Your weight is a balancing act, and calories are part of that equation. Weight loss comes down to burning more calories than you take in. You can do that by reducing extra calories from food and beverages, and increasing calories burned through physical activity.
How to Naturally Lose Weight Fast-2021
While that seems simple, it can be challenging to implement a practical, effective and sustainable weight-loss plan.
But you don’t have to do it alone. Talk to your doctor, family and friends for support. Ask yourself if now is a good time and if you’re ready to make some necessary changes. Also, plan smart: Anticipate how you’ll handle situations that challenge your resolve and the inevitable minor setbacks.
If you have serious health problems because of your weight, your doctor may suggest weight-loss surgery or medications for you. In this case, your doctor will discuss the potential benefits and the possible risks with you.
But don’t forget the bottom line: The key to successful weight loss is a commitment to making changes in your diet and exercise habits.
When it comes to weight loss, there’s no shortage of diet plans. Check any magazine rack, and you’re bound to see the latest and greatest diet plans. But how do you know if a diet plan fits your needs and lifestyle?
Ask yourself these questions about any diet plan you’re considering:
- Does it include various foods from the major food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, low-fat dairy products, lean protein sources and nuts?
- Does it include foods you like and that you would enjoy eating for a lifetime — not just for several weeks or months?
- Can you easily find these foods in your local grocery store?
- Will you be able to eat your favorite foods or, better yet, all foods (even if some are in small quantities)?
- Does it fit your lifestyle and budget?
- Does it include proper amounts of nutrients and calories to help you lose weight safely and effectively?
- Is regular physical activity part of the plan?
If the answer to any of these questions is no, keep looking. There are better diet plans out there for you.
The Mayo Clinic Diet
Tired of failed fad diets? Maybe it’s time for a change. The Mayo Clinic Diet is a different approach to weight loss.
First, the Mayo Clinic Diet is based on actual research and clinical experience. Second, the Mayo Clinic Diet recognizes that successful, long-term weight management needs to focus on more than the food you eat and the pounds you lose. It needs to focus on your overall health. The Mayo Clinic Diet helps you reshape your body and your lifestyle by adopting healthy habits and breaking unhealthy ones.
Diet and exercise
The key to successful weight loss is developing healthy diet and exercise habits. You may not like those words — diet and exercise. But don’t get hung up on them. Diet just means eating healthy, lower calorie meals. Exercise means being more physically active.
Although people appropriately focus on diet when they’re trying to lose weight, being active also is an essential component of a weight-loss program. When you’re active, your body uses energy (calories) to move, helping to burn the calories you take in with food you eat.
Cleaning the house, making the bed, shopping, mowing and gardening are all forms of physical activity. Exercise, on the other hand, is a structured and repetitive form of physical activity that you do on a regular basis.
Whatever activity you choose, do it regularly. Aim for at least 150 minutes a week of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity — preferably spread throughout the week. Keep in mind that you may need more physical activity to lose weight and keep it off.
Diet pills, supplements and surgery
Diet pills and surgery can help with weight loss — when combined with a healthy diet and physical activity. But diet pills aren’t for everyone. Neither is surgery.
If you’re obese and have weight-related health problems, talk with your doctor about whether diet pills or surgery could help you lose weight. Your doctor will also counsel you about the lifestyle changes you’ll need to make to be successful over the long term.
A word of caution: Talk with your doctor before you try over-the-counter diet pills or supplements. They can have serious side effects; some can be downright dangerous.
How to naturally lose weight fast
While there are endless diets, supplements, and meal replacement plans claiming to ensure rapid weight loss, most lack any scientific evidence. There are, however, some strategies backed by science that do have an impact on weight management.
These strategies include exercising, keeping track of calorie intake, intermittent fasting, and reducing the number of carbohydrates in the diet.
In this article, we consider nine effective methods of weight loss.
Science-backed ways to lose weight
Methods of weight loss that scientific research supports include the following:
1. Trying intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting (IF) is a pattern of eating that involves regular short-term fasts and consuming meals within a shorter time period during the day.
Several studiesTrusted Source have indicated that short-term intermittent fasting, which is up to 24 weeks in duration, leads to weight loss in overweight individuals.
The most common intermittent fasting methods include the following:
- Alternate day fastingTrusted Source (ADF): Fast every other day and eat normally on non-fasting days. The modified versionTrusted Source involves eating just 25–30 percent of the body’s energy needs on fasting days.
- The 5:2 Diet: Fast on 2 out of every 7 days. On fasting days eat 500–600 calories.
- The 16/8 method: Fast for 16 hours and eat only during an 8-hour window. For most people, the 8-hour window would be around noon to 8 p.m. A study on this method found that eating during a restricted period resulted in the participants consuming fewer calories and losing weight.
It is best to adopt a healthy eating pattern on non-fasting days and to avoid over-eating.
2. Tracking your diet and exercise
If someone wants to lose weight, they should be aware of everything that they eat and drink each day. The most effective way to do this is to log every item that they consume, in either a journal or an online food tracker.
Researchers estimated in 2017 that there would be 3.7 billion health app downloads by the end of the year. Of these, apps for diet, physical activity, and weight loss were among the most popular. This is not without reason, as tracking physical activity and weight loss progress on-the-go can be an effective way of managing weightTrusted Source.
One studyTrusted Source found that consistent tracking of physical activity helped with weight loss. Meanwhile, a review studyTrusted Source found a positive correlation between weight loss and the frequency of monitoring food intake and exercise. Even a device as simple as a pedometer can be a useful weight-loss tool.
3. Eating mindfully
Mindful eating is a practice where people pay attention to how and where they eat food. This practice can enable people to enjoy the food they eat and maintain a healthy weightTrusted Source.
As most people lead busy lives, they often tend to eat quickly on the run, in the car, working at their desks, and watching TV. As a result, many people are barely aware of the food they are eating.
Techniques for mindful eating include:
- Sitting down to eat, preferably at a table: Pay attention to the food and enjoy the experience.
- Avoiding distractions while eating: Do not turn on the TV, or a laptop or phone.
- Eating slowly: Take time to chew and savor the food. This technique helps with weight loss, as it gives a person’s brain enough time to recognize the signals that they are full, which can help to prevent over-eating.
- Making considered food choices: Choose foods that are full of nourishing nutrients and those that will satisfy for hours rather than minutes.
4. Eating protein for breakfast
Protein can regulate appetite hormones to help people feel full. This is mostly due to a decrease in the hunger hormone ghrelin and a rise in the satiety hormones peptide YY, GLP-1, and cholecystokininTrusted Source.
ResearchTrusted Source on young adults has also demonstrated that the hormonal effects of eating a high-protein breakfast can last for several hours.
Good choices for a high-protein breakfast include eggs, oats, nut and seed butters, quinoa porridge, sardines, and chia seed pudding.
5. Cutting back on sugar and refined carbohydrates
Refined carbohydrates are heavily processed foods that no longer contain fiber and other nutrients. These include white rice, bread, and pasta.
These foods are quick to digest, and they convert to glucose rapidly.
Excess glucose enters the blood and provokes the hormone insulin, which promotes fat storage in the adipose tissue. This contributes to weight gain.
Where possible, people should swap processed and sugary foods for more healthful options. Good food swaps include:
- whole-grain rice, bread, and pasta instead of the white versions
- fruit, nuts, and seeds instead of high-sugar snacks
- herb teas and fruit-infused water instead of high-sugar sodas
- smoothies with water or milk instead of fruit juice
6. Eating plenty of fiber
Dietary fiber describes plant-based carbohydrates that it is not possible to digest in the small intestine, unlike sugar and starch. Including plenty of fiber in the diet can increase the feeling of fullness, potentially leading to weight loss.
Fiber-rich foods include:
- 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
One emerging area of research is focusing on the role of bacteria in the gut on weight management.
The human gut hosts a vast number and variety of microorganisms, including around 37 trillion bacteria.
Every individual has different varieties and amounts of bacteria in their gut. Some types can increase the amount of energy that the person harvests from food, leading to fat deposition and weight gain.
Some foods can increase the number of good bacteria in the gut, including:
- A wide variety of plants: Increasing the number of fruits, vegetables, and grains in the diet will result in an increased fiber uptake and a more diverse set of gut bacteria. People should try to ensure that vegetables and other plant-based foods comprise 75 percent of their meal.
- Fermented foods: These enhance the function of good bacteria while inhibiting the growth of bad bacteria. Sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, yogurt, tempeh, and miso all contain good amounts of probiotics, which help to increase good bacteria. Researchers have studied kimchi widely, and study results suggest that it has anti-obesity effects. Similarly, studies have shown that kefir may help to promote weight loss in overweight women.
- Prebiotic foods: These stimulate the growth and activity of some of the good bacteria that aid weight control. Prebiotic fiber occurs in many fruits and vegetables, especially chicory root, artichoke, onion, garlic, asparagus, leeks, banana, and avocado. It is also in grains, such as oats and barley.
8. Getting a good night’s sleep
Numerous studies have shown that getting less than 5–6 hours of sleep per night is associated with increased incidence of obesityTrusted Source. There are several reasons behind this.
Research suggestsTrusted Source that insufficient or poor-quality sleep slows down the process in which the body converts calories to energy, called metabolism. When metabolism is less effective, the body may store unused energy as fat. In addition, poor sleep can increase the production of insulin and cortisolTrusted Source, which also prompt fat storage.
How long someone sleeps also affects the regulation of the appetite-controlling hormones leptin and ghrelin. Leptin sends signals of fullness to the brain.
Stress triggers the release of hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, which initially decrease the appetite as part of the body’s fight or flight response.
However, when people are under constant stress, cortisol can remain in the bloodstream for longer, which will increase their appetiteTrusted Source and potentially lead to them eating more.
Cortisol signals the need to replenish the body’s nutritional stores from the preferred source of fuel, which is carbohydrate.
Insulin then transports the sugar from carbohydrates from the blood to the muscles and brain. If the individual does not use this sugar in fight or flight, the body will store it as fat.
Researchers foundTrusted Source that implementing an 8-week stress-management intervention program resulted in significant reduction in the body mass index (BMI) of overweight and obese children and adolescents.
Some methods of managing stress include:
- yoga, meditation, or tai chi
- breathing and relaxation techniques
- spending some time outdoors, for example walking or gardening
It’s natural for anyone trying to lose weight to want to lose it very quickly. But people who lose weight gradually and steadily (about 1 to 2 pounds per week) are more successful at keeping weight off. Healthy weight loss isn’t just about a “diet” or “program”. It’s about an ongoing lifestyle that includes long-term changes in daily eating and exercise habits.
Losing weight is not easy, and it takes commitment. But if you’re ready to get started, we’ve got a step-by-step guide to help get you on the road to weight loss and better health.
Even modest weight loss can mean big benefits
Even a modest weight loss of 5 to 10 percent of your total body weight is likely to produce health benefits, such as improvements in blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugars.1
For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, a 5 percent weight loss equals 10 pounds, bringing your weight down to 190 pounds. While this weight may still be in the “overweight” or “obese” range, this modest weight loss can decrease your risk factors for chronic diseases related to obesity.
So even if the overall goal seems large, see it as a journey rather than just a final destination. You’ll learn new eating and physical activity habits that will help you live a healthier lifestyle. These habits may help you maintain your weight loss over time.
For example, the National Weight Control Registryexternal icon noted that study participants who maintained a significant weight loss reported improvements in physical health as well as energy levels, physical mobility, general mood, and self-confidence.
Healthy Eating for a Healthy Weight
An eating plan that helps manage your weight includes a variety of healthy foods. Add an array of colors to your plate and think of it as eating the rainbow. Dark, leafy greens, oranges, and tomatoes—even fresh herbs—are loaded with vitamins, fiber, and minerals. Adding frozen peppers, broccoli, or onions to stews and omelets gives them a quick and convenient boost of color and nutrients.
- Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products
- Includes a variety of protein foods such as seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), soy products, nuts, and seeds.
- Is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars
- Stays within your daily calorie needs
Fresh, frozen, or canned fruits are great choices. Try fruits beyond apples and bananas such as mango, pineapple or kiwi fruit. When fresh fruit is not in season, try a frozen, canned, or dried variety. Be aware that dried and canned fruit may contain added sugars or syrups. Choose canned varieties of fruit packed in water or in its own juice.
Add variety to grilled or steamed vegetables with an herb such as rosemary. You can also sauté (panfry) vegetables in a non-stick pan with a small amount of cooking spray. Or try frozen or canned vegetables for a quick side dish—just microwave and serve. Look for canned vegetables without added salt, butter, or cream sauces. For variety, try a new vegetable each week.
In addition to fat-free and low-fat milk, consider low-fat and fat-free yogurts without added sugars. These come in a variety of flavors and can be a great dessert substitute.
If your favorite recipe calls for frying fish or breaded chicken, try healthier variations by baking or grilling. Maybe even try dry beans in place of meats. Ask friends and search the internet and magazines for recipes with fewer calories ― you might be surprised to find you have a new favorite dish!
Healthy eating is all about balance. You can enjoy your favorite foods, even if they are high in calories, fat or added sugars. The key is eating them only once in a while and balancing them with healthier foods and more physical activity.
Some general tips for comfort foods:
- Eat them less often. If you normally eat these foods every day, cut back to once a week or once a month.
- Eat smaller amounts. If your favorite higher-calorie food is a chocolate bar, have a smaller size or only half a bar.
- Try a lower-calorie version. Use lower-calorie ingredients or prepare food differently. For example, if your macaroni and cheese recipe includes whole milk, butter, and full-fat cheese, try remaking it with non-fat milk, less butter, low-fat cheese, fresh spinach and tomatoes. Just remember to not increase your portion size.How do you lose weight?The best approach for weight loss is reducing the number of calories you eat while increasing the number of calories you burn through physical activity. To lose 1 pound, you need an expenditure of approximately 3,500 calories. You can achieve this either by cutting back on your food consumption, by increasing physical activity, or ideally, by doing both.For example, if you consume 500 extra calories per day for one week without changing your activity level, you will gain 1 pound in weight (seven days multiplied by 500 calories equals 3,500 calories, or the number of calories resulting in a 1-pound weight gain). Likewise, if you eat 500 fewer calories each day for a week or burn 500 calories per day through exercise for one week, you will lose 1 pound.Examples of calorie content of some popular foods and beverages include the following:
- One slice of original-style crust pepperoni pizza – 230 calories
- One glass of dry white wine – 160 calories
- One can of cola – 150 calories
- One quarter-pound hamburger with cheese – 500 calories
- One jumbo banana nut muffin – 580 calories
- promotes safe and sustainable weight loss
- your own personal weight loss target
- learn to make healthier food choices
- record your activity and progress
- exercise plans to help you lose weight
- learn skills to prevent weight regain
The plan is designed to help you lose weight at a safe rate of 0.5kg to 1kg (1lb to 2lb) each week by sticking to a daily calorie allowance.
For most men, this means sticking to a calorie limit of no more than 1,900kcal a day, and 1,400kcal for most women.
If you find it hard sticking to the calorie limit, use our BMI calculator to get your own personal weight loss calorie allowance.
If you go over your limit one day, do not worry: it simply means you’ll have to reduce your calorie intake on the following days.
For example, if you’re a woman and you have 1,700kcal on Tuesday, that’s 300kcal more than your daily calorie allowance of 1,400kcal.
To stay on track, you’d need to cut out an extra 300kcal from your remaining calorie intake over the rest of the week.
To lose weight, the average person should reduce their daily calorie intake by 600kcal.
The weight loss plan is broken down into 12 weeks. It is full of healthy eating, diet and physical activity advice, including weekly challenges.
Each week contains a food and activity chart to help you record your calories, exercise and weight loss so you can see how well you’re doing at a glance.
If you’re using the downloadable PDFs, print the chart out at the start of your week. Stick it somewhere you can see it, such as the fridge or a kitchen cupboard, and update it at the end of each day.
In addition to a healthier diet, regular physical activity is an important part of your weight loss journey.
Not only will it help you burn extra calories, but it will also keep you motivated and improve your general health and wellbeing.
As you work through the weeks, you’ll get lots of ideas and structured programmes to help you get active, from easy ways to gradually build activity into your day, to the popular Couch to 5K, 5K+ and Strength and Flex podcasts.
The following links provide the tools and tips you’ll need from day 1. Before starting the plan have a look so you can:
- work out how much weight you need to lose
- learn how to count calories on the plan
- download the Easy Meals app from the App Store and Google Play
- line up some non-food rewards to celebrate your progress along the way
- check out 12 weight loss tips
- sign up for weight loss email support
1. Do not skip breakfast
Skipping breakfast will not help you lose weight. You could miss out on essential nutrients and you may end up snacking more throughout the day because you feel hungry.
2. Eat regular meals
Eating at regular times during the day helps burn calories at a faster rate. It also reduces the temptation to snack on foods high in fat and sugar.
3. Eat plenty of fruit and veg
Fruit and veg are low in calories and fat, and high in fibre – 3 essential ingredients for successful weight loss. They also contain plenty of vitamins and minerals.
4. Get more active
Being active is key to losing weight and keeping it off. As well as providing lots of health benefits, exercise can help burn off the excess calories you cannot lose through diet alone.
5. Drink plenty of water
People sometimes confuse thirst with hunger. You can end up consuming extra calories when a glass of water is really what you need.
6. Eat high fibre foods
Foods containing lots of fibre can help keep you feeling full, which is perfect for losing weight. Fibre is only found in food from plants, such as fruit and veg, oats, wholegrain bread, brown rice and pasta, and beans, peas and lentils.
7. Read food labels
Knowing how to read food labels can help you choose healthier options. Use the calorie information to work out how a particular food fits into your daily calorie allowance on the weight loss plan.
8. Use a smaller plate
Using smaller plates can help you eat smaller portions. By using smaller plates and bowls, you may be able to gradually get used to eating smaller portions without going hungry. It takes about 20 minutes for the stomach to tell the brain it’s full, so eat slowly and stop eating before you feel full.
9. Do not ban foods
Do not ban any foods from your weight loss plan, especially the ones you like. Banning foods will only make you crave them more. There’s no reason you cannot enjoy the occasional treat as long as you stay within your daily calorie allowance.
10. Do not stock junk food
To avoid temptation, do not stock junk food – such as chocolate, biscuits, crisps and sweet fizzy drinks – at home. Instead, opt for healthy snacks, such as fruit, unsalted rice cakes, oat cakes, unsalted or unsweetened popcorn, and fruit juice.
11. Cut down on alcohol
A standard glass of wine can contain as many calories as a piece of chocolate. Over time, drinking too much can easily contribute to weight gain.
12. Plan your meals
Try to plan your breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for the week, making sure you stick to your calorie allowance. You may find it helpful to make a weekly shopping list.Popular Diets, Plate by Plate
With this plan, you skip added sugar, grains, beans, dairy, soy, and processed foods for 30 days. You replace them with more vegetables, eggs, seafood, meat, fruit, and nuts and seeds. According to the creators, this resets your eating patterns and cuts out foods that can cause health issues. While you can add back some foods after the 30 days, it can be tough to follow, and you may go back to your old habits.
This diet mimics the cuisine of Mediterranean countries, like Greece and Italy. The focus is on vegetables and fruits, along with whole grains, olive oil, spices, herbs, nuts, and beans. For protein, you eat mainly fish and poultry. You can also have moderate amounts of red meat, dairy, and red wine. Experts agree that this diet is good for your health: Studies show that it protects against heart disease and Alzheimer’s.
On this plan, you eat three meals and two snacks a day. Each plate is divided into one-third lean protein, such as fish and poultry, and two-thirds fruits, veggies, or beans. (You stay away from sugary or starchy ones, like potatoes.) Then add some healthy fat, like olive oil, avocados, or almonds. This combo of 40% carbs, 30% protein, and 30% fat is thought to put you in an anti-inflammatory zone. You’ll see results on this diet, but it takes a lot of prep work.
With this, you cut out nearly all carbs. That makes your body burn fat for energy, a state called ketosis. To get there, you eat a diet that’s 70% to 80% fat, 10% to 20% protein, and 5% to 10% carbs. Research shows this can help you lose weight, but it also can lead to side effects, such as constipation and fatigue. Over the long run, it may raise your chances of osteoporosis, kidney stones, and heart disease.
DASH is short for “dietary approaches to stop hypertension,” but this plan is good for you even if you don’t have high blood pressure. It’s high in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean protein. There are also healthy oils, nuts, beans, and peas. You’ll cut back on sweets, saturated fat, and sodium, but nothing’s off-limits. Studies show that the DASH diet lowers blood pressure, cholesterol, and your chances of diabetes.
The idea behind this is to eat like a caveman. That means no processed food, grains, white potatoes, sugar, beans, and dairy. Instead, grass-fed meat, seafood, and eggs make up 30% of your calories. Fresh fruits and vegetables deliver 30%, and the rest comes from nuts, seeds, and healthy oils. Research suggests this diet works for weight loss, but it cuts out healthy foods like whole grains.
Created by a cardiologist, this low-carb diet has three phases. For 2 weeks, you cut out nearly all carbs, including fruit and grains. You eat vegetables, low-fat dairy, lean protein, and healthy fats. Then you add back fruit, whole grains, and starchy vegetables. Once you reach your goal weight, you can eat anything in moderation, including carbs (up to 28% of your daily calories). Experts say this plan works, but you may have headaches and fatigue early on.
The aim of this eating plan is to boost your brain health. It’s a mix of the Mediterranean and DASH diets, with a focus on the foods that protect your brain. You eat leafy greens, whole grains, nuts, beans, and olive oil. There are also berries, fatty fish, and poultry. You can sip a glass of red wine a day — some research shows it’s good for your brain and body. One study found this diet can lower your odds of Alzheimer’s disease by 53%.
This is a low-carb diet with four phases: For 2 weeks, you eat mostly protein, cheese, and vegetables like leafy greens. Only 10% of your calories come from carbs. Next, you add nuts, berries, and seeds. When you’re close to your goal weight, you have starchy vegetables, more fruit, and grains. Finally, you maintain this balance. Some experts say Atkins allows too much saturated fat from foods like butter and meat to be healthy.
According to this diet’s creators, certain foods change your body’s acidity. Eating alkaline foods that lower your body’s pH will help you lose weight and boost your health. On this plan, you avoid meat, fish, eggs, cheese, many grains, and processed foods. You load up on vegetables, fruits, beans, and soy. These foods are good for you, and they can lead to weight loss. But it’s not because they’re alkaline. Experts agree that what you eat doesn’t really affect your body’s pH level.
How to Lose Weight Fast: 3 Simple Steps, Based on Science
If your doctor recommends it, there are ways to lose weight safely. A steady weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week is recommended for the most effective long-term weight management.
That said, many eating plans leave you feeling hungry or unsatisfied. These are major reasons why you might find it hard to stick to a healthier eating plan.
However, not all diets have this effect. Low carb diets and whole food, lower calorie diets are effective for weight loss and may be easier to stick to than other diets.
Here are some ways to lose weight that employ healthy eating, potentially lower carbs, and that aim to:
- reduce your appetite
- cause fast weight loss
- improve your metabolic health at the same time
One way to lose weight quickly is to cut back on sugars and starches, or carbohydrates. This could be with a low carb eating plan or by reducing refined carbs and replacing them with whole grains.When you do that, your hunger levels go down, and you generally end up eating fewer calories (1Trusted Source).With a low carb eating plan, you’ll utilize burning stored fat for energy instead of carbs.If you choose to eat more complex carbs like whole grains along with a calorie deficit, you’ll benefit from higher fiber and digest them more slowly.
This makes them more filling to keep you satisfied.A 2020 study confirmed that a very low carbohydrate diet was beneficial for losing weight in older populations (2).Research also suggests that a low carb diet can reduce appetite, which may lead to eating fewer calories without thinking about it or feeling hungry (3Trusted Source).Note that the long-term effects of a low carb diet are still being researched. It can also be difficult to adhere to a low carb diet, which may lead to yo-yo dieting and less success in maintaining a healthy weight.
There are potential downsides to a low carb diet that may lead you to a different method. Reduced calorie diets can also lead to weight loss and be easier to maintain for longer periods of time.If you opt for a diet focusing instead on whole grains over refined carbs, a 2019 study correlated high whole grain with lower body mass index (BMI) (4Trusted Source).To determine the best way for you to lose weight, consult your doctor for recommendations.
Each one of your meals should include:a protein sourcefat sourcevegetablesa small portion of complex carbohydrates, such as whole grainsTo see how you can assemble your meals, check out:this low carb meal planthis lower calorie meal planthese lists of 101 healthy low carb recipes and low calorie foods
Eating a recommended amount of protein is essential to help preserve your health and muscle mass while losing weight (5Trusted Source).Evidence suggests that eating adequate protein may improve cardiometabolic risk factors, appetite, and body weight, (6Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source, 8Trusted Source).Here’s how to determine how much you need to eat without eating too much.
Many factors determine your specific needs, but generally, an average person needs (9Trusted Source):56–91 grams per day for the average male46–75 grams per day for the average femaleDiets with adequate protein can also help:reduce cravings and obsessive thoughts about food by 60%reduce the desire to snack late at night by halfmake you feel fullIn one study, people on a higher protein diet ate 441 fewer calories per day (10Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source).
Healthy protein sources include:
meat: beef, chicken, pork, and lambfish and seafood: salmon, trout, and shrimpeggs: whole eggs with the yolkplant-based proteins: beans, legumes, quinoa, tempeh, and tofu
Low carb and leafy green vegetables
Don’t be afraid to load your plate with leafy green vegetables. They’re packed with nutrients, and you can eat very large amounts without greatly increasing calories and carbs.
Vegetables to include for low carb or low calorie eating plans:
broccolicauliflowerspinachtomatoeskaleBrussels sproutscabbageSwiss chardlettucecucumber
Don’t be afraid of eating fats.Your body still requires healthy fats no matter what eating plan you choose. Olive oil and avocado oil are great choices for including in your eating plan.Other fats such as butter and coconut oil should be used only in moderation due to their higher saturated fat content (12Trusted Source).
Exercise, while not required to lose weight, can help you lose weight more quickly. Lifting weights has particularly good benefits.By lifting weights, you’ll burn lots of calories and prevent your metabolism from slowing down, which is a common side effect of losing weight (13Trusted Source, 14Trusted Source, 15Trusted Source).Try going to the gym three to four times a week to lift weights. If you’re new to the gym, ask a trainer for some advice.
Make sure your doctor is also aware of any new exercise plans.If lifting weights is not an option for you, doing some cardio workouts such as walking, jogging, running, cycling, or swimming is very beneficial for weight loss and general health.Both cardio and weightlifting can help with weight loss.
If you opt for a low carb eating plan, it’s not necessary to count calories as long as you keep your carb intake very low and stick to protein, fat, and low carb vegetables.If you find yourself not losing weight, you may want to keep track of your calories to see if that’s a contributing factor.If you’re sticking to a calorie deficit to lose weight, you can use a free online calculator like this one.Enter your sex, weight, height, and activity levels. The calculator will tell you how many calories to eat per day to maintain your weight, lose weight, or lose weight fast.
You can also download free, easy-to-use calorie counters from websites and app stores. Here’s a list of 5 calorie counters to try.Note that eating too few calories can be dangerous and less effective for losing weight. Aim to reduce your calories by a sustainable and healthy amount based on your doctor’s recommendation.
Here are 9 more tips to lose weight faster:Eat a high protein breakfast. Eating a high protein breakfast could help reduce cravings and calorie intake throughout the day (16Trusted Source, 17Trusted Source).Avoid sugary drinks and fruit juice. Empty calories from sugar aren’t useful to your body and can hinder weight loss (18Trusted Source, 19).Drink water before meals. One study showed that drinking water before meals reduced calorie intake and may be effective in weight management (20Trusted Source).Choose weight-loss-friendly foods.
Some foods are better for weight loss than others. Here is a list of healthy weight-loss-friendly foods.Eat soluble fiber. Studies show that soluble fibers may promote weight loss. Fiber supplements like glucomannan can also help (21Trusted Source, 22Trusted Source, 23).Drink coffee or tea. Caffeine consumption can boost your metabolism (24Trusted Source, 25).Base your diet on whole foods. They’re healthier, more filling, and much less likely to cause overeating than processed foods.Eat slowly.
Eating quickly can lead to weight gain over time, while eating slowly makes you feel more full and boosts weight-reducing hormones (26Trusted Source).Get good quality sleep. Sleep is important for many reasons, and poor sleep is one of the biggest risk factors for weight gain (27Trusted Source, 28Trusted Source, 29).
These sample meal plans are low carb, which limits carbs to 20–50 carbs per day. Each meal should have protein, healthy fats, and veggies.If you’d prefer to lose weight while still eating complex carbs, add in some healthy whole grains such as:quinoawhole oatswhole wheatbranryebarley
poached egg with sliced avocado and a side of berriesspinach, mushroom, and feta crustless quichegreen smoothie with spinach, avocado, and nut milk and a side of cottage cheeseunsweetened Greek yogurt with berries and almonds
smoked salmon with avocado and a side of asparaguslettuce wrap with grilled chicken, black beans, red pepper, and salsakale and spinach salad with grilled tofu, chickpeas, and guacamoleBLT wrap with celery sticks and peanut butter
enchilada salad with chicken, peppers, mango, avocado, and spicesground turkey bake with mushrooms, onions, peppers, and cheeseantipasto salad with white beans, asparagus, cucumbers, olive oil, and Parmesanroasted cauliflower with tempeh, Brussels sprouts, and pine nutssalmon baked with ginger, sesame oil, and roasted zucchini
cauliflower hummus and veggieshealthy homemade trail mix with nuts and dried fruitkale chipscottage cheese with cinnamon and flaxseedsspicy roasted chickpeasroasted pumpkin seedstuna pouchessteamed edamamestrawberries and brie
You may lose 5–10 pounds (2.3–4.5 kg) of weight — sometimes more — in the first week of a diet plan and then lose weight consistently after that. The first week is usually a loss of both body fat and water weight.If you’re new to dieting, weight loss may happen more quickly. The more weight you have to lose, the faster you’ll lose it.Unless your doctor suggests otherwise, losing 1–2 pounds per week is usually a safe amount. If you’re trying to lose weight faster than that, speak to your doctor about a safe level of calorie reduction.
Aside from weight loss, a low carb diet can improve your health in a few ways, though the long-term effects are not yet known:blood sugar levels tend to significantly decrease on low carb diets (30)triglycerides tend to go down (31)LDL (bad) cholesterol goes down (32Trusted Source)blood pressure improves significantly (33Trusted Source)Other diet types that reduce calories and increase whole foods are also associated with improved metabolic markers and slower aging (34, 35Trusted Source, 36Trusted Source). Ultimately, you may find a more balanced diet that includes complex carbohydrates is more sustainable.
These 14 Weight Loss Supplements Showed No Real Sign of Working in New Study
It’s hard to go anywhere online right now without being blasted with an ad for weight loss supplements. They pop up on social media and in paid ads on random web pages, promising that you’ll lose a huge amount of weight in a short period of time just by taking one of these pills or powders.
But despite the claims, a new study found that there’s really no good evidence to suggest that many popular weight loss supplements actually work.
The study, which was published in the journal Obesity, was a systematic review of 315 randomized controlled trials-considered the gold standard in scientific research-that evaluated how well 14 dietary supplements worked. Of those, only 16 of the randomized controlled trials found evidence of significant weight changes (from 1-10 lbs.) in people who took supplements vs. a placebo during the study period.
Even then, the weight loss results were not consistent, and many studies had different results. Some studies would show a supplement was linked to weight loss, while others found it wasn’t.
About 15% of adults in the US have used a weight-loss supplement at some point in their lives, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), with more women using these supplements than men. Americans spend about $2.1 billion a year on weight-loss supplements, the NIH says.
Lead study author John A. Batsis, MD, associate professor in the department of nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, tells Health that his research team had “full objectivity” in looking at the supplements. The results, he says, “suggest that more high quality evidence is needed” before these supplements can be recommended to patients.
“Despite the large number of potential supplements available, this review does not support strong, high-quality evidence of the efficacy of any of these products,” Dr. Batisis adds.
Here’s what you need to know about the findings.
What are weight loss supplements, exactly?
A wide variety of weight loss supplements are available, and they all promise to help users drop pounds. These supplements come in capsules, tablets, liquids, powders, and bars, with manufacturers claiming the products reduce macronutrient absorption, appetite, body fat, and weight and increase metabolism and thermogenesis, per the NIH.
Common ingredients include botanicals, dietary fiber, caffeine, and minerals. However, the US Government Accountability Office says that “little is known about whether weight loss supplements are effective,” noting that some supplements “have been associated with the potential for physical harm.”
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates dietary supplements, but the agency doesn’t require that they be reviewed or approved by the FDA before they go on the market. Instead, companies that make supplements are responsible for determining that their products are safe and the claims on the label are true and not misleading.
Which weight loss supplements did the study look at?
There were 14 supplements overall:
- ephedra or caffeine
- green tea
- guar gum
- garcinia cambogia
- conjugated linoleic acid
- white kidney bean
- calcium plus vitamin D
What experts say about the study findings
They’re not shocked by the results. “Many of these substances have not been well studied,” Fatima Cody Stanford, MD, MPH, MPA, an obesity medicine physician and clinical researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital, tells Health. “When they are, many studies find what we see here-no significant weight loss.”
Keri Gans, RD, author of The Small Change Diet, agrees. “This is 100% not surprising to me,” she tells Health. “So many supplements make claims that unfortunately have no conclusive scientific research to back them up.”
Given that these supplements aren’t tightly regulated, Dr. Stanford is concerned about the potential that they could make people less healthy. “As an obesity medicine physician and scientist, I believe in using evidence-based medicine to help persons address their excess weight,” she says. “The safety profiles of many substances that are utilized may lead to other health problems.” There are also no dosage or safety measures to make sure that substances are well-regulated, Dr. Stanford says.
Relying on supplements alone can also mean that a person isn’t engaging in other healthy lifestyle choices, Gans says. “Taking a supplement in hopes of achieving weight loss is not teaching an individual anything about creating healthy habits for long term success,” she says. “Regular exercise and a well-balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, veggies, 100% whole grains, monounsaturated fat may definitely help a person lose weight as well as achieve nutritional benefits. A supplement should never replace food and/or exercise.”
If you’re concerned about your weight and its potential impact on your health, Dr. Stanford recommends speaking to your health care provider about your options-not taking weight loss supplements. “Why venture down this path of potential poor outcomes when we have health care providers and a treatment paradigm that can help you to achieve and maintain a healthy weight?” she says.
12 Foods With More Vitamin C Than Oranges
Foods high in vitamin C
If you chug a glass of orange juice every time you start sniffling, you may be onto something. Though studies show that consuming vitamin C can’t actually prevent colds, loading up on this nutrient may help slightly shorten the length of time you’re sick and reduce the severity of your symptoms. Thing is, a medium-size orange only has 69.7 mg of vitamin C, which is actually less than that of many other common fruits and veggies. To pack the ultimate vitamin C punch and give your diet more variety, fill up on these 12 superfoods.
A half-cup of chopped or diced chili peppers delivers 107.8 mg of vitamin C. Plus, researchers from the University of Buffalo found that capsaicin, the compound that makes chili peppers hot, may help relieve joint and muscle pain.
Red bell pepper
A cup of chopped red bell pepper contains nearly three times more vitamin C than an orange—190 mg. Red peppers are also a great source of vitamin A, which promotes eye health.
RELATED: The 5 Healthiest Salad Dressings
Green bell pepper
A cup of chopped green bell pepper contains less vitamin C than its sweeter sister, but at 120 mg, it’s still 200% of your recommended daily allowance. Green bell pepper is also a great source of fiber.
In addition to twice your recommended daily intake of vitamin A and seven times the recommended amount of vitamin K, a one-cup serving of kale provides 80.4 mg of vitamin C. The nutrition powerhouse also delivers a sizeable dose of minerals and fatty acids.
RELATED: 7 Health Benefits of Kale
This cruciferous veggie provides 132 mg of vitamin C plus a punch of filling fiber for just 30 calories per serving. Plus, research shows broccoli may have cancer-preventing properties.
Research shows that eating papaya can help clear your sinuses, brighten your skin, and strengthen your bones. A one-cup serving delivers 88.3 mg of vitamin C.
A cup of this superfruit contains 84.7 mg of vitamin C, plus healthy doses of folate and other compounds shown to promote heart health. Another unexpected benefit of strawberries? They may help whiten your teeth naturally.
RELATED: The Health Benefits of Strawberries
Whether you roast it, steam it, or mash it, eating a small head of cauliflower gives you a 127.7 mg dose of vitamin C, plus 5 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein.
These little cabbages are loaded with cancer-preventing phytonutrients and fiber, not to mention 74.8 mg of vitamin C. If you’re usually turned off by their bitter taste, bring out their natural sweetness by roasting them.
In addition to 78.9 mg of vitamin C, pineapple contains bromelain, a digestive enzyme that helps break down food and reduce bloating. Bromelain also acts as a natural anti-inflammatory that can help you recover faster after a tough workout.
One serving of kiwi (about 2 fruits) boasts 137.2 mg of vitamin C. The fuzzy fruit is also rich in potassium and copper.
By reducing carbs or replacing refined carbs with complex carbs, you’ll likely experience reduced appetite and hunger. This removes the main reasons it’s often difficult to maintain a weight loss plan.With a sustainable low carb or lower calorie eating plan, you can eat healthy food until you’re full and still lose a significant amount of fat.The initial drop in water weight can lead to a drop in the scales within a few days. Fat loss takes longer.Join to Chat