When it comes to health and fitness, there’s a whole lot of noise out there. For every piece of sound, factual fitness and health advice out there, there are hundreds of others that are merely opinions or fads. Should you go gluten free? Is keto the way to go? What about paleo? Are carbs good for you? Is juicing the secret to success?
With so many different sources of information it can be hard to differentiate between the advice you should pay attention to and what you should disregard. Here are a few weight-loss and eating strategies supported by research that are worthy of your consideration.
Drink Before You Eat
You may have heard that you should start each meal with water and wondered if it really makes a difference. Well, a 2015 study in the journal Obesity found that overweight people who drank 16 ounces of water one half hour before their meals lost an average of about 3 pounds more weight over a 12-week period than those who did not. Drinking water in advance expands your stomach, curbs hunger and makes you feel fuller at mealtime.
Count Your Bites
You’ve heard that counting your daily steps is a proven way to increase your activity level and burn more calories. Turns out that counting your daily bites will help you lose weight too. Sound silly? A 2015 study from Brigham Young University encouraged volunteers to count bites of food taken each day for a week to obtain a baseline bite total. Afterward, subjects were told to reduce their total bites each day by 20%- 30% for the next 4 weeks without changing anything else in their diet or lifestyle. At the end of the study, participants lost an average of 4 pounds. Rather than calculating and counting calories, keeping track of your bites is an easier way to self regulate your food intake.
Eat More Beans
Study data shows that people who include more beans and legumes in their regular diets have an easier time achieving and maintaining healthier body weights. Beans are an excellent source of plant-based protein and dietary fiber, which can fill you up on fewer calories. So, consider a bean salad for lunch, replacing a meat based dinner each week with a legume dish like chili and snacking on dips like hummus to up your bean intake.
Go Light at Night
Most people eat light at breakfast and have their biggest meal at dinner, but research suggests that reversing this is a better idea if weight loss is your goal. One study examined the eating habits of more than 1,200 middle-aged adults. Researchers saw a substantially higher obesity risk for study participants who consumed half or more of their daily calories at dinner. Similarly, a study in the journal Obesity discovered that subjects who consumed more calories at breakfast and fewer later in the day (700-calorie breakfast, 500-calorie lunch, 200-calorie dinner) had greater fat loss around their waistlines than those who took in substantially more calories at dinner than at breakfast. This could be because we burn more calories earlier in the day when our metabolisms are higher. Insulin sensitivity may also fall as the day progresses, so there is a greater chance that the carbohydrates consumed will get stored in fat.