HCG, or Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, is a hormone produced during pregnancy by the placenta after implantation, and doctors sometimes prescribe it for fertility issues. But this hormone has also gained popularity as a weight-loss supplement — and using it as such can be dangerous. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns against purchasing over-the-counter hCG, as these supplement products are illegal. (34)
Created in 2003 by cardiologist Arthur Agatston, this low-carb diet features three phases. The first phase is the most restrictive, limiting carbs such as potatoes and rice. Each subsequent phase becomes more lenient, and the diet emphasizes lean protein, unsaturated fats, and low-glycemic carbs such as non-starchy vegetables. South Beach promotes lasting lifestyle changes, according to the Mayo Clinic. (21)
He is, however, quick to point out that nobody is doing this with any harmful intentions. But he does stress that erroneous information has a tendency to be elevated into truths if it’s repeated sufficiently often. And when myths like these are as widespread as they are, they prevent the public and professionals from getting their priorities right in the fight against obesity.
Calcium and vitamin C team up well to boost metabolism, and broccoli is just one of several healthy foods that contain both nutrients. What sets broccoli apart from the others, however, is that the green veggie also contains kind of fiber that’s been shown to increase the digestion, absorption and storage of food, also known as the thermic effect of food or TEF. A revved up metabolism combined with an increased TEF is a match made in weight loss heaven!
Get on with the Mediterranean diet and include some seaweed or Kelp into your meals. Prized for its high levels of iodine, kelp helps to create the thyroid hormones in your body. These regulate your metabolic rate – the rate in which your body burns fat. It also contains several minerals which have been found to assist the breakdown of belly fat and relieve water retention. Seek it out in Japanese supermarkets or pick up from health food stores in a supplement form.
This summer favorite doesn’t have to wreck your waistline! “Using lean ground beef (95 percent lean vs. 80 percent) for your hamburgers will save you 170 calories and 19 grams of fat for a 6-ounce burger,” says Maleeff. Ditch the bun, swap ketchup for tomatoes, and wrap it up in lettuce for a burger that’s full of flavor, not empty calories. Try it here with this low-carb, bunless bite-size burger recipe.
Skimp on fluids, and your body will release an antidiuretic hormone that leads to water retention that could affect the scale, Dr. Setlzer says. While this sneaky effect is one reason why the scale is a poor measure of body mass loss, you can outsmart it by drinking more—particularly if you fill your glass with water or non-calorie alternatives like unsweetened coffee and tea.
Spirulina is a high-protein seaweed supplement that’s typically dried and sold in powdered form. The dried stuff is about 60 percent protein, and, like quinoa, it’s a complete protein, meaning it can be converted directly into muscle in the body and is thus a great weight loss tool. A tablespoon of the blue-green algae delivers 8 grams of metabolism-boosting protein for just 43 calories, plus half a day’s allotment of vitamin B12, which in and of itself can give you more energy and boost your metabolism. Try tossing some spirulina into a smoothie and watching the pounds melt off. For more skinny smoothie ideas, check out this list of 56 Smoothies for Weight Loss!
If you consume green tea first thing in the morning, catechins and caffeine present in green tea can stimulate the production of gastric acid and cause stomach indigestion. One should also avoid drinking green tea in the night since it will disturb the sleep pattern. Also, if green tea is consumed just after meal it could inhibit nutrient absorption from the food. Green tea should be consumed in between meal or 30 minutes before exercise (for optimal fat loss).
Keep hunger levels steady. Hard workouts often increase hunger levels. And sometimes they even increase your sense of entitlement to food. For example, you might feel that you deserve a high-calorie meal or treat after hard exercise because you earned it with your effort. But easy workouts are less likely to leave you starving. The result is that you may eat less with an easy fitness program.
"For about 150 cal per 3.5 oz serving, arctic char joins the ranks of heart-healthy foods as a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. Choosing fish over red meat reduces saturated fats in the diet and may help lower risk of heart disease and cancers,” says O’Connor. High in two types of healthy, mood-enhancing omega-3’s (EPA and DHA) this high-protein, low-calorie fish makes a great main course.
In the first phase of the study, 50% of people on the gradual diet and 81% of people on the rapid diet achieved the 12.5% weight loss goal. Both groups struggled considerably in the second phase: 71.2% in the gradual diet group and 70.5% in the rapid diet regained most of the weight they had shed in the first phase. In both groups, patients who successfully completed phase 1 lost a little over 14 kilograms in the first phase but then gained back all but 4 kg in the second phase.
To prep his patients for success, Dr. Seltzer tells them to plan around a large evening meal by eating a lighter breakfast and lunch—NBD since most people who eat a meal before bed tend to wake up feeling relatively full, he says. Research suggests balanced bedtime meals may also promote steady next-day blood sugar levels, which also helps with appetite regulation.
Look for breads that say 100% whole wheat to make sure you getting the real deal. Ann Kulze, MD, of Charleston, S.C., author of Dr. Ann’s 10-Step Diet, A Simple Plan for Permanent Weight Loss & Lifelong Vitality, also recommends incorporating beans such as soy, lentil, chickpeas, and black beans into your diet. “They are high in fiber and protein so they’ll keep you full longer,” Kulze says.
Both lemons and limes are excellent sources of Vitamin C, says Ellis, but it’s their flavor that aids in weight loss the most. “We’ve all been told to drink lots of water, but sometimes water’s lackluster taste causes us to turn to other beverages. Add lemon or lime juice to boost your water’s flavor and can help you drink more—staying hydrated may help suppress appetite, says Ellis.
Apples contain pectin, an ingredient that naturally slows digestion and encourages feelings of fullness. Studies show that eating a whole apple with your meal (as opposed to apple juice or applesauce) is a natural appetite suppressant, helping you consume fewer overall calories without feeling deprived. Sass likes using shredded apple in slaws and stir-fry, or mixing them into burger patties to add moisture.
There's a reason (well actually, many reasons) why lentils are considered one of the world's healthiest foods. With 13 grams of protein and 11 grams of fiber per serving, this legume—another member of the pulse family—will keep you feeling full for hours in between meals. They're a great source of fat-burning resistant starch, too, with 3.4 grams in a half-cup serving.
Catechins are also credited for green tea’s cancer-fighting potential. These antioxidants have the ability to block the action of molecules called free radicals, which can cause changes in healthy cells that sometimes lead to cancer. But there’s no solid proof yet that the catechins in green tea help to prevent cancer in humans, despite some promising studies in test tubes and animals.
Losing weight on autopilot is appealing. But in the age of meal-delivery services (Blue Apron happens to be Whole 30-approved) — is there really a market need for gimmicky Nutrisystem? Our taste buds tell us no. You could easily recreate its no-prep diet by stocking up on breakfast bars, Lean Cuisine lunches, and signing up with the likes of HelloFresh for fast, healthy dinners. (Rough calculations tell us this approach would be equal or less than the monthly price of Nutrisystem.)
Know your stuff. According to a study by Abdul Dulloo, from the Institute of Physiology at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland, the plant compound EGCG found in green tea, plus caffeine, increases thermogenesis by 84 percent. Thermogenesis is the generation of body heat that occurs as a result of normal digestion, absorption, and metabolization of food. Green tea also increases your levels of norepinephrine, which prepares your body to burn fat for the "fight or flight" response. Knowledge is power, people! It's also motivation!
The number of calories you need on a daily basis to lose weight depends on an array of factors, including age, gender, height, genetics, and level of physical activity. Generally, your daily calorie intake shouldn’t fall below 1,200 calories; any less than that threshold can be dangerous in the long-term. Plus, since we get about 20 percent of our fluids from food, this can also increase your risk for dehydration.
Where commercial weight loss programs go hands-on, the Mayo Clinic Diet goes streamlined. The vibrant, best-selling hardback (that looks a lot like a fun middle school health textbook) is the first resource for diet information, you can also employ the sleekly designed but minimalist app, plus a full website of tips, recipes, and workouts. Those patient enough to cycle through all of Mayo’s resources will find lots of solid health information.
Drinking enough water can help you stay slim, too. Research from the American Chemical Society in Boston found that having two 8-ounce glasses of water before a meal while also reducing portion sizes could help you lose weight and keep it off. Not to mention, water fills you up, curbing your appetite: "In addition to slightly boosting your metabolism, drinking water before meals has been shown to help you eat less without trying," says Sass.
Electrolyte imbalances can also be a side effect associated with rapid weight loss, and despite it being rare, it can also be deadly. In addition, other problems associated with rapid weight loss that are not so frequent but can occur include headaches, irritability, fatigue, dizziness, constipation, menstrual irregularities in women, hair loss and muscle loss.
Everyone’s body is different when it comes to digesting some gas-forming foods, but there are a few you should be wary of: It’s best to avoid beans and cruciferous veggies (think cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli) for a couple of days if you want to look slimmer. Choose lean proteins like chicken and fish or, if you’re vegetarian, go for small amounts of nuts and seeds for protein. Pair with non-gassy vegetables like asparagus, spinach, and cucumber to help prevent bloat.
Spoon Guru nutritionist Isabel Butler (MSc, ANutr) recommends that “the best way to reduce weight and maintain the weight loss is by simply eating a balanced and healthy diet, without refusing yourself particular foods… If you do cut out foods, you need to make sure your diet is still balanced and you are getting the nutrients your body needs from other sources.”
Diets don't work. There are hundreds of diets that will help you lose weight, but what good is losing weight if you gain it right back? Eating crazy food combinations or eliminating food groups is not the way to keep weight off. Instead, choose a nutritionally balanced plan with enough calories to keep you from feeling famished (like the WebMD Weight Loss Clinic eating plans).
Moreover, the ritual involved in making tea (as opposed to shoving coins into a vending machine) gives you a welcome break from your chores or work -- and you can reflect on good thoughts, as well as making conscious choices to put good things into your body instead of empty calories from candy bars. Take a moment to chat to someone else who is in the tearoom with you. And it's a great way to unwind, stretch and socialize in the space of five minutes!
Studies led by Dr. Barbara Rolls at Pennsylvania State University as well as those of Drs. James Barnard and Christian Roberts at UCLA, who are following people attending the Pritikin Longevity Center, are particularly enlightening. They have documented that one of the best ways of reducing calorie intake without triggering increased hunger is to reduce the calorie density of the foods consumed. Put simply, a bowl of pasta with veggies and marinara can fill us up just as well as a bowl of pasta with cheesy Alfredo, but for less than half the calorie cost.
What if we told you that you could make 20 percent of your belly disappear this year—poof, just gone? Penn State University researchers compared those who consumed avocado oil with those who consumed a flax-safflower oil blend. Those on the avocado oil diet—just three tablespoons daily did the trick—lost nearly 2 percent of their belly fat in just one month. For more ways to enjoy big, bold flavors, burn flab with these 8 Fatty Foods That Make You Skinny.
Of course, ladies also lose abdominal weight quickly -- they just tend to have less of it. "Women with excess fat around the middle will lose it more or less as readily as men," says upwave review-board member David Katz, MD, MPH, the founding director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center at the Yale University School of Medicine. "Men are more prone to gain weight around the middle."
Here’s the full shopping list for exactly what to buy, and check to make sure you have a few pantry staples on hand. Morris recommends starting on a weekend, so you can make a big pot of veggie soup, and give your body a chance to adjust before diving into a busy week. Her plan cuts carbs for the first couple of days, before slowly reintroducing whole grains. And if you want to mix it up, there are lots more options for healthy snacks, just make sure to get a serving of fruit or vegetables, along with protein.
With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of 40 foods that have been proven to jumpstart weight loss and will help you get to your ideal physique. To jumpstart your weight loss, we’ve selected some nutritious eats, like salsa, that are lower-calorie substitutes for less healthy choices (we’re looking at you, ketchup). And others, such as watermelon, contain certain compounds that have been scientifically proven to reduce the size of your waist and help reduce body fat. Scroll down below for a list of a few dozen weight-loss wonders, and get even more health-conscious inspiration from this list of the 40 Things Healthy Cooks Always Have in Their Kitchen!
The upgrade is a touch steeper than it is for other tracking app upgrades — most run $4–5 per month. But we found that those inexpensive alternatives were chaotically organized and slow to respond, elements that had us avoiding opening them at all. SparkPeople and Lose It! both came with lots of lag time and finicky search bars that made us hesitant to launch the apps, let alone log in three or more times a day.
Even listening to music while you eat can lead to weight gain, according to a study published in the journal Appetite. Research showed that people who listened to music ate more food, and it didn’t matter the pace or volume of the music playing. It’s best to focus on the food you’re eating while you’re chowing down, which help you tune in to signals of feeling full.
“Research continues to support the role of a high-protein diet and weight loss, however, we don’t want to reach those protein needs exclusively with animal proteins. Plant proteins found in beans not only help us feel full and stabilize blood sugar but beans are associated with longevity. Who cares about being skinny if you die young?” —Jennifer McDaniel, MS, RDN, CSSD, LD, food and nutrition expert
A fat-burning superfood, grapefruit contains a compound that can lower the fat-storage hormone insulin, which in turn can lead to weight loss. In fact, eating half a grapefruit before each meal could help you lose up to a pound a week—even if you don't change anything else about your diet. Because grapefruits are 90% water, which fills you up, they also act as a natural appetite suppressant.
How many calories should I eat a day? A calorie is an amount of energy that a particular food provides. Consuming more calories than needed will result in weight gain, consuming too few will result in weight loss. How many calories a person should eat each day depends on a variety of factors, such as age, size, sex, activity levels, and general health. Read now
Christy is a spokesperson, nutrition and food writer and blogger for Huffington Post and others, a recipe developer and YouTube video producer. She is regularly interviewed by CTV National News, CBC, The Globe and Mail and many more on nutrition and health. She has her finger on the pulse of the latest nutrition and food science and trends, and synthesizes and prioritizes it just for you.
The difference in body composition (muscle loss and dehydration), metabolic effects, and the return of weight has been reported (9, 10). In a meta-analysis study, weight return had been reported in most participants (77%), who followed WL diets (11). In a classification of diets based on calorie restrictions and speed of WL, diets are divided to rapid WL, moderate WL, and slow WL.
Becky Duffett is a contributing nutrition editor for Fitbit and a lifestyle writer with a passion for eating well. A former Williams-Sonoma cookbook editor and graduate of San Francisco Cooking School, she’s edited dozens of cookbooks and countless recipes. City living has turned her into a spin addict—but she’d still rather be riding a horse. She lives in the cutest neighborhood in San Francisco, spending weekends at the farmers’ market, trying to read at the bakery, and roasting big dinners for friends.