What causes overweight and obesity?
It's the lack of energy balance, that is, overweight happens when you take in more calories than you use up over time. True. However, there is more to weight loss than just 'eat less, exercise' theory. A Harvard university study found that some foods cause people to put on more weight than others because of the food's 'chemical make up' and the way our body processes them. So, the bad foods we know may not really be that bad! Here are a few you thought were not good for weight loss but actually proved otherwise.
If you are avoiding eggs (because of their calories, of course) think again. Chicken egg may actually help lose weight! Egg yolk contains 60 kcal and egg white has 18 kcal. So if you are trying to lose weight go for egg white. Egg white has no cholesterol and its glycemic index is zero. It is a very good source of protein, riboflavin and selenium. It is a single food source of protein that will help you keep feeling full longer. John Berardi, Ph.D., C.S.C.S., author of 'The Metabolism Advantage', recommends eating an omelet made from one egg and two egg whites as part of the weight loss breakfast diet
Foods that have a higher satiety index (create a feeling of fullness) keep hunger down longer and are better choices for people who want to lose weight. An Australian study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that boiled potato had the highest satiety index (SI) amongst foods as varied as oranges, fish, white bread, pasta, peanuts, oatmeal, croissants, ice cream, yogurt, etc. Remember to keep it down to one large boiled potato per meal. And of course, potato chips or fries are really, really bad. Potatoes are okay for weight loss only if they are boiled.
This may surprise you but a diet rich in calcium can actually help you lose weight. Although cheese is very high in saturated fat (bad fat) a slice (28g) of cheddar cheese can supply 202 mg of calcium. Cheese is a good source of protein and phosphorus as well. So, why not opt for low-fat cheese? A study from Denmark published in the International Journal of Obesity found that dietary calcium (calcium from food sources and not supplement) metabolizes fat more efficiently by increasing the rate of fat excretion as waste.
Pasta is starchy, yes, but it is not bad at all! It becomes bad only when you take huge quantities of pasta made with white flour, topped with loads of sour cream and mayonnaise. Whole grain pasta is high in complex carbohydrates and with low glycemic index, and according to a study from Finland, pasta 'enhances early insulin secretion in persons with the metabolic syndrome' thus lowering the risk for type-2 diabetes. Go for high fiber, whole grain (whole wheat) pasta and keep the portions small (half a cup); it gives you sustained energy through the day and you feel less hungry thus helping you with weight loss and weight maintenance.
Salmon and trout
Fatty fish such as salmon, trout, sardines, herring, mackerel and tuna, contain omega-3 fats that are essential are very important in cognitive function, battling fatigue and balancing your mood but your body can't make them. A clinical trial results published in the journal Diabetes Care suggests that there are 'potential benefits of increasing omega-3 intake in lifestyle interventions for weight loss in individuals with diabetes'. According to NIH, 'fish oil supplement 6 grams daily, providing 260 mg DHA/gram and 60 mg EPA/gram, significantly decreases body fat when combined with exercise'. So, go ahead and treat yourself to fatty fish but take care of the portions.
Almonds, cashew and walnut
These nuts are considered fatty but they have fat that lowers cholesterol. A number of studies have shown that these nuts have protective benefits against risk of heart disease, risk of type-2 diabetes in women, and some even suggest that nuts may have anti-carcinogenic effects. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that 'long-term nut consumption is linked with lower body weight and lower risk of obesity and weight gain'. And why not? Nuts are packed with fiber, protein, omega-3 and minerals including magnesium and copper. But eat only small portions - there are 84 calories in half an ounce of mixed nuts.
Surprising, but true! The naturally occurring saturated fat in coconut oil does promote weight loss. Scientists say that small changes in the quality of fat intake can be useful in losing weight. Coconut oil is made of (75 percent) medium-chain fatty acids (MCT) that are immediately converted into energy in the liver rather than being stored as fat and they actually help stimulate the body's metabolism leading to weight loss. A clinical trial in New York found that consuming coconut oil improves weight loss compared with olive oil and can be 'successfully included in a weight loss diet'.
You don't have to skip dessert, if you are on weight loss diet. Lemon sorbet has zero fats since it is basically frozen water and it is also very high in vitamin C (from the lemon) content. Agreed that it is loaded with sugar (a 2.5 oz scoop has 20g of sugar) but if you replace sugar with stevia in the home made recipe, even this problem could be taken care of. Again moderation is the key
If you are overweight, drink your coffee black without sugar and milk / cream and over time you may find yourself a few pounds lighter. A Harvard study found that coffee consumption was associated with less weight gain especially in women who had a BMI of 25 or more and were less physically active. In men, association between caffeine intake and weight was stronger in those who were younger. Studies have also discussed the possibility that quinides and chlorogenic substances present in the coffee may be involved as well in loss of weight.