Summer Slimming Lessons
great ways to go from thick to thin
Recently, as part of a research project, I reviewed hundreds of weight-loss studies and found some surprising ways in which nutrition science is remarkably clear and straightforward. So, with apologies to Dr. Atkins, Suzanne Somers, and all the other noted weight-loss experts, I humbly present the undisputed masters of the midsection.
1. To lose weight, you must cut calories
The low-fat/low-carbohydrate debate comes down to this: You still have to eat fewer calories than you burn if you want to lose weight. Every study I looked at shows this. The perfect weight-loss diet is the one you can live with, whether you cut fat, carbs, or some combination.
2. Use whey to cut waist
Protein-rich foods put more distance between hunger pangs. And the fuller you feel between meals, the easier it is to avoid binges.
The best food for appetite destruction: whey protein. A daily shake made with two scoops of whey protein, fruit (fresh or frozen berries or a banana), and water or crushed ice will improve your middle line. You can buy whey protein at any good health-food store.
3. Meat kills fat
When you eat, your body has to expend calories to digest the food. Protein causes this inner fire to burn the hottest, followed by carbohydrates, followed by fat. Animal proteins increase thermogenesis more than vegetable proteins, so the best calorie-burning foods are lean meats. So eat some protein at each meal--build your dinner around lean chicken, beef, or pork. That way, you're burning the most calories through digestion at the end of the day, when your metabolism is slower.
4. If it's fryin', you're dyin'
One thing that every weight-loss researcher and diet-plan author can agree on: Highly refined carbohydrates, such as fructose-sweetened beverages and low-fiber breads, are a terrible idea. Among the many sins of Mountain Dew and Twinkies is the way they cause your blood sugar to spike soon after eating. What goes up fast comes down fast, and you end up feeling tired and hungry much sooner than you should.
Now we know of a way to make refined carbohydrates even worse: Fry them. Researchers have found a suspected carcinogen called acrylamide in such products as potato chips and french fries.
A "suspected" carcinogen isn't the same as a proven carcinogen, such as tobacco smoke. But anytime I get a chance to talk you out of eating worthless snack foods, I do it.
5. Food goes farther with fiber
Fiber's effect is the opposite of snack foods'. When you have fiber in your stomach, food takes longer to enter the bloodstream, and your blood-sugar level stays steady.
The benefits: You'll have a more consistent energy supply and less between-meal hunger. The only potential downside is that you won't get as much reading done in the bathroom. What slows down your blood sugar at the front end speeds things up at the back end. I could give you the usual riff about eating more broccoli and raisin bran, but you can safely and easily take in more fiber by using a supplement. (MD Labs' Fiber-Psyll is a good one; go to MDlabs.com.) Start with 7 to 12 g a day, mixing some with water and drinking it before your main meals.
6. Count on calcium
Recently, nutrition researchers discovered that dairy and other calcium-rich foods help you stay lean, prevent osteoporosis, and possibly prevent colon cancer. The recommendation is to take in 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams (mg) of calcium a day. (A cup of milk contains 300.) Unfortunately, too much calcium may increase the risk of prostate cancer. The tragic number seems to be 600 mg a day from dairy products.
7. Use omega-3 fats
Each year, we learn more about the health benefits of omega-3 polyunsaturated fats, which are found in fish, nuts, seeds, and flaxseed and fish oils.
These health benefits--less risk of heart disease and diabetes, for example--are great on their own. But omega-3 fats contribute to a better physique as well. For example, omega-3s reduce inflammation throughout your body. That not only prevents heart attacks (inflammation in the tissues surrounding blood vessels is a major cause) but also helps your muscles recover faster from workouts.
8. Drink More Water
Keeping yourself hydrated will help wash away the fat and additional proteins you are eating. Don't forget to drink plenty of water! What I suggest is adding the juice of half a lemon to 32 ounces of water with a sprinkle of Steviva Brand Stevia Powder . Aside from being less than 2 carbs, you will get the health benefits that the stevia provides along with the vitamin C and electrolytes that lemon have. You can substitute limes for lemons if you get bored. Click here to order stevia powder.
9. Make a plan
Next time you read a weight-loss story in a newspaper or magazine, count the number of disparaging references to popular diets. Based on the way diet gurus trash their competitors, you'd think there was no plan on earth that actually works. But the truth is that you can't lose weight without a diet.
You must have a plan. The more sophisticated it is, and the more tailored to your likes and dislikes, the better. You can't wing it and expect to see results. I won't offer you the perfect weight-loss regimen, because research has yet to discover one. But even the worst plan is more likely to succeed than no plan at all.