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.
You may think hand sanitizer will zap germs and prevent you from getting sick, but it could also be making you fat. Hand sanitizer contains triclosan, which researchers have found to be an “obesogen,” meaning it could cause weight gain by disrupting your body’s hormones. A study published in the journal PLOS One found that people who had detectable levels of triclosan in their bodies were associated with a 0.9-point increase in body mass index (BMI). If you’re really worried about germs, it’s best to rely on good ol’ soap and water.
To stay motivated and deal with cravings, Juge has a couple of great recommendations. First, schedule a cheat meal on every seventh day. "Many of my clients have their cheat meal on Sunday, so then they're ready for Monday and the week to come," he says. If you feel deprived during the week, concentrate on the cheat meal to come, knowing you can eat absolutely anything you want to—pizza, lasagna, doughnuts, beer, chips, you name it. Remember, though, it's just one cheat meal, not an entire day of cheating. Afterward, get right back on the wagon with your next scheduled meal.
Chop 1 small sweet potato into 1/2 -inch cubes. In a skillet coated with 1 teaspoon olive oil, sauté cubes, 1 minced garlic clove, and 1/4 teaspoon cumin for 15 minutes. Add 1/2 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained; cook 5 more minutes. Fill 3 warm corn tortillas with bean-and-potato mixture, 1 tablespoon salsa, and 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro.
At first, Samantha says she hated the bitter taste and had to force herself to drink it. But soon, Samantha was sipping on green tea and lemon every morning. She then began drinking one cup each hour at work and finished off the day with one while watching TV—a total of nine cups of green tea every day. After just one month of this regimen, Samantha dropped nearly 15 pounds.
Spice up your favorite foods with a few dashes of hot cayenne pepper sauce. Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin, an appetite suppressant; a study in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who ate capsaicin consumed 200 fewer calories at the next meal. Not only will this help you cut back on calories and boost weight loss, but researchers have also found that capsaicin can help you lose belly fat and lose weight fast.
In 2009, the FDA warned that it had discovered 72 over-the-counter weight loss products that could potentially compromise consumers' health. Among the ingredients in these 72 products were a number of unreported pharmaceuticals, including rimonabant, a drug not approved for use in the U.S., and the anti-seizure medication phenytoin. Possible side effects of these drugs include heart attacks, seizures and strokes.
“It’s far more difficult to eat a healthier diet and fit in exercise if you don’t plan ahead. Plan out your meals for the week ahead and go grocery shopping over the weekend to ensure you have the ingredients you need on hand. If you can, do some meal prep in your down time—cut fresh veggies, marinate your protein, cook up a batch of whole grains in advance. When you’re prepared you’re far less likely to order takeout. — Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN, culinary-nutrition consultant and founder of Nutritioulicious
We’re constantly updating our coverage on the latest research involving dark chocolate. The health benefits are seemingly endless. Cocoa contains flavonoids and polyphenols, nutrients that have strong potential health benefits. For one, frequent dark chocolate consumption (twice a week) is linked to lower BMI, according to a study published in the Journal Internal Medicine. “A small square of chocolate can satisfy a chocolate craving while keeping calories in check,” Zeratsky explains, which is what the study concluded, too. People who ate modest amounts of dark chocolate had better mood and activity levels, ate more fruits and vegetables, and ate less saturated fat.
But fear not, you are not destined to a steady diet of carrot sticks and bird food. In fact, a wide assortment of the right “thin” foods can help you lose weight. The key things to look for: Foods with high water content, high-fiber foods, and calcium. All of these will help you feel full longer and thus eat fewer calories in the long run. Sorry, until Godiva starts filling their truffles with water instead of chocolate cream, they don’t make the list. But lots of other luscious foods do.
I started by making very gradual changes like cutting out soda and limiting drive-thru meals and junk food. Over time, I started adding more fruit and veggies into my diet, and my taste buds started to change. I would actually crave a banana instead of a Snickers bar as a snack. And even though I was eating out fairly frequently, I made a deal with myself that I had to have at least two home-cooked meals a week. Eventually, I started cooking a majority of my meals at home.
VLCDs are doctor-supervised diets lasting several weeks. The meals are nutritionally balanced, but expensive -- people can end up spending thousands of dollars over time. VLCDs safely produce a loss of 15% to 25% of body weight in 12 weeks. That's for those who finish the program: 25% to half of people don't complete the program. Weight returns when the diet is stopped and happens rapidly; some experts say its best to take a more sustainable approach to weight loss comparable to that of regular diets.
"When going out for fast food, I used to get the large-size value meal. Now, I satisfy a craving by ordering just one item: a small order of fries or a six-piece box of chicken nuggets. So far, I've shaved off 16 pounds in seven weeks, and I'm on track to being thinner than my high school self for my 10-year reunion later this year." —Miranda Jarrell, Birmingham, AL
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.
“Preliminary evidence suggests that if someone is already eating a low-fat, portion-controlled diet and then they get three servings of nonfat milk a day, they lose more weight than someone who eats the same number of calories but doesn’t have the milk,” Somer says. The theory is that calcium may inhibit the storage of fat, and it seems that the weight loss comes largely from the midsection.
While we’re on the subject of water, why not throw a few lemon slices into the hydrating and satiating beverage? In addition to adding a pop of color and flavor to a tall glass of H2O, lemon can also help encourage weight loss. Just one of the bright citrus fruits contains an entire day’s worth of vitamin C, a nutrient that has the power to reduce levels of a stress hormone called cortisol that triggers hunger and fat storage. Additionally, lemons also contain polyphenols, which researchers say may ward off fat accumulation and weight gain.