It's tiring to flit from one diet regime to another, and squeeze the discipline into our hectic lifestyles.
Here are 7 diet tricks that according to LiveScience, really work:
1. Avoid Corn Syrup
A study showed rats who drank high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) sweetened drinks gained more weight significantly than the ones who drank regular sugar sweetened drinks.
While more research is needed, the difference could be related to the way each sweetener is processed by the body.
Both are made of fructose and glucose, but in sugar, the two compounds are bound tightly together and require an extra step to metabolize. In HFCS, the glucose and fructose are already separate and so can be absorbed more directly, the study's senior researcher Bartley Hoebel of Princeton University told LiveScience. 2. Don't Become a Junk Food Addict
Just like drugs, junk food can be easily addicted to.
First, many dopamine receptors -- important players in the brain's reward pathway -- disappeared, possibly signaling that more food was now needed to reach previous levels of satisfaction. Behavior also changed; eating these foods became top priority. The rats continued eating even after a light warned them that they would get shocked if they didn't stop.
The behavior parallels both that of compulsive eaters and addicts, said study researcher Paul Kenny of Scripps Research Institute in Florida. "They can't control it even when doctors have warned them, and their relationships suffer," Kenny told LiveScience.
3. Structure Meal and Snack Times
One of the major mistakes Marissa Lippert, a registered dietician and nutrition counselor in New York City, finds among dieters is that they wait too long between mealtimes. Long stretches without food makes people crave energy-dense carbs (pass the bread basket, NOW!) and can make it difficult for people to make healthy choices and watch portion sizes when they do eat. It may also compromise metabolism, she said.
4. Eat Breakfast
This is one of the most consistent diet tip, however this tip tells you to eat more protein at breakfast than carbs.
In one study, men ate one of two breakfasts, each with an equal number of calories, and then ate freely for the rest of the day. The men who had a protein-rich breakfast (scrambled eggs and toast) not only reported feeling less hungry at lunchtime, but also ate about 400 fewer calories over the following 24 hours, when compared with men who had the carb-rich breakfast (a bagel with low-fat cream cheese and low-fat yogurt.)
Protein has long been known as the most satiating food source, although the extra fat in the egg breakfast could have also contributed to the long-lasting satiety. While the study was funded by the Egg Nutrition Center, senior researcher Maria Fernandez of the University of Connecticut said "other types of protein could have the same effect, including tuna, chicken, meat and steak." One might want to avoid manufactured protein supplements, however. 5. Avoid Processed Food
Simply favoring whole fresh foods over processed ones will naturally lower the glycemic index of your diet and optimize the healthiness of your food choices, she said. Whole foods, such as fresh fruit, vegetables and meat, are also easier to keep in proper portions, while processed foods, such as candy, juice drinks and refined grains, are easy to consume in amounts that are too large.
Processed foods are often identifiable by their long ingredient lists, Lippert told LiveScience. "If there is more than three or five ingredients that you can't pronounce, that is not a good thing to eat. And the fewer the ingredients the better." 6. Change Your Environment
Changing your food surroundings may help you curb excessive munching - for example having smaller plates, or keeping sweets and snacks out of reach to reduce the amount of times you reach out to grab it.
"These types of changes are much easier to follow than saying you will eat smaller meals, substitute fruit for sweets, or give up chocolate and French fries," said Brian Wansink, the study's lead researcher and author of "Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think" (Bantam, 2007), in a statement. 7. Savor Your Food
Allowing yourself to enjoy and appreciate your food. By this we mean take the time to eat your food slowly and savor its taste. Eat away from the telly and mindless eating and pay attention to your food.
When we pay attention to what we eat -- its color, texture, freshness and seasonings -- we are satisfied in a deeper way than stuffing of our stomachs could ever accomplish. In this way, we maximize the pleasure of our meals, while eating an amount best for our bodies. And, according to Lippert, if you truly take the time to savor each luscious bite, you will be surprised how much less will satiate you.
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