One can find innumerable diets, supplements, and meal replacement plans that would promise quick weight loss, but most of these are not scientifically proven. There are some strategies that have been backed by science and help in managing weight.
These strategies are exercising, keeping track of calories, reduction of carbohydrates, and intermittent fasting.
This article will uncover the most effective methods of weight loss.
Methods of weight loss that scientific research supports include the following:
1. Trying intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting is a pattern of eating which includes regular short-term fasts and consumption of meals within a limited time period.
Studies show that the short-term intermittent fasting, that would last up to 23 weeks would cause weight loss in overweight individuals.
The most common was to intermittent fast includes:
- Fasting on alternate days: Fast every other day and eat normally on non-fasting days. Studies suggest that one must eat just 25–30 percent of the body’s energy needs on the days of fast.
- Diet in ratio 5:2: One can fast on 2 days out of every 7 days. On the days of fast, consume 500-600 calories.
- 16:8 method: One can fast for 16 hours and eat only during an 8-hour window every day. Generally, the 8-hour window is from noon to 8 p.m. A study proved that eating during a restricted period resulted in the participants consuming fewer calories and losing weight.
It is suggest that one must manage healthy eating and not overeat.
2. Track diet and exercise
If the aim is to lose weight, one has to be mindful about everything one consumes every day. The best way to do it is to keep a chart about what you consume, in a journal or maintain an online food tracker.
Research shows that the apps for diet, physical activity, and weight loss are most popular among health apps. This is because how important tracking physical activity, and weight loss is in the management of weight.
Studies show that consistently tracking physical activity assists weight loss. Another study shows a positive correlation between weight loss and the frequency of managing and monitoring food consumption and exercise. Simple devices like pedometers are effective weight loss tools.
3. Eating mindfully
Eating mindfully is the practice of paying attention to how and where one eats food. This helps you enjoy food and maintain a healthy weight. You do not have to cut down, just be mindful.
Everyone leads a busy life. Amidst that, people often quickly grab a bite, while in a car, during work, or while you watch something. This results in people being unaware of what they eat.
Some techniques that help in mindful eating include:
- Being seated when you eat, preferably at the table: Be attentive the food and enjoy the experience.
- Do not be distracted when you eat: Keep away your phones, laptops, and do not turn on TV.
- Eat slowly: Savour the food and eat slowly. This helps with weight loss, because it helps a person’s brain get time to recognize the signals that they are full, and this can help to avoid over-eating.
- Make proper foood choices: Select nutritious food items, that will satiate your hunger for more than just minutes.
4. Eating protein for breakfast
Protein helps in the regulation of appetite hormones and helps people feel full. This is because of a reduction of the hunger hormone, ghrelin, and the increase of the satiety hormones peptide YY, GLP-1, and cholecystokinin.
Studies have shown that the effects on hormones, post-eating a high-protein breakfast, last for several hours.
For a high-protein breakfast, you can choose eggs, oats, nut and seed butter, quinoa porridge, sardines, and chia seed pudding.
5. Cut down on sugar and refined carbohydrates
The Western diet contains very high amount of added sugars, and is definitely linked to obesity, even if it is added in beverages, and not food.
The foods that have been heavily processed and do not contain any fiber or nutrients are refined carbohydrates. Some examples of these are white rice, bread, and pasta.
These are digested quickly, and are quick to convert to glucose.
When there is excessive glucose, it enters the blood, provokes insulin, and promotes fat storage in the adipose tissue. This eventually leads to weight gain.
Wherever possible, one must swap processed and sugary food for healthy options. Some good food swaps are:
- not having the white versions and getting whole-grain rice, bread, and pasta
- instead of getting high sugar snacks, opting for seeds, nuts, and fruits
- instead of high-sugar sodas, having herb teas and fruit-infused water
- instead of fruit juice, getting smoothies with water or milk
6. Consuming plenty of fiber
Dietary fiber is plant-based carbs that cannot be digested in the small intestine, like sugar and starch. You should include plenty of fiber in the diet because it increases the feeling of fullness, which can lead to weight loss.
The foods that are rich in fiber are:
- whole-grain breakfast cereals, whole-wheat pasta, whole-grain bread, oats, barley, and rye
- fruit and vegetables
- peas, beans, and pulses
- nuts and seeds
7. Balancing gut bacteria
There are several researches being carried out on the role that gut bacteria has in weight management. The human gut has a huge number and variety of microorganisms, that includes about 37 trillion bacteria.
Each individual has a different kind and number of bacteria in their gut. Some kinds increase the energy that you derive from food, and it leads to the deposition of fat and weight gain.
Some foods facilitate increase of good bacteria in the gut. These are:
- Different kinds of plants: If you increase the number of fruits, vegetables, and grains in your diet, it will increase the fiber uptake and give you a more diverse set of gut bacteria. You should make sure that vegetables and other plant-based foods are about 75% percent of your meal.
- Fermented foods: It enhances the function of good bacteria while reduces the growth of bad bacteria. Foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, yogurt, tempeh, and miso all have really good amounts of probiotics, and it helps increase good bacteria. Studies have shown that kimchi has anti-obesity effects. Other studies have shown that kefir promotes weight loss in overweight women.
- Prebiotic foods: It stimulates the growth and activity of some of the good bacteria that help control weight. You can find them in fruits and vegetables like chicory root, artichoke, onion, garlic, asparagus, leeks, banana, and avocado. You can also opt for grains like oats and barley.
8. Getting proper sleep
Studies have shown that people who get lesser than 5-6 hours of sleep every night, have an increased chance of obesity. This is backed by many reasons.
Studies have shown that inadequate or poor-quality sleep slows metabolism, which is the process by which the body converts calories to energy. As metabolism loses its effectiveness, the body stores the unused energy as fat. Also, poor sleep increases the production of insulin and cortisol, which prompts fat storage.
The amount one sleeps has direct effects on the regulation of hormones that control appetites like leptin and ghrelin. The former sends signals of fullness to the brain.
9. Manage your stress levels
Stress results in release of hormones like adrenaline, cortisol, that initially reduces the appetite as the body’s fight or flight response.
When people are constantly stressed, cortisol stays in the bloodstream for longs and increases their appetite. This leads them to eating more.
Cortisol suggests the need for replenishment of the body’s nutritional stores from the given source of fuel, that is carbs. Then insulin takes sugar from carbs from the blood to the muscles and brain. If one does not make use of this sugar in the fight or flight, the body stores it as fat.
Research shows that implementation of the eight-week stress management program results in a significant reduction of the BMI of overweight and obese people.
Some ways to manage stress are:
- yoga, meditation, or tai chi
- breathing and relaxation exercises
- spending some time outdoors
These are some of the most effective and scientifically proven ways to lose weight. Following these, would undoubtedly make a huge difference.