New studies reveal interesting new ways to cut calories…without even trying! These behavior changes will help you food yourself full and are designed to help fat-proof your body from the unhealthy food environment that we’re all exposed to every day.
Cut Portions Up to Cut Calories
A new study from Arizona State University found that cutting up high-calorie foods into bite-sized pieces may help you eat fewer calories of that food and help increase satiety. In the study, adults were provided either an uncut of bagel cut into quarters. Twenty minutes after the bagel was consumed, subjects were told that they could eat as much or as little from lunch.
Subjects who received the single, uncut bagel ate more calories from both the bagel and the test meal than those who received the multiple-piece bagel. This shows that food cut into multiple pieces may be more satiating than a single, uncut portion of food. Previous animal-model studies also show that animals will seek out food that looks like there is more of it, (cut into smaller pieces) rather than the same amount of food that’s in one single piece. Every time you go to eat a new piece of the food, you have a conscious decision in your brain to start it. Once you start a piece of food, we are genetically programmed to finish that single portion, whether we’re hungry or not. If your food is cut into smaller portions, you may be more likely to stop eating when you are satisfied. Since portions of foods are often served so large these, days, this is an important strategy that may help you feel full with less food.
Turn Down The AC to Up Your Weight Loss
I just returned from a week’s vacation in western Michigan, where I grew up. I timed my vacation to a nasty heat wave. Think 90+ degrees and high humidity. I didn’t have AC, so a dip in Lake Michigan or a cold shower was my only way to beat the heat. The good news: I didn’t feel hungry the entire time I was there and I only really craved light, cool foods like fruit, salads and grilled chicken and veggies.
Now, there’s research that confirms what I was experiencing…going without AC can help you cut calories.
AC allows us to feel comfortable inside no matter how hot it is outside. However, since the inception of AC, Americans waistlines have ballooned and this is especially true in the warmest area of the country. Researchers believe that turning down or off your AC will help you lose weight in a few ways: 1) You’ll be hotter so you will lose your appetite. When you’re hot, you’re not as hungry. It just happens. 2) When your temperature rises, your body works harder to cool itself. (Just like it does when you’re cold and you burn more calories to keep your body warm).
Another new study from the University of Minnesota examined the diet and activity behaviors of more than 400 adults who had lost at least 10% of their body weight in the year prior to the start of the study.
The subjects were asked questions such as, how many times during the past week they ate regular meals, ate after 7 p.m., ate while watching TV), ate out, or purchased and ate convenience foods.
In addition, subjects reported how often they weigh themselves. They also reported how often they counted calories, wrote down what tehy ate, used meal replacement products or a diet to help manage their weight. They also reported how often they planned exercise to manage their weight.
The authors concluded that four important factors was associated with the most weight loss and maintenance success. They included: eating regular meals (Breakfast, lunch, dinner daily, which was associated with greater recent weight loss and greater fruit and vegetable intake. Greater TV related viewing and eating was associated with increased risk for being overweight and higher fat and sugar intake. More eating away from home was related to greater fat and sugar intake, lower fruit and vegetable intake, and less physical activity. Greater use of weight control strategies was most consistently related to better weight, diet, and physical activity outcomes.
Bottom line? Eat regular meals, limit time spent watching TV and don’t eat while watching the tube, limit meals eaten out as much as possible (and when you eat out, stick to your resolve to eat well) and never stop being aware of what you’re about to eat and whether or not you really want it…or can afford the calories.
–Julie Upton, MS, RD, CSSD