men and women, those following a diet that included 25% of calories from protein lost nearly twice as much fat after 6 months than those eating a diet with 12% protein. Include a serving of lean protein with each meal and snack—eggs for breakfast, a turkey sandwich for lunch, low-fat or fat-free yogurt or milk for a snack, and grilled fish and vegetables for dinner.
4. Skip the sweetener
In a 5-week study by Purdue University researchers, rats given unlimited access to artificially sweetened yogurt consumed more calories, gained more weight, and packed on more fat than those that ate sugar-sweetened yogurt. Researchers believe artificial sweeteners may hinder your body's ability to regulate calories based on taste, so you end up overeating. Go with a little bit of natural sweetener, such as raw sugar or honey, instead.
5. Dump one high-cal item from your diet
Exercise works best when you don't offset your hard work with empty calories. By eliminating just one high-calorie item from your daily diet, such as a large latte, or substituting cereal and low-fat milk for a bagel and cream cheese, you can easily reduce your intake by 250 calories. (Prevention)
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