The bottom line is that the only way to lose weight is to create a calorie deficit by eating fewer calories than your body burns for energy. There are many ways to accomplish this, and targeting added sugars and replacing them with stevia is an easy and tasty fix.
Research has shown that subjects given stevia-containing foods or beverages consumed fewer calories throughout the day. (2,3)
The Truth About Added Sugars
It seems like everything we read talks about avoiding carbs and sugar.In the U.S., the average intake of added sugars reaches up to 270 calories or more than 13 percent of calories per day based on an average 2000 calorie diet.
Not surprisingly, the largest source of added sugars in the typical diet is beverages, including soft drinks, fruit drinks, sweetened coffee and tea, energy drinks, alcoholic beverages, and flavored waters. They account for almost half (47%) of all added sugars consumed by the U.S. population.
The other major source of added sugars is snacks and sweets.(1) Most people don’t realize how much sugar they consume from other sources like marinades, sauces, salad dressings, yogurt, crackers and other items that don’t “seem sweet.”
The 2015-2020 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting added sugars to less than 10% of total calories or about 50 grams per day based on 2000 calories.
If your body needs fewer calories based on size, age, and activity level, the gram limits are even lower.
To take it a step further, the American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugars to 24g grams per day (6 teaspoons) for women and 36 grams per day (9 teaspoons) for men.
It’s obviously an area of concern in our standard American diet as the term “added sugars” appeared 138 times in the dietary guidelines report!
Knowing Your Limit for Added Sugars
Simply put, consumption of added sugars can make it difficult for people desiring to lose weight to meet their nutrient needs while staying within calorie limits.
Whenever anyone restricts total calories, everything eaten needs to contain more nutrients to make sure you get what you need for proper fueling while limiting total calories. One of the simplest strategies is to limit added sugars.
Why? Because they are more often found in foods that do not provide quality vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that we look for to help prevent lifestyle diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancers.
That’s where products like stevia fit in.
Can Stevia Help with Weight Loss?
Since stevia is a plant-based, zero-calorie sweetener with a taste 50-350 times sweeter than sugar, a little goes a long way. By substituting stevia for sugar in your daily routine, there are many ways to cut total calories and sugar grams.
Using stevia to sweeten your coffee or tea (hot or iced), saves 16 calories per teaspoon over sugar. A few cups per day with a few teaspoons each can really add up quickly. Each stevia packet is formulated to equal the sweetness of 2 teaspoons of sugar. Take some with you to your favorite coffeehouse or restaurant and add your own.
Instead of eating pre-sweetened Greek yogurt with up to 20 grams of sugar, start with the plain variety and add your own stevia, vanilla extract, cinnamon and fruit.
Swap stevia for sugar, honey or maple syrup in your oatmeal, homemade salad dressings, baked goods and other recipes that call for sugar. Even subbing in ½ the amount in a recipe can make a big difference.
We would love to hear your sugar swap success stories. How do you enjoy Pyure Organic Stevia?
Anton SD, Martin CK, Han H, Coulon S, Cefalu WT, Geiselman P, Williamson DA. Effects of stevia, aspartame, and sucrose on food intake, satiety, and postprandial glucose and insulin levels. Appetite 2010;55:37–43.
Tey SL, Salleh NB, Henry J, Forde CG. Effects of aspartame-, monk fruit-, stevia- and sucrose-sweetened beverages on postprandial glucose, insulin and energy intake. Int J Obes (Lond) 2017;41:450–7.
Is stevia dangerous for our health? Can stevia affect fertility levels? If stevia is safe, what amount is safe for us to eat? What other sweeteners are safe to eat? What sweeteners does Dr Greger recommend? Are there any studies on the safety of stevia? Keep listening as Dr Michael Greger answers these questions…….
[…] potassium) Virgil’s Zero sodas (sweetened with stevia) Zevia soda products (sweetened with stevia) Diet Coke with Splenda (sweetened with a mix of sucralose and acesulfame potassium) Hansen’s diet sod […]
[…] you! Drink: –Water –Tea w/ no sweetener—if you have to have sweetener investigate something like Stevia –Diet soda if you can’t kick the habit Plus you can have 3oz of any of these Chicken Beef Turkey Seafoo […]
Whatever the latest diet or exercise trend, whatever bullshit lines the personal trainer at the gym is feeding you, and whatever the latest scientific research is telling us, losing weight revolves around one factor and only one… CALORIES. Consume more than your body burns in day, whether through your natural basal metabolic rate, your day to day activities or exercise and you will gain weight. This is known as a calorie surplus. Burn more than you consume and you will lose weight. A calorie deficit. It really is as simple as that.
The more significant gulf between energy consumed and energy used you are capable of generating, the more quickly you will lose weight. Whilst the component parts of the equation are simple, the way you go about solving it is a little more complicated, particularly if it is to be sustainable. It’s very easy to tell yourself to eat less and be more active, but a lot harder to actually do it consistently for long enough to see results.
There are of course lots of ways in which you can manipulate both your diet and exercise regime in order to give yourself the best opportunity to both lose weight and then maintain those losses as part of a healthy lifestyle.
You can’t help but be aware of the health risks associated with being overweight. Whether it be online, on the TV or in magazines and newspapers, the information is everywhere. As a society we have become increasingly concerned with healthy living and in particular diet and exercise. And rightly so. These areas represent an enormous challenge to millions of people all over the world.
Excess weight, and in particular, obesity, negatively impacts almost every facet of health. As well as the widely known increases in the risk of life altering and deadly diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancers, your reproductive and respiratory functioning, memory and mood can also be severely compromised.
I think the motivation for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight are pretty clear.
This is where we get back to that all important important equation:
Calories consumed – Calories burned = Energy balance
Negative energy balance = calorie deficit = weight loss
Positive energy balance = calorie surplus = weight gain
The two easiest ways to influence your energy balance? Diet and exercise!!
There should be little surprise that what you eat (and drink) and how much of it you eat (and drink) determines your calorie intake for a period of time. Consequently, one of the simplest ways in which you can alter your energy balance is by consuming fewer calories. Over an extended period of time, provided the adjustments are significant enough to create an energy deficit, you should lose weight.
Eating less than your body is used to all of a sudden, unfortunately, is easier said than done. There are, however, a few strategies you can implement in order to give you the best chance of success.
Ditch the sugar:
Sugar is the devil. It is addictive. Eat more of it than you can burn off and your body stores it as… FAT! Excess fructose (sugar) in your blood causes elevated insulin levels. This prevents the body from accessing stores of fat for its energy demands and results in the brain telling you that you are hungry.
Moreover, sugar also causes leptin resistance. Leptin is a hormone which helps us release fat from stores to be used as energy. Ergo it tells the brain that we have enough energy supplies and we don’t need to eat. Increased levels of fructose in the blood raises the level of triglycerides, which block the transmission of leptin from the blood to the brain. The brain thinks the body is starving and tells us to eat more than our energy demands require. Thus we gain weight.
Sugar has also been shown to have very little effect on our feeling of fullness relative to the number of calories being consumed. That my friends is a slippery slope. One which isn’t going to help anyone lose weight, nevermind lose it quickly.
See, I told you sugar was the devil!
The good news is, the less sugary foods you consume, the less your brain craves them and the less you eat. All YOU need to do is break the cycle.
Here are a few top tips to help you cut back your daily sugar intake:
Avoid drinking calories. That means fruit juices as well as the more obvious sodas.
Reach for an apple rather than the candy. Whilst fruit obviously contains sugar, your body responds very differently to fructose in comparison to heavily processed, sucrose rich foods. Fruit can also be a great way of satisfying any cravings for sweet foods you may have without the drawbacks of regular chocolate binges.
Avoid pre packaged ‘convenience’ type foods which are often high in added sugar. The best way of knowing exactly what you’re putting in your body is by making your meals from scratch as much as possible.
Up the protein, fat and veggies:
When it comes to losing weight, protein is king. Studies have demonstrated that protein may boost the metabolism by up to 100 calories per day. That’s energy you’re burning simply sitting on the sofa twiddling your thumbs.
What’s more, high protein diets have also been proven to reduce cravings and make you feel fuller for longer. All of which are going to help you achieve the all important calorie deficit required for meaningful weight loss.
Low carbohydrate vegetables (normally the green ones), like broccoli, spinach, lettuce, cucumber (you get the idea) are a great way of filling out your meals without adding excess calories. Vegetables have a high fibre content which means they not only provide volume but also take longer to digest meaning you stay fuller for longer. They also provide you with some really important vitamins and minerals which will help keep your immune system in tip top shape. It’s a win all round really.
Whatever you do, don’t neglect fat. This is probably one of the most counterintuitive aspects of weight loss nutrition. Eating foods high in fat surely makes you fat? Provided you’re consuming the right kinds of fat (unsaturated and naturally occurring) rather than those found in heavily processed foods then they are a hugely important part of a balanced healthy diet and can help you lose weight.
By upping your fat intake in relation to your carbohydrate intake you can create an environment in which fat loss is actually more optimal. As already discussed, our consumption of carbohydrates releases insulin. The more carbs you eat, the more insulin your body produces and the harder it is for your body to access fat stores for energy purposes. Therefore, by replacing some of the calories you consume through carbohydrates with fat, you will reduce your insulin levels which will in turn make it easier for your body to access fat stores for energy at the same time as allowing fat to enter and fuel your muscles. Winning!
All low fat diets do is reduce your body’s capacity to burn fat and increase its ability to burn carbohydrates. Hormones such as adiponectin, which help boost your metabolism and break down fat cells are also inhibited.
Foods high in fat are also much better than those high in carbohydrates at making you feel full for longer. When the fat you eat enters the small intestine it releases hormones including cholecystokinin and peptide tyrosine tyrosine, which both play a major role in the regulation of your appetite. The more full you feel after eating, the less inclined you will be to dip into the snack cupboard or go for seconds, all of which is going to help you consume fewer calories in the long run!
As with anything in life, moderation is the key. Foods high in fat are calorie dense. So whilst upping your intake in replacement of carbohydrates is definitely a good idea if you want to lose weight, if you don’t take care of the all important energy balance then you won’t see the changes you want to.
Cutting carbs from your diet all together is simply not sustainable. They are after all the most prolific source of energy for our bodies. There are, however, some sources of carbohydrate which will make it much easier for you to lose weight than others. Complex carbohydrates, such as those found in foods like oats, beans, brown rice, quinoa and lentils take much longer for your body to breakdown than simple sugary carbs. Whilst all carbs are eventually broken down into glucose, the longer this process takes, the longer you will feel full and the more nutrients your body will absorb from what you eat.
Feeling fuller for longer means you’re more likely to eat fewer calories and thus more likely to achieve that all important calorie deficit.
One of the most common mistakes people make when they are looking to lose weight quickly is to adopt a very low calorie diet. Whilst this will obviously achieve the negative energy balance required, there are some significant disadvantages to such a strategy.
Your metabolism goes up for two to three hours after any meal as a result of the extra metabolic processes required to digest food and absorb its nutrients. Consequently, the less you eat the slower your metabolism becomes.
Your body has a tendency to treat huge reductions in calorie intake as a period of food scarcity (that’s evolution for you). As a result your body becomes more efficient at performing the basic functions which keep you alive and thus you burn less energy and your metabolism slows.
Moreover, you hold on to more fat in order to increase your chances of survival. Even worse, as muscle takes more energy to support than fat, your body will break it down before it breaks down it’s stores of fat.
Eating regularly and ensuring your body never enters this survival mode will help to keep your metabolism ticking along at an optimal level.
Drink more water:
Drinking more water can help you lose weight in a number of different ways. Most fundamentally, it increases the number of calories that you burn at rest. In fact, energy expenditure has been shown to increase by up to 30% within 10 minutes of drinking water.
Are you hungry or just thirsty? You would be surprised at the number of occasions when you feel hungry but are actually just dehydrated. Next time you feel the urge to eat, have a drink of water and see if it satisfies your ‘hunger’. The signals from our brain which tell us if we are hungry or thirsty can get a little confused, which means we have tendency to eat when we actually need to drink.
As water is completely free of calories, making sure we are suitably hydrated before we resort to grabbing a snack is a great way of reducing excess calorie intake and finding the negative energy balance which is so fundamental to weight loss.
Whilst thinking carefully about what and when we eat and drink should be one of the cornerstones of any weight loss strategy, there is another key way in which you can ensure your body is operating in a calorie deficit. EXERCISE.
Controlling what we eat takes care of the energy we consume, but upping how much exercise we do is the easiest way to increase the amount of energy we use.
The more active you are the more calories you burn and the greater your potential calorie deficit will be. This doesn’t mean, however, than you need to spend hours and hours on the treadmill or spin bike each day in order to give you the best chance of losing weight.
In fact, most research suggests that engaging in shorter burst of high intensity exercise is far more beneficial to both overall health and weight loss. Intense activity will increase your basal metabolic rate for up to 24 hours after exercise; increase levels of fat oxidation in the muscles; and lead to significant jumps in growth hormone levels, which help to burn fat.
As a result, a 20-30 minute HIIT session is actually going to be more beneficial to both your health and weight loss goals than an hour plodding on the treadmill at steady state. Efficiency is the name of the game here.
Circuit based training is a great way of introducing yourself to HIIT based workouts, particularly if you don’t necessarily want to fork out for a gym membership. Click here for a great whole body workout perfect for helping you shift that excess weight!
Larger muscles burn more calories. Simple as that. The more lean muscle you have the more calories your body will burn at rest. In other words, having more muscle increases your everyday base metabolic rate. The metabolic demand of muscle is greater than it is for fat.
Muscle is constantly being broken down, recreated, and synthesized, all of which requires energy. So not only will you be increasing the number of calories you burn during exercise, but you will also increase your energy demands at rest, both of which will make it much easier for you to achieve the negative energy balance required for weight loss.
The best way of building muscle is to ensure you include some resistance based strength training in your regular exercise routine.
Studies have shown that your metabolism can be elevated for up to 38 hours after strength training, which means you’re energy use will be elevated for the best part of 2 days after your session. Boom!
If it isn’t already clear, the single most important factor in the management of your weight is the relationship between the amount of calories you consume through eating, and the amount you burn through staying alive and exercising.
If you consistently exist within a calorie surplus, you will gain weight. If you consistently exist within a calorie deficit, you will lose weight. It really is as simple as that. If you eat unhealthily but maintain a negative energy balance then you will lose weight just as if you eat healthily but maintain a positive energy balance you will gain weight. It’s all about calories in and out.
However, from a nutritional perspective, you will obviously give yourself the best possible chance of losing weight if you stick with some of the simple tips already discussed like ditching sugar, upping your protein intake and ensuring you drink enough water.
Your calorie consumption is, however, only one side of the equation. For most efficient weight loss results, you should definitely pay some attention to how much energy you burn too. The most efficient way of increasing the energy demands you place on your body? Probably some kind of combination of HIIT and strength training. Remember, this type of training will not only allow you to burn calories whilst you exercise, but will also help you burn more when you’re chilling on the sofa. That, my friends, is what we call a win win! Post navigation
Are there any ways to lose weight besides diet and exercise? There are many tricks that can help you lose a bit of excess weight in just 2 weeks. We’re going to share with you 15 tips that can help you get rid of excess belly fat. Most people don’t even know about these tricks! Science proves that people burn less fat when they sleep during the day and are active at night. A group of researchers from the University of Colorado studied 14 healthy people for 6 days. During the first 2 days, subjects slept during the night and didn’t have daytime naps. Then they changed their sleeping patterns to imitate owls’ sleeping schedules. It turned out that when people took a nap, their metabolism worsened since their biological clocks didn’t completely flip to fit their schedules.
The coronavirus pandemic has changed a lot about modern American life: how we work, socialize, and even how we eat. Dining out is a distant memory.
But nutritionally, people weren’t exactly thriving in pre-pandemic America. “Before COVID-19 came along, it was increasingly clear that the diet quality and nutritional status of Americans was terrible,” says Dr. Walter Willett, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
More than 40% of U.S. adults are obese. After years of declines, heart disease death rates are on the rise again. So are rates of obesity-linked cancers among younger people. Poor diets are the number-one cause of poor health in the U.S., according to a 2018 study published in JAMA.
Now that Americans are eating most meals at home, might our diets actually improve?
Researchers are just beginning to study how people are feeding themselves during the pandemic, and while there is no robust data yet, the shifts are obvious. “People are eating almost every meal at home, which is a huge change,” says Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, a cardiologist and dean of the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science.
By necessity, Americans are cooking more; web traffic to cooking and recipe websites is surging. In an April survey of about 1,000 American adults, by the food and beverage communications firm HUNTER, about half said they were cooking and baking more now than before the pandemic, and 38% were ordering less takeout and delivery.
FAQ: How Can You Safely Grocery Shop in the Time of COVID-19? Here’s What Experts Suggest
As coronavirus spreads globally, grocery shopping has become one of the most anxiety-producing yet necessary activities for millions of people around the world.
It’s possible that a shift toward home cooking, if it persists, could eventually lead to reductions in chronic diet-related illnesses, like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension and obesity. Eating a healthy diet is linked to a longer life, and “one of the biggest predictors of eating a healthy diet is eating at home,” Mozaffarian says. His new research published in April in the Journal of Nutrition found that Americans get about 21% of their calories from restaurants—and most of that food is of poor nutritional quality.
“Restaurant foods tend to be fairly unhealthy,” he says; there’s a lot of variation depending on the restaurant and what you order, but typical menu offerings at large chains, for example, are high in sodium, calories, saturated fat and sugar. Cooking puts you in control of the ingredients that end up in your meal.
But he and other experts emphasize that on a population level, any long-term improvements caused by increased cooking are likely to be small compared to the bad health effects of this crisis. Besides the devastating toll of the coronavirus itself, stay-at-home orders limit physical activity, social isolation likely increases loneliness (which is linked to heart attacks and stroke) and job loss destroys people’s access to health care.
Unhealthy foods are also still in wide circulation. Flour, sugar, canned soups and alcohol—not exactly staples of a wholesome diet—have all surged in U.S. sales during the pandemic. Health officials are urging Americans to go grocery shopping as infrequently as possible, boosting the appeal of highly processed foods, which last longer than fresh but are loaded with sugar, fat and salt and linked to a higher risk of cancer . The stress of the pandemic may also make people want to bake batches of cookies and load up on processed snacks, since foods like these can comfort people in scary times.
Just because a meal is cooked at home does not mean it’s healthy—and not everyone has the same opportunity to prepare meals with healthy ingredients, says Julia Wolfson, an assistant professor of health management and policy at the University of Michigan School of Public Health.
Wolfson is conducting a national survey of low-income adults to find out how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting their eating behaviors and food choices. “It matters if you have access to fresh vegetables and fruit, or if you have the income to buy perishable foods that are less processed and less energy-dense than a lot of the more shelf-stable, highly processed foods.” Her past research has found that the relationship between cooking more frequently and having a better diet only holds true for higher income households.
She and others expect the pandemic to widen the nutritional disparities between wealthier and working-class Americans. More than 26 million people have filed for unemployment since mid-March, and there is now unmeetable demand at food banks and a spate of sign-ups for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, which aren’t always sufficient or easy to obtain even in the best of times.
“For people who are able to work from home and have kept their jobs and have a stable source of income—and who are now not eating out as much as they were before and cooking at home more—we are going to see this relationship with better diet quality,” Wolfson predicts. But for others who have lost their jobs or who live in neighborhoods where produce isn’t well stocked or grocery delivery isn’t offered, “they might be relying even more than usual on some of these more highly processed foods that are very shelf-stable and affordable, but not very good for you. That also creates an opening for fast-food restaurants that are offering a lot of deals right now to fill that gap for people.”
“It is more expensive to feed a family in this context,” says Sinikka Elliott, associate professor of sociology at the University of British Columbia and co-author of Pressure Cooker: Why Home Cooking Won’t Solve Our Problems and What We Can Do About It. With kids out of school and daycare, families can no longer depend on lunch or breakfast being covered for their children.
And for shoppers on a budget, it’s not just annoying to substitute out-of-stock ingredients at the supermarket; it’s costly. “You can’t shop for sales the way you used to,” Elliott says. “All of these things make it difficult for families who were already struggling before this.” While the pandemic gives many people more time at home—a lack of which is one of the major reasons why people say they don’t cook more—that, too, is uneven. For essential workers or people taking care of children, extra time for shopping and cooking may not exist.
So much variability makes it difficult to predict how the coronavirus pandemic will change how Americans eat, or if these changes will be permanent. But one thing is becoming clear: “The epidemic is likely affecting diets, and our diets are likely affecting who dies,” says Willett.
He is now studying how people’s diets are linked to their outcomes if they get infected with the coronavirus. Research is finding that major risk factors for being hospitalized for COVID-19 include diet-related conditions, like obesity, hypertension and Type 2 diabetes. “If we had a metabolically healthy population, the risk of hospitalization from COVID could be dramatically lower,” Mozaffarian says.
“Poor metabolic health is devastating for resilience of the population,” he adds. “We need a healthier food system through better policy, not just the random chance disaster of restaurants being closed.”
Every year a new batch of diets become trendy. In the past, the blood group, ketogenic, Pioppi and gluten-free diets were among the most popular. These have made way for the mono diet, charcoal detox, Noom, time-restricted feeding and Fast800.
So what are these new diets and is there any scientific evidence to support them?
The monotrophic or mono diet limits food intake to just one food group such as meat or fruit, or one individual food like potato or chicken, each day.
The mono diet has no scientific basis and no research has been done on it. It’s definitely a fad and should not be followed.
It leads to weight loss because your food intake is so limited (one food per day) that you get sick of that food very quickly and so automatically achieve a reduced kilojoule intake.
If you ate three apples at each main meal and had another three as between-meal snacks then your total kilojoule intake from the 12 apples would be about 4,000 kilojoules (950 calories).
The mono diet is nutritionally inadequate. The nutrients most deficient will depend on the individual foods consumed, but if you follow the mono diet long term, you would eventually develop vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
2. Charcoal detox
The charcoal detox diet claims to help people lose weight by “detoxing” them. It involves periods of fasting and consumption of tea or juice drinks that contain charcoal.
It is definitely not recommended.
Medical professionals use activated charcoal to treat patients who have been poisoned or have overdosed on specific medications. Charcoal can bind to some compounds and remove them from the body.
There is no scientific evidence to support the use of charcoal as a weight loss strategy.
Charcoal detox plans also include dietary restrictions or fasts, so people might lose weight because they’re consuming fewer kilojoules.
Charcoal is not selective. It can bind to some medications and nutrients, as well as toxic substances, so there is the potential for charcoal to trigger nutrient deficiencies and/or make some medications less effective.
The Noom diet isn’t actually a diet at all. It is a smartphone app called Noom Coach that focuses on behaviour change techniques to assist with weight loss. It allows users to monitor their eating and physical activity, and provides support and feedback.
The Noom diet does not provide a diet plan, but it gets users to record within the app, all foods and drinks consumed. It then uses a traffic light system (red, yellow, green) to indicate how healthy the foods are.
One advantage of Noom is that is doesn’t eliminate any foods or food groups, and it encourages healthy lifestyle behaviour change to assist with weight loss.
A disadvantage is that while you can download the app for a free short-term trial, membership is about A$50 per month for four months. And additional services cost extra. So consider whether this approach suits your budget.
Time-restricted feeding is a type of intermittent fast that involves restricting the time of day that you are “allowed” to eat. This typically means eating in a window lasting four to ten hours.
While energy-restriction during this period is not a specific recommendation, it happens as a consequence of eating only during a shorter period of time than usual.
The difference between time-restricted feeding compared to other intermittent fasting strategies is that recent research suggests some metabolic benefits are initiated following a fasting period that lasts for 16 hours, as opposed to a typical overnight fast of ten to 12 hours.
Further research is required to determine whether any health effects of time-restricted feeding are due to regular 16-hour fasting periods, or simply because eating over a small time window reduces energy intake.
If this approach helps you get started on a healthy lifestyle and your GP gives you the all clear, then try it. You will need to follow up with some permanent changes to your lifestyle so your food and physical activity patterns are improved in the long term.
The Fast800 diet by Dr Michael Mosley encourages a daily intake of just 800 calories (about 3,350 kilojoules) during the initial intensive phase of the Blood Sugar Diet.
This lasts for up to eight weeks and is supposed to help you rapidly lose weight and improve your blood sugar levels. You can buy the book for about A$20 or pay A$175 for a 12-week online program that says it includes a personal assessment, recipes, physical and mindfulness exercises, tools, access to experts, an online community, information for your doctor and advice for long-term healthy living.
Two recent studies provide some evidence that supports these claims: the DiRECT and DROPLET trials.
In these studies, GPs prescribed patients who were obese and/or had type 2 diabetes an initial diet of 800 calories, using formulated meal replacements. This initial phase was followed by a gradual reintroduction of food. Participants also received structured support to help them maintain the weight loss.
Both studies compared the intervention to a control group who received either usual care or treatment using best practice guidelines.
They found participants in the 800 calorie groups lost more weight and more of the adults with type 2 diabetes achieved remission than the control groups.
This is what you would expect, given the intervention was very intensive and included a very low total daily energy intake.
But the low energy intake can make the Fast800 difficult to stick to. It can also be challenging to get enough nutrients, so protocols need to be carefully followed and any recommended nutrient supplements taken.
Fast800 is not suitable for people with a history of eating disorders or health conditions such as liver disease. So if you’re considering it, talk to your GP.
When it comes to weight loss, there are no magic tricks that guarantee success. Have a health check up with your GP, focus on making healthy lifestyle changes and if you need more support, ask to be referred to an accredited practising dietitian.
Clare Collins is affiliated with the Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition, the University of Newcastle, NSW. She is an NHMRC Senior Research and Gladys M Brawn Research Fellow. She has received research grants from NHMRC, ARC, Hunter Medical Research Institute, Meat and Livestock Australia, Diabetes Australia, Heart Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, nib foundation, Rijk Zwaan Australia and Greater Charitable Foundation. She has consulted to SHINE Australia, Novo Nordisk, Quality Bakers, the Sax Institute and the ABC. She was a team member conducting systematic reviews to inform the Australian Dietary Guidelines update and the Heart Foundation evidence reviews on meat and dietary patterns.
Lee Ashton is affiliated with the Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition at the University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia.
Rebecca Williams is affiliated with the Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition at the University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia.
Want a quick and easy way to make good-for-you recipes? Well, here’s how you can easily combine the healthful eating guidelines of the Mediterranean diet with the time-saving convenience of a multi-cooker. To get you started, I’ll share a quick overview of the Mediterranean diet plus easy recipes you can make in your Instant Pot or pressure cooker.
Quick Q&A on the Mediterranean Diet
What is the Mediterranean diet? This popular healthy eating plan emphasizes whole foods, fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, healthy fats such as olive oil and avocado, and proteins such as chicken, seafood, nuts, beans, and legumes. In addition, you’ll cut back on added sugars and processed foods, and eat dairy in moderation. You’ll also cut back on added salt by using fresh and dried herbs to flavor your food instead.
What are the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet? According to the Mayo Clinic, following this eating style can result in a longer life expectancy and lower rates of chronic diseases. In fact, it’s been consistently ranked among the best diets overall.
“I’ve made this recipe twice in the last month and we just love it! The Instant Pot makes it so easy. The only change I made the second time around was to cut the beans back by half a cup (this seemed to make the bean consistency less tough), increased the broth by a quarter cup and used a mixture of chicken breast and thighs. The flavor of this is amazing and it’s just so hearty and perfect for chilly weather days!” — Heidi Nelson Thomas
To keep this easy recipe more in line with the Mediterranean diet, you can reduce the salt by cutting back on the bouillon cubes and bumping up the herbs. “Flavors meld together like they’ve been simmering all day in a fraction of the time. A couple of small changes: I season the chicken prior to sauteeing. Instead of chicken bouillon cubes, I started using Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base as it contains much less salt and seems to have more flavor.” — kirby1kat
Mediterranean diet guidelines suggest you eat fish twice a week. With this easy recipe, you’ll be able to stock up and freeze salmon when it’s on sale, and cook it easily from frozen. “Salmon doesn’t get much easier than this! This turned out so moist and I like how it can be seasoned to individual preference.” — thedailygourmet
“You can have posole without having to stand over the stove for hours. Let your multi-functional pressure cooker do the work for you. Garnish with avocado slices, lime wedges, sliced radish, jalapeno slices, and/or tortilla strips.” — Soup Loving Nicole (May we suggest baked tortilla chips instead of fried?)
“My first thought was maybe I should cut back on the spices cuz it seemed so much, but I am certainly glad I did not! Followed recipe & since I eat dairy free diet, used vegan butter & left out yogurt & this recipe is amazing! I’d give it 10 stars if I could … just that awesome!!” — CCCooks
“This delicious arroz-con-pollo-esque dish is so easy to make with the Instant Pot,” says Diana71. “Colorful, appetizing, and nourishing, this meal comes together in a flash and is chock full of flavor! I hope it becomes your next favorite weeknight meal. Squeeze lime or lemon wedges over if you like!”
Remember when McDonald’s launched the McLean Deluxe in the early ’90s to ride the wave of the low-fat diet era? The burger featured a 91% fat-free beef patty (the secret ingredient was a seaweed extract) and lasted a few years on the menu before it was yanked due to poor sales.
This example brings up an important question: What role, if any, should restaurants play in the latest fad diet or in the chase for the fickle health-conscious consumer in general? After all, restaurant visits have long been considered an indulgence and, from A (Atkins) to Z (Zone), diets come and go quicker than most operators can change a static menu board.
But that hasn’t stopped restaurant concepts from trying. And lately it seems as though there has been a higher degree of success in doing so—at least more so than the McLean Deluxe.
Noodles & Company, for example, just expanded its zucchini-noodle based offerings with two new menu items as part of a new category, “Zoodles and Other Noodles.” In a release, the company said the expansion is in response to overwhelmingly positive guest feedback to its initial Zoodles launch last year. During the company’s Q4 earnings call, executive chairman Paul Murphy said the zucchini noodle is an important step toward the brand’s objective of resonating from a health perspective.
“In fact, during the first few days, it generated over a billion earned media impressions,” he said.
The company is now testing several other menu items highlighting “the ideas of lifestyle goals,” Niccol said. This comes on the heels of the chain’s vegan and vegetarian bowls launch in 2018, which made up 12% of Chipotle’s total meals sold last year.
Even the most famous doughnut concept is getting involved. During Dunkin’s Q1 earnings call, CEO Dave Hoffman specifically called out the success of the brand’s Power Breakfast Sandwich.
“It’s a terrific first step for us into the better-for-you category and proves customers are open to more menu options at Dunkin’,” he said. The company is building off that success with a new egg white power bowl.
Mooyah Burgers, Fries & Shakes just jumped into the specialty diet space with its new line of Lifestyle Burgers, including The Paleo, The Keto, The Low Cal, The Vegetarian and The Gluten-Free. For the former three burgers, the bun is replaced by iceberg lettuce.
Natalie Anderson Liu, Mooyah’s vice president of Brand, said restaurant chains should be quick to respond to consumer dietary preferences and lifestyle trends, no matter how quickly they come or go.
“This is simply a matter of being a good listener to guests. Beyond want, we have found that consumers expect us to have menu items that help them achieve their goals,” she said.
So far, the Lifestyle Burgers launch has been “huge.” Thirty-one percent of guests who ordered one of these options were first-time visitors, Liu said.
“This is incredibly exciting and confirms the relevance of featuring our menu this way,” she said.
Liu believes more chains will toe this line of healthier (“lifestyle”) menu offerings.
Two years ago, Scott Davis was named president of CoreLife Eatery after serving as an executive at Panera for nearly two decades. He has a deep perspective of the industry and confirms there is a growing connection between consumers’ dietary demands and restaurants’ responses.
“Over the last couple of decades, as healthy eating has become more popular, restaurants have mostly played role of a ‘marketplace’–essentially providing healthy options or special menus,” he said. “The key is not getting stuck on one style of eating or dieting. Promoting general wellness, clean sourcing and ‘what works for you’ can help. ‘Healthy’ is different for everyone.”
Davis concurs with Liu that we’re now in an era of “expectation” versus “want” when it comes to restaurants providing healthier options.
“On the flip side, consumers do not want to be told what they should or should not be eating. They do not want to feel judged about eating,” he said.
That being said, it’s important for restaurant brands to stick to their core competencies.
“Chasing trends and expanding menus beyond logical extensions of the concept almost always fails. You must be able to gain credibility with your customer,” Davis said.
Great Harvest Bread Co. CEO Mike Ferretti agrees, noting that restaurant companies should be conscious of consumer diet trends, but only adapt to the ones that make business sense for the brand.
“You can’t do them all, and they impact different parts of the country at different times,” he said. “It is easier to steer customers to the things we believe in that fit our brand.”
If a brand swings and misses on a specialty diet offering, Ferretti said it can have an “extreme” impact on the business. Conversely, if it’s a hit, it can have the same effect for the positive.
“Think of all the low-carb businesses that popped up and were gone in a year,” he said. “Alternatively, things like Atkins and Keto hurt us at first, but eventually people come back to whole grains, so it swings.”
Because of this unpredictability, expanding menus to appeal to a broader group of consumers who are chasing a broader variety of diets can be both risky and rewarding.
“Fads are fads. People and businesses will do what they do,” Ferretti said. “What has staying power—the broad ones really driving the industry—is healthy, simple, clean.”
Davis adds that vegan and vegetarian diets have had such staying power since the 1970s and will continue on that path while contributing to a growing cohort of consumers who identify as flexitarians. About one third of consumers now consider themselves to be flexitarians, meaning they simply want another choice than traditional protein every now and then even if they’re not technically vegan or vegetarian.
“Lifestyle demands are not going away and restaurants will endear themselves and earn loyalty by keeping their menus relevant,” Liu said. “This has resulted in a competitive advantage for us and, more importantly, an increase in sales.”
The internet is abuzz with anecdotes telling of the amazing benefits of a ketogenic (or “keto”) diet. Nothing new there, then, as every year is marked by the rise and fall of a new diet fad – most amplified by the social media echo-chamber but with little to commend them. This time, though, it caught my attention. Not just because I am a modestly overweight 52 year old whose love for food and drink is slightly stronger than my desire to be skinny
Consumers are taking dietary supplements with illegal—and potentially harmful ingredients, a growing body of evidence shows. A new study published online in JAMA Internal Medicine this week found experimental stimulants in dietary supplements both before and after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued public warnings about the stimulants. The stimulants aren’t approved for human use and are believed to increase blood pressure and heart rates potentially, says Pieter Cohen, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School and general internist at Cambridge Health Alliance…………..