Study reveals how much fat a person needs to lose to make them look more attractive.
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Study reveals how much fat a person needs to lose to make them look more attractive.
How changing the timing of meals can boost weight loss.
Changing when meals are eaten can be enough to double weight loss, multiple studies have found.
The simplest weight loss option is to shift calorie consumption to earlier in the day.
Eating more calories for breakfast and less in the evening is linked to weight loss.
Unfortunately, the modern trend in society is to eat smaller breakfasts and larger evening meals, which is linked to weight gain.
A related weight loss approach is to delay breakfast and eat an earlier supper — compressing eating into the middle of the day.
One study told people they could eat what they liked between a breakfast delayed by 90 minutes and a supper eaten 90 minutes early.
The results showed they lost double the body fat, despite not being on any specific diet or changing their lifestyle in any other way.
Eating earlier also helps to improve sleep and blood sugar levels.
A recent review of studies concluded that people tend to eat more of their daily calories in the evening than ever before — a worldwide trend that is leading to weight gain.
Dr Gerda Pot, study co-author:
“There seems to be some truth in the saying ‘Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper’, however, this warrants further investigation.
Whilst we have a much better understanding today of what we should be eating, we are still left with the question as to which meal should provide us with the most energy.
Although the evidence suggests that eating more calories later in the evening is associated with obesity, we are still far from understanding whether our energy intake should be distributed equally across the day or whether breakfast should contribute the greatest proportion of energy, followed by lunch and dinner.”
The study was published in the Proceedings of the Nutrition Society (Almoosawi et al., 2016).
The best pieces of advice from people who have successfully maintained their weight loss.
People who have lost weight and managed to keep it off report that there are four main strategies that help them achieve their goal.
First, people kept themselves motivated to lose weight by thinking about the improvement in their appearance and second the medical benefits they were gaining.
Third, weight-loss maintainers persevered despite setbacks and, fourth, they continued to track food intake and weight.
Professor Suzanne Phelan, the study’s first author, said:
“One of the most impressive findings was how weight-loss maintainers described perseverance in the face of setbacks.
Weight-loss maintainers saw setbacks as part of their successful journey.
Setbacks were not described as failures.
They were seen as a temporary interruption in their path.
Many weight-loss maintainers described getting back on track at the next meal or the next day and measuring overall success based on long-term goals.”
The conclusions come from a study of over 6,000 members of Weight Watchers who had lost over 50 pounds, on average, and kept it off for over 3 years.
For the study, participants were asked about their motivations and strategies related to weight loss.
Four of the biggest themes were:
One of the most important ways that people motivated themselves was by looking back.
Here is a quote from one anonymous weight-loss maintainer:
“What motivates me is the thought of gaining all that weight back and the negative impact it would have on me.
I don’t know if I would have the energy to start over.
It is better for me to stay within a couple pounds of goal weight and take it off when necessary.”
And another said:
“Fear of going back to the way I was and throwing all these years down the tubes.
It took me too many years to reach goal and it was a hard road.”
Again, appearance was a big motivator, said many, such as this person:
“How I feel physically and how I look physically.
I love being able to do whatever activities I choose to and my boundless energy.
I feel physically beautiful again and I love buying clothes!
Looking at my before pictures keeps me humble, recalling my “non-scale-victories” keeps me motivated daily.”
The biggest rewards people described from weight loss were major improvements in:
Some negative points were unexpected criticism, clothing costs and sagging skin.
The study was published in the journal Obesity (Phelan et al., 2022).
Food cravings can be beaten with relatively simple tricks, according to recent research.
One of the biggest barriers to weight loss is food cravings.
The effect of food cravings on weight gain may be even greater than that of genetics.
However, food cravings can be beaten, according to recent research.
Techniques such as changes in diet, exercise and even medications can all help reduce food cravings.
One tip the study revealed was that it is better to remove a food that you crave from your diet completely.
Eating a food less frequently is proven to reduce cravings for it.
Other tips for overcoming food cravings include using your imagination, going for a walk, having a large breakfast, chewing gum and using distractions.
These and more are explained in this previous article: How To Stop Food Cravings.
Dr Candice Myers, the study’s first author, said:
“Craving influences what people eat and their body weight, but there are some components of our behavior and diet that we do have control over.
Being mindful of these desires gives us more control of them.”
The conclusions come from a review of 28 studies on food cravings.
These demonstrated that losing weight itself tends to reduce food cravings.
However, exercise tends to increase food cravings.
Dr John Apolzan, study co-author, said:
“The upside of craving is that it is a conditioned response that you can unlearn.
It’s not easy, but it can be done.”
One previous study has shown that green spaces, like gardens, parks or allotments, can help people overcome food cravings.
People who experience natural spaces have reduced cravings for unhealthy foods.
Previous studies have also shown that exercising in nature reduces cravings of all different types.
Dr Myers said:
“Food craving is an important piece of the weight-loss puzzle.
It doesn’t explain weight gain 100 percent.
A number of other factors, including genetics and eating behavior, are also involved.”
The study was published in the journal Current Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Obesity (Myers et al., 2018).
Compared to a Mediterranean diet, this diet works better for weight loss and blood glucose levels.
A head-to-head comparison of the vegan diet with the Mediterranean diet shows that the vegan diet is superior for weight loss.
A low-fat vegan diet can cause weight loss, improve body composition, reduce cholesterol levels, and lower blood sugar levels more than a Mediterranean diet.
A study put a group of overweight adults on either a Mediterranean diet or low-fat vegan diet for 16 weeks.
The low-fat vegan diet was completely free from animal products and consisted of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and legumes.
They also received vitamin B12 at a dosage of 500 µg per day during the entire study period.
The energy content of the vegan diet was from carbohydrates (75 percent), protein (15 percent), and fat (10 percent).
The Mediterranean diet plan was similar to the PREDIMED study (Prevention with Mediterranean Diet).
It consisted of low-fat dairy, legumes, fruits and vegetables, nuts or seeds, extra virgin olive oil, whole-grain cereals, eggs, and fish but saturated fats and red meat were avoided or limited to one serving per week.
All participants continued their routine exercises and didn’t need to change their regular medication unless told by their doctors.
Here is a summary of findings:
Dr Hana Kahleova, the study’s co-author, said:
“Previous studies have suggested that both Mediterranean and vegan diets improve body weight and cardiometabolic risk factors, but until now, their relative efficacy had not been compared in a randomized trial.
We decided to test the diets head to head and found that a vegan diet is more effective for both improving health markers and boosting weight loss.”
The researchers suggest that the weight loss from the vegan diet is related to its fewer calories, higher fibre, and lower fat intake.
Dr Neal Barnard, the study’s author, said:
“While many people think of the Mediterranean diet as one of the best ways to lose weight, the diet actually crashed and burned when we put it to the test.
In a randomized, controlled trial, the Mediterranean diet caused no weight loss at all.
The problem seems to be the inclusion of fatty fish, dairy products, and oils.
In contrast, a low-fat vegan diet caused significant and consistent weight loss.”
The study was published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition (Barnard et al., 2021).
This highly effective weight loss technique is done in under 15 minutes per day.
Spending just 15 minutes per day keeping a food diary predicts the most weight loss, research finds.
People who simply noted down what they ate while dieting lost an average of 10 percent of their body weight.
Other studies have shown that food diaries can double weight loss.
The key to more weight loss — on any diet — is monitoring food intake quickly and consistently, day after day.
While people think a food diary will be time-consuming, this study shows it is not.
Professor Jean Harvey study co-author, said:
“People hate it; they think it’s onerous and awful, but the question we had was: How much time does dietary self-monitoring really take?
The answer is, not very much.”
The study included 142 people who were followed over 24 weeks.
They took part in an online weight management program led by a dietician.
Participants logged their food intake online and how much activity they did.
They noted down all the calories and fat for the food they at, as well as the portion size and preparation method.
The results showed that those who logged in more often to record their food intake lost the most weight.
Professor Harvey said:
“Those who self-monitored three or more time per day, and were consistent day after day, were the most successful.
It seems to be the act of self-monitoring itself that makes the difference — not the time spent or the details included.”
Having the right expectations helps people stick to their task, said Professor Harvey:
“We know people do better when they have the right expectations.
We’ve been able to tell them that they should exercise 200 minutes per week.
But when we asked them to write down all their foods, we could never say how long it would take.
Now we can.
It’s highly effective, and it’s not as hard as people think.”
The study was published in the journal Obesity (Harvey et al., 2019).
Belly fat reduced by 11 percent in just one week.
A very low calorie or ‘crash’ diet can lead to losing 5 percent of body weight in just one week, research finds.
The diet can also reduce belly fat by 11 percent across the first week.
People in the study went on a crash diet, involving eating just 600 to 800 calories per day.
This is around one-third, or less, of the recommended daily intake of calories.
To achieve this calorie intake, people often replace normal meals with shakes, soups and bars that are specially formulated.
In addition, crash diets involve drinking a lot of water, milk and possibly taking fibre supplements.
However, people with heart problems should be wary of rapid weight loss as it can reduce heart function initially, the researchers found.
Dr Jennifer Rayner, the study’s first author, said:
“Crash diets, also called meal replacement programmes, have become increasingly fashionable in the past few years.
These diets have a very low calorie content of 600 to 800 kcal per day and can be effective for losing weight, reducing blood pressure, and reversing diabetes, but the effects on the heart have not been studied until now.”
The study included 21 obese people who ate just 600 to 800 calories per day.
After one week they had lost 6 percent of their body weight, 11 percent of their visceral fat and 42 percent of their liver fat.
Set against this, fat content in the heart had increased by 44 percent, which led to a deterioration in heart function.
After the full eight weeks of study, though, heart function had returned to normal.
Dr Rayner explained:
“The metabolic improvements with a very low calorie diet, such as a reduction in liver fat and reversal of diabetes, would be expected to improve heart function.
Instead, heart function got worse in the first week before starting to improve.
The sudden drop in calories causes fat to be released from different parts of the body into the blood and be taken up by the heart muscle.
The heart muscle prefers to choose between fat or sugar as fuel and being swamped by fat worsens its function.
After the acute period in which the body is adjusting to dramatic calorie restriction, the fat content and function of the heart improved.”
Dr Rayner advises checking with your physician before starting a intense diet if you have a heart problem:
“If you have heart problems, you need to check with your doctor before embarking on a very low calorie diet or fasting.
People with a cardiac problem could well experience more symptoms at this early time point, so the diet should be supervised.
Otherwise healthy people may not notice the change in heart function in the early stages.
But caution is needed in people with heart disease.”
The study was presented at CMR 2018 in Barcelona (Rayner et al., 2018).
Two of the most popular diets were compared by researchers.
Two of the most popular weight loss techniques are equally effective, recent research concludes.
Both continuous dieting and intermittent fasting are effective and lead to the same amount of weight loss, the study finds.
People on either diet lost around 6 percent of their body weight across six months.
Continuous dieting involves cutting down on calories each day by around the same amount — this is a classic diet.
Intermittent fasting involves dieting heavily for a period and then stopping for a period.
The periods of fasting and eating normally vary:
Continuous diets may be easier for people to stick to, though, this study found.
For the research, 100 obese adults were split into three groups.
One group reduced their calorie intake by 75 percent one day and then feasted on an extra 25 percent of their normal intake of calories the next day.
The other group followed a ‘normal’ diet, by just restricting their calorie intake by 25 percent every day.
Effectively, both groups ate the same amount of calories.
The results showed that both groups lost the same amount of weight compared to a third control group.
The study’s authors conclude:
“The results of this randomized clinical trial demonstrated that alternate-day fasting did not produce superior adherence, weight loss, weight maintenance or improvements in risk indicators for cardiovascular disease compared with daily calorie restriction.”
However, people found the traditional continuous diet easier than intermittent fasting, so this may prove a better option for many.
The authors write that:
“…these findings suggest that alternate-day fasting may be less sustainable in the long term, compared with daily calorie restriction, for most obese individuals.”
The study was published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine (Trepanowski et al., 2017).
Up to 50 percent of people may have a deficiency in this vitamin.
Taking vitamin D supplements can boost weight loss, help shed belly fat and control blood sugar levels, research finds.
Previous studies have shown that people who are dieting lose 20 pounds more when they have high vitamin D levels.
Vitamin D at higher levels in the body is also associated with burning belly fat.
One study has shown that drinking milk, which contains calcium and vitamin D, can double weight loss.
Up to 50 percent of people may have a vitamin D deficiency.
A deficiency in this vitamin has been linked to increased inflammation in the body.
Foods rich in vitamin D include eggs, oily fish like salmon, mushrooms, dairy and foods that are fortified with it, including cereals and juices.
The current study included 121 women with vitamin D deficiency and pre-diabetes.
Half were given vitamin D supplementation of 60,000 IU once per week over eight weeks.
After their vitamin D levels were returned to normal, they were given 200 IU per day to keep them at a healthy level.
The other half were given a placebo.
The results showed that women taking vitamin D lost more belly fat and demonstrated better glucose regulation.
The study’s authors explain the results:
“In this carefully designed randomized control trial of 18 months duration, we show significant decrease in the following; FBG [fasting blood glucose], 2-h blood glucose post OGTT [oral glucose tolerance test], HbA1c, and truncal subcutaneous fat [belly fat] (as measured by skinfolds) with vitamin D intervention.”
Vitamin D helps the body to absorb calcium.
Higher calcium levels appear to reduce the desire for food.
A deficiency in calcium, though, can drive the appetite as a way of obtaining more of the essential mineral.
The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports (Bhatt et al., 2019).
Study participants lost weight without dieting or making other lifestyle changes.
Taking a vitamin D supplement is repeatedly linked to weight loss by studies.
People taking vitamin D lose weight without dieting or making other lifestyle changes.
Adding in dieting and exercise can help to boost weight loss even more.
One study has shown that people drinking more milk, which contains vitamin D and calcium, can double weight loss.
The new study included 50 overweight and obese women.
Half of them received doses of vitamin D equivalent to almost 10,000 IU per day over six weeks.
The study’s authors write:
“Previous studies had shown that the vitamin D deficiency is more prevalent in obese people and there was an inverse association between vitamin D, body mass index, and weight.”
The other half received a placebo that they were told was vitamin D, but was in fact inert.
The researchers measured people’s weight, waist and hip circumference, cholesterol and other biological markers, before and after supplementation.
The results showed that people taking vitamin D lost 3.5 pounds after taking vitamin D for six weeks.
The study’s authors explain the results:
“The findings of this double-blind clinical trial study in obese and overweight women aged 20–40 years showed that supplementation of the vit D with dozes 50,000 IU/w for 6 weeks reduced significantly the mean BMI [body mass index], weight and on the other hand, it increased significantly the level of vit D in comparison with the control group.”
The average weight loss was around 3.5 pounds in the vitamin D group compared with no change in the control group.
Around half the world’s population is deficient in vitamin D.
Foods that are rich in vitamin D include oily fish and eggs, but most people get their vitamin D from the action of sunlight on the skin.
The study was published in the International Journal of Preventative Medicine (Khosravi et al., 2019).