Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Ten ways to lose weight without hunger

By: Dr. John Briffa

"Eat fewer calories than you burn" has been the weight loss mantra for decades now. The problem is cutting back on food and taking more exercise almost inevitably makes people hungry, which can make positive changes quite unsustainable in the long term. In this article I offer some practical solutions to this by outlining several approaches that can help put the body in "caloric deficit" and promote weight loss without any need to go hungry.


While there is an element of truth in the calorie principle, it neglects the fact that different types of calories are burned differently in the body. While fat is often singled out for attention in low calorie approaches, there is evidence that when calorie intakes are the same, individuals that eat most fat actually lose the most weight. Also, the effect that a food has on subsequent appetite will determine, ultimately, its influence on food intake and weight. The key to long-term weight loss is not to concentrate on the quantity of the food that you consume, but its quality.


Calorie for calori, protein has been found to satisfy the appetite more than either carbohydrate or fat. Protein-rich foods that are naturally appetite-sating and therefore, worth emphasizing in the diet include meat, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds.


THE GI is a measure of the speed and extent to which foods release sugars into the bloodstream. The higher a food's GI, the less satisfying it tends to be. Of 20 studies published between 1977 and 1999, 16 showed that low GI foods promote the satisfaction derived from that meal and/or reduced subsequent hunger. Protein rich food have very low GIs, though other options include beans, lentils and most fruits and vegetables (other than potatoes).


For many, eating breakfast helps to prevent over-eating later in the day. The phenomenon was studied formally in research published in the Journal of Nutrition. This study showed that those who had consumed the bulk of their food near the end of the day ate, on average, significantly more calories than individuals who ate more substantial amounts of food early on. So, to put a natural break on the appetite, make sure you don't skip breakfast.


If we get too hungry , it's difficult to control what and how much we eat. Eating between meals (maybe some fruit and a few nuts in the late morning or afternoon) can make us likelier to eat more healthily at meal times. Also, consistent eating has been found to be associated with lower levels of insulin, a hormone that can be cause weight gain in the body by stimulating the production of fat.


When none-too-healthy food is easily available to us, it can be difficult to resist. On the other hand, if it's not in the cupboard or fridge, we can't eat it. So don't buy it. Critical to achieving this with relative ease is to make sure that our food shopping, especially in a supermarket, is not done when we are hungry. So eat before you go shopping, rather than after.


One way to reduce the intake of unwanted calories is by reducing alcohol intake. Some drinking may be driven by taste and the relaxing effects alcohol are perceived to have. However, what is less well recognised is that drinking can also be driven by plain thirst and hunger. Maintaining hydration during the day and not walking into a bar or restaurant very hungry can really help to curb alcohol intake without any sense of sacrifice.


Adequate portions of food can easily get "lost" on big plates, so there can be a tendency to serve and eat more than is strictly necessary. Using smaller plates and bowls can help make it easier to eat just enough rather than too much.


Eating more slowly helps ensure that food is more likely to register in the body and reduces the risk of eating more than is really required. Ideally, food should be thoroughly chewed before swallowing. It can also help not to touch our remaining food or our cutlery again until the food that has actually been put in the mouth has been thoroughly masticated and swallowed.


Physiological studies show that different people metabolize specific foods with different levels or efficiency. For instance, some individuals are very good metabolizes of fat, while others run best on carbohydrates. Maintaining a healthy weight is, therefore partly about feeding the body with the foods it is better adapted to process. For more details on this and on how to discover your ideal diet, see http://www.thetrueyoudiet.com


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