Smart Diet Strategies. Part 2

Monday, October 10, 2011 11:06
Posted in category Diet

Filling Up On Water

Old Diet-Think: “A few glasses of water before dinner will help me eat less.”

New Wisdom: Drinking water is great for your health, but contrary to popular belief, it won’t fill you up or curb your appetite. However, eating foods with a high water content can help you push back your plate earlier, according to new research from Pennsylvania State University in University Park. Study participants who ate chicken-and-rice soup consumed less and felt fuller than those given a chicken-rice casserole or chicken-rice casserole plus a glass of water. The soup appeared to be a larger portion than the casserole (although it had the same number of calories), making subjects believe they’d stuffed themselves, says Barbara Rolls, Ph.D., professor of nutrition at the university. But it’s not just about appearances. When water enters the stomach in “food form,” it stays in the stomach longer than water alone, staving off hunger.

It’s My “Natural” Weight!

Old Diet-Think: “I can’t keep off those five extra pounds. I must be destined to weigh this much forever.”

New Wisdom: Although the idea of a fixed, predetermined weight that our bodies continually return to, no matter how much we gain or lose, is a comforting explanation for failed diets, set-points don’t actually exist, says Roland L. Weinsier, M.D., director of the Clinical Nutrition Research Center at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. The set-point theory holds that whenever your weight fluctuates from this “internal standard,” your metabolism adjusts—slowing down (burning fewer calories) if you’ve lost weight—to bring you back in line. But there’s a simple flaw in this thinking, says Dr. Weinsier: If your metabolism really worked this way, it would also adjust when you gained weight—revving up to get you back down to “normal” (and we don’t have to tell you that that just doesn’t happen!). This doesn’t mean, however, that there’s no lower limit to what you should weigh. “Many factors contribute to body weight,” including your frame size and body type, Dr. Weinsier says. Nor does this mean that metabolism can’t be tinkered with. In fact, if you find you’re having trouble losing those last five pounds, try more metabolism-boosting exercise—research has found it helps previously obese women keep weight off.

Calories, Schmalories

Old Diet-Think: “I only have to worry about fat grams to get slim.”

New Wisdom: Actually, calories count just as much as fat grams when you’re trying to lose weight. When researchers at the University of Vermont asked dieters to lower either their fat intake or their caloric intake for six months, the calorie-cutters lost more than twice as much weight as the fat-slashers. Why? The fat-slashers were eating too many foods that, although low-fat or fat-free, were also chock-full of calories. “The fat-gram count shouldn’t be the sole criterion for selecting foods,” concludes Janet Helm, R.D., a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. You’re better off savoring that one piece of chocolate you really want instead of inhaling a whole bag of low-fat chocolate-chip cookies.

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