10 things you should know about dieting. The main principles being...
Don't skip meals.
A CT scan of the brain showed the brain lighting up when a volunteer who had skipped breakfast was shown pics of high calorie, high fat food and little reaction to low-cal food. The volunteer who had eaten breakfast scan showed no difference between pics of low cal food and High cal food. The area of the brain lighting up was one associated with appetite so the brain was guiding choice towards calorie laden food (think pastries at morning break)
Eating a protein rich breakfast (or any other meal) keeps you satisfied for longer because it triggers the release of more of the chemical that tells the brain you are full.
Eating low-fat dairy products helps the body to excrete more unabsorbed fat than usual. Dairy calcium binds with fat in the small intestine and passes through without being absorbed. So skimmed milk, low-fat yoghurt, cottage cheese, fromage frais etc all help to carry away fat in the gut. (this was clearly demonstrated in lab tests of sample stools - yuk)
The 'burn' from exercise carries on well into the next day. The volunteer ran at 4mph for 90 minutes and his fat burn measured. It wasn't that impressive but next day showed how it had carried on. The body accesses carbohydrates easily during exercise and has to use stored body fat to run everything over the next hours - impressive
Building small amounts of 'activity' into daily routine significantly increases heart rate and calorie expeniture. The volunteer was Aimee Lamee, US comedienne and broadcaster. She was more active at home, spent less time sitting at lunchtime and more time walking and talking, she did her radio show standing up and moving around. It made a significant difference.
People generally under-report their intake by 40 to 60%. Count and record everything, including every snack and calorie laden sauce
Soup fills you up for longer. The same food was served to two groups of soldiers. Half ate chicken, rice and veg on a plate with a glass of water. The other half ate the identical food and water liquidized and served as a soup. Stomach scans showed the soup still in the stomach long after the other group's stomachs were empty and calling to be fed.
Eat on a smaller plate. You will eat up to 22% less than usual. They confirmed this by giving one group of people a small tub of popcorn, and one group of large popcorn. They were asked to eat as much as they wanted. Both groups ate to their full and didn't finish their tubs. The group with the large tubs ate significantly more because the food was available, and they could not stop when they were full.
Our bodies are wired to seek out variety in food. So keep away from the buffets because it is in our nature to want lots of different things. You are likey to eat about 30% more compared to when your choice is more limited. This is because our ancestors enjoyed and looked for variety when there wasn't much food about. Their experiment included letting people help themselves to free sweets - one bowl all purple, the other bowl multi-coloured. The multi-coloured sweetie bowl was finished twice as quickly as the single coloured ones.