By Jenna Fletcher Reviewed by Debra Sullivan, PhD, MSN, RN, CNE, COI
Many people are unsure how to lose weight safely and naturally. It does not help that many websites and advertisements, particularly those belonging to companies that sell diet drugs or other weight-loss products, promote misinformation about losing weight.
According to 2014 research, most people who search for tips on how to lose weight will come across false or misleading information on weight loss.
“Fad” diets and exercise regimens can sometimes be dangerous as they can prevent people from meeting their nutritional needs.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the safest amount of weight to lose per week is between 1 and 2 pounds. Those who lose much more per week or try fad diets or programs are much more likely to regain weight later on.
A variety of research-backed methods exists to help a person achieve a healthy weight safely. These methods include:
1. Keeping healthful snacks at home and in the office
People often opt to eat foods that are convenient, so it is best to avoid keeping prepackaged snacks and candies on hand.
Keeping healthful snacks at home and work can help a person avoid excess sugar and salt.
One study found that people who kept unhealthful food at home found it more difficult to maintain or lose weight.
Keeping healthful snacks at home and work can help a person meet their nutritional needs and avoid excess sugar and salt. Good snack options include:
- nuts with no added salt or sugar
- prechopped vegetables
- low-fat yogurts
- dried seaweed
2. Cutting out processed foods
Processed foods are high in sodium, fat, calories, and sugar. They often contain fewer nutrients than whole foods.
According to a preliminary research study, processed foods are much more likely than other foods to lead to addictive eating behaviors, which tend to result in people overeating.
3. Eating more protein
Collectively, the data showed that higher-protein diets of 25–30 grams of protein per meal provided improvements in appetite, body weightmanagement, cardiometabolic risk factors, or all of these health outcomes.
A person should eat more eggs, chicken, fish, lean meats, and beans. These foods are all high in protein and relatively low in fat. Lean proteins include:
- beans, peas, and lentils
- white poultry
- low-fat cottage cheese
4. Quitting added sugar
Sugar is not always easy to avoid, but eliminating processed foods is a positive first step to take.
According to the National Cancer Institute, men aged 19 years and older consume an average of over 19 teaspoons of added sugar a day. Women in the same age group consume more than 14 teaspoons of added sugar a day.
Much of the sugar that people consume comes from fructose, which the liver breaks down and turns into fat. After the liver turns the sugar into fat, it releases these fat cells into the blood, which can lead to weight gain.
5. Drinking black coffee
Coffee may have some positive health effects if a person refrains from adding sugar and fat. The authors of a review article noted that coffee improved the body’s metabolism of carbohydrates and fats.
The same review highlighted an association between coffee consumption and a lower risk of diabetes and liver disease.
6. Staying hydrated
Water is the best fluid that a person can drink throughout the day. It contains no calories and provides a wealth of health benefits.
When a person drinks water throughout the day, the water helps increase their metabolism. Drinking water before a meal can also help reduce the amount that they eat.
Finally, if people replace sugary beverages with water, this will help reduce the total number of calories that they consume throughout the day.
7. Avoiding the calories in beverages
Sodas, fruit juices, and sports and energy drinks often contain excess sugar, which can lead to weight gain and make it more difficult for a person to lose weight.
Other high-calorie drinks include alcohol and specialty coffees, such as lattes, which contain milk and sugar.
People can try replacing at least one of these beverages each day with water, sparkling water with lemon, or an herbal tea.
8. Avoiding refined carbohydrates
Evidence in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that refined carbohydrates may be more damaging to the body’s metabolism than saturated fats.
In response to the influx of sugar from refined carbohydrates, the liver will create and release fat into the bloodstream.
To reduce weight and keep it off, a person can eat whole grains instead.
Refined or simple carbohydrates include the following foods:
- white rice
- white bread
- white flour
- many types of cereal
- added sugars
- many kinds of pasta
Rice, bread, and pasta are all available in whole-grain varieties, which can aid weight loss and help protect the body from disease.
9. Fasting in cycles
Fasting for short cycles may help a person lose weight. According to a 2015 study, intermittent fasting or alternate day fasting can help a person lose weight and maintain their weight loss.
However, not everyone should fast. Fasting can be dangerous for children, developing teenagers, pregnant women, older people, and people with underlying health conditions.
Categories: healthy lifestile