This article describes research-based nutrition related weight loss tips that will help you increase your chances of controlling your weight and promote weight loss. Make them part of your daily routine to see the difference.
Obesity is a cause for concern because of its ability to allow other health problems such as metabolic diseases e.g. diabetes, cardiovascular disease, inflammation, and cancer.
There are several organized weight loss strategies to help you control your waistline. But following a trendy/edgy weight loss diet or regime may not be beneficial because of unrealistic goals and adherence issues.
Instead, making small changes in your diet or nutrition can go a long way because food is one of the most important aspects of weight management.
1) Stop Drinking Your Calories
In the past few decades, the use of sweetened drinks has been drastically increased. This has also coincided with the epidemic of obesity.
Sweetened sugary drinks provide little to no nutrition benefits yet they pack a lot of energy. That’s why they cause rapid weight gain. This has been confirmed by research. Drinking sugary drinks is associated with an increase in high-calorie intake and an increase in body weight (1).
Alarmingly, today more sugar-sweetened drinks are consumed compared to milk and fruit or vegetable juices.
In 2015, an assessment done in 187 countries showed that Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) were consumed in the highest quantities compared to milk and fruit juice.
Moreover, the younger population consumed more SSBs compared to older adults (2). This shows a rapid change in eating habits in the past 20 years.
According to research, taking calories in the liquid form leads to less satiety (feeling of fullness) and more weight gain compared to the same calorie amount in solid form (3).
Taking solid food is preferable compared to drinking food to increase your chances of feeling full and eating fewer calories.
Unless you’re making a smoothie or any liquid meal as a replacement meal, liquid calories such as sugary drinks should be avoided.
Sugary drinks and liquid calories are high in calories and have less satiety. Avoiding them can greatly help your weight loss efforts.
2) Drink More Water
Water intake is a very underrated aspect of many weight loss programs but water can be a greater helper in your weight loss quest.
Water promotes weight loss in two ways. First, at least a short-term result of water consumption increases satiety and reduction in the feeling of hunger (4).
Second, water consumption is associated with lipolysis (fat burning). Increased water intake is associated with increased energy expenditure. Drinking 2 liters of water per day can increase energy expenditure increase by about 100kcal (5,6).
Premeal water research shows that drinking 500mL of water prior to main meals leads to more weight loss with a low-calorie diet (7). Thus, drinking water before your meal could be beneficial for weight loss.
Research also shows that people who are following weight-loss diets or programs benefit greatly from increased water consumption (8).
So, if you’re looking to lose weight loss, increasing your water intake is beneficial.
Drinking water before meals and during the day helps weight loss and increases the feeling of fullness.
3) Eat Fibrous Food
Food composition is one of the important aspects of your weight loss strategy. Fiber is good for our digestive system.
The American Heart Association recommends a daily dietary fiber intake of 25-30g but currently, only 15g of fiber is consumed by the average American per day. Increased fiber consumption promotes a decrease in energy intake due to satiety and a greater weight loss (9).
Many people give up on weight loss programs early on because of a lack of adherence to diet programs. But increasing dietary fiber is associated with adherence to the weight loss plan (10).
Taking isolated fiber supplements also promotes weight loss (11).
Although supplementation may help with weight loss, a natural fiber from food should be the preferred way to increase your fiber intake.
Fiber is not only great for digestion, but it is also great for increasing the feeling of fullness.
4) Read Food Labels
Reading food labels may seem very trivial but it can be really helpful in your weight loss efforts. It will get you into the habit of seeking nutritional information.
Studies have shown that the use of nutritional labels is associated with healthier diet choices (12).
Adherence to a particular diet can be improved by strictly reading nutritional labels.
People opt for food items with fewer added sugars when the nutrition label shows added sugar information on food items (13).
Therefore, reading labels can lead to choosing items few added sugar items.
Moreover, health-conscious individuals are more likely to read nutritional labels (14). Thus, reading labels can reinforce your effort to be conscious of food ingredients for weight loss efforts
People make better food choices by getting nutritional information about what they eat. The habit of reading food labels will have long-term weight loss benefits.
5) Avoid Snacks
Snacks are readily available food items. They are also the reason for an increase in daily calorie intake (15).
There is no established definition of snacks but a comprehensive definition is “any food taken out with a regular meal time (namely breakfast, lunch, and dinner) or snack item taken in place of such meal.” (16).
Therefore, food items consumed out of regular meals are considered snacks.
However, our understanding of snacks is mostly limited to readily available food items such as sugary drinks, biscuits, candies, and potato chips. These items should be avoided.
Several observations have shown that snacks and sugary drinks are readily available in grocery stores. Overweight and obese individuals consumed more snacks compared to normal weight individuals (17,18,19).
Thus, snacks are associated with increased energy consumption and overweight and obesity.
In summary, cutting down significantly or completely eliminating snacks will help you lose weight.
6) Increase Protein Intake
It is a well-established fact that protein is more satiating than fats and carbohydrates. Both animal and human studies have shown that high protein intake is associated with low-calorie intake, most probably due to the high satiating effect of proteins (20,21).
Moreover, research shows that proteins increase calorie burning via thermogenesis. Also, more protein intake is associated with retention of lean muscle mass because of muscle protein anabolism (growth) (22).
Combining high protein intake with exercise can greatly benefit body recomposition and weight maintenance in women (23).
1.2g of protein per kilogram of body weight is beneficial in body composition and blood pressure. In addition to that, low protein intake is associated with a risk of weight regain (24).
Healthy proteins are meat, poultry, fish, eggs, legumes, cereals, beans, and whey protein (25).
Proteins have high satiety and will keep you full for a long time and help you reduce total calorie intake. Also, proteins promote muscle growth and body composition.
7) Stop Counting Calories
Research shows that reducing calorie intake is only helpful in short-term weight loss (26).
It will not help in your long-term goal of weight loss and management. Over time, a low-calorie diet promotes an increase in levels of hunger-inducing hormones (27).
Therefore, a deliberate low-calorie diet may in fact be harmful to weight loss in the long run. Most people who want to lose weight give up soon after following a low-calorie diet because a long-term low-calorie diet is hard to follow (28).
One study also found that people, in general, don’t like calorie-counting technology. People like to get more help in the form of more nutritional information and motivational support (29).
Eating satiating foods combing with exercise will increase your weight loss chance many folds.
A long-term low-calorie diet is not a winning strategy when your goal is weight loss due to the fact that a low-calorie diet increases hunger-inducing hormones. Also, it’s hard to adhere to a low-calorie diet for a long time.
8) Opt For Home-Prepared Food
People who eat fewer meals at home are at risk of being obese and overweight (30).
Research shows that individuals who cooked more frequently at home consumed fewer calories, fat, and sugars. People trying to lose weight who cooked at home also consumed fewer calories compared to people not trying to lose weight (31).
This suggests that your weight loss effort has a better chance of success if you eat home-cooked meals.
Considering that fast food is cheap and readily available, you are more likely to binge on your favorite fast food item. Home-cooked food is better simply because it will replace the frequency of fast-food visits.
Thus, eating home-prepared food is shown to increase the chance of weight loss due to a reduction in intake of fewer calories, fat, and sugars.
9) Have Some Tea Instead Of Regular Drinks
Alcohol and soft drinks can ruin your goal of weight loss. As explained before, they are high in calories with no nutritional value.
The polyphenols in green tea called catechins are thought to be responsible for weight loss (35).
Moreover, caffeine and catechins both work together to impart weight loss effects. Caffeine and catechine increase energy expenditure and fat burning in normal individuals (36).
In summary, replacing alcohol and soft drinks with green tea will greatly benefit you in your weight loss efforts because green tea increases energy expenditure and fat burning.
Developing and modifying small eating habits can greatly improve your goal of weight loss.
This is could as small as reading the food nutrition labels. Drinking more water, eating more proteins, and avoiding sugary drinks reduce total calorie intake. Following these tips will definitely help you lose weight in long term.