Diets usually have a shelf life and after a while we inevitably give in to temptation and devour our favourite treats and snacks, but not all foods typically branded as unhealthy have the expected effects. Some foods, when consumed carefully, can be both delicious and helpful to weight loss, providing some relief to the endless regime of salads and fruits, as healthy and beneficial as they can be.
Sometimes we just need something sweet or packed with carbs to satisfy our cravings and hunger, but do not despair as there are some alternatives that provide relief from our limiting diets. These surprising alternatives can be a much needed respite (or should that be rest bite) from our weight loss diets, without being overly detrimental to the dreaded scales.
It may not be the first food choice that springs to mind when embarking on a diet, but research findings suggest that eating chocolate in moderation could actually make you slim. This is not an excuse to binge on chocolate ice creams and cakes, but small amounts of chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, can have some benefits to weight loss.
The study conducted by the University of California tested the theory that, as chocolate is believed to increase your metabolism, these benefits may cancel out the calories consumed. The results suggested that chocolate may not only be calorie neutral; but can also help you lose weight.
The researchers discovered that adults who consumed chocolate frequently had a lower BMI than those who didn’t, despite them often eating more calories and not exercising as much. Discretion should be given to these results, but nibbling on the occasional bit of chocolate can actually help weight loss, particularly by satisfying any cravings you might struggle with when cutting out foods.
If you’re experiencing cravings for dessert or fried foods, the good news is you can indulge – so long as you do it first thing. Many people have adopted the new craze of “bresserts”, consuming higher calorie and tastier foods for breakfast, in place of the simple lower calorie foods.
Researchers from Tel Aviv University found that participants who ate a 600-calorie breakfast which included dessert, lost an average of 40lbs more than those who had a smaller 300-calorie one. Our metabolisms are highest in the morning, burning off our food at a higher rate compared to other points in the day, and so indulging in less health foods and bigger meals won't be detrimental to your weight loss but may in fact be beneficial.
Eating more calories at breakfast ensures not only that these calories will be burnt off as the day goes on, but can also satisfy your cravings and hunger through the day.
Eating more calories at breakfast ensures not only that these calories will be burnt off as the day goes on, but can also satisfy your cravings and hunger through the day. Diets can sometimes be very restrictive and cause us to crave unhealthy foods more, eating these unhealthier foods earlier in the day can satisfy our hunger and desire for these foods. The study showed that fewer participants in the high-calorie breakfast regained weight in the follow-up, showing that indulging occasionally at breakfast can help you not only lose weight, but keep it off.
According to The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra), one third of people believe that beer has more calories than other alcoholic drinks. However, this is actually a myth, research by Camra found that having beer instead or wine or alcopops could in fact help you lose weight. Wines, spirits and alcopops actually contain high amounts of sugars, a major factor to piling on weight.
Particularly when drinking spirits, mixers contain a vast amount of calories and fat, and so choosing gin instead of beer may seem healthier, yet your calorie consumption may be higher because of the pop your choosing to accompany it. While taking up a drinking habit will clearly do your waistline no favours, the study suggests that making the switch to beer could help keep regular drinkers trim. In fact, Camra’s research shows that substituting wine for beer for just one week could save as many calories as you would burn in a half-hour jog.
When embarking on a diet we immediately think we have to cut out fat, but this is not true, it actually all depends on the kind of fats you eat. Eating highly saturated fatty foods such as fast food will inevitably do damage to your waistline, but choosing food that are low in saturated fats, and high in monounsaturated fats are actually extremely beneficial.
Foods rich in good fats such as omega-3 fatty acids can not only boost your health, they can also help you lose weight. Studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids can increase feelings of satiety and fullness, helping you to eat less, along with the numerous health benefits that follow, including your brain, cardiovascular system and even depression. Monounsaturates decrease the amount of cholesterol in the blood which can prevent cardiovascular disorders such as heart disease and angina.
Studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids can increase feelings of satiety and fullness, helping you to eat less...
Furthermore, a study by the University of South Australia found that participants who took omega-3 rich fish oil supplements and exercised three times a week, lost more weight than those who exercised alone. It is believed that this is because omega-3 improves the blood flow to muscles, increasing the benefits of exercise and helping you to burn off more calories.
You may think that skipping meals will keep you slim, but eating more frequently could in fact be more beneficial. Weight loss is determined essentially by burning off more calories than you consume, making it tempting to skip meals and reduce calorie intake, but this however can have the opposite effect.
While eating too much food can cause you to gain weight, eating too little can also make it surprisingly difficult to shed those pounds. As your body has a natural instinct to protect itself, it will automatically go into starvation mode if not given enough fuel, causing the metabolism to slow down and the body to hoard fat and calories.
Rather than skipping meals or lowering your calorie intake too drastically, opt for regular small and healthy meals alongside regular exercise. It is advised to consume around 5 or 6 smaller meals throughout the day, keeping your metabolism burning those calories, instead of slowing it down which skipping meals can do.
All of these surprising facts help you control food cravings and keep your weight down, however all of these elements are dependent on moderation. Eating chocolate and drinking beer can have beneficial effects, but if consumed excessively, will only hinder your progress. It is therefore important to remember to control your diet, anything, even healthy foods, can be harmful to your weight loss and so moderation and balance are key to a healthy diet.