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Weight Loss Nutrition Tips

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Here's a list of weight loss nutrition tips to help you change your dietary habits for the better and lose weight. They won't produce immediate results, but each weight loss tip is relatively simple and easy and over time their effects will accumulate and you'll inevitably lose weight. Instead of going on and off weight loss diets, it's your lifelong daily eating habits that need to change so that you can lose weight and keep it off permanently. So try one, a few, or all of these tips and tricks for healthier eating each day and your diet will be that much better.

Understand Caloric Balance

There is one single fundamental law that controls whether you lose weight or gain weight. Any attempt at weight loss, whether it involves surgery, a change in diet, more exercise, or anything else, must alter your caloric balance and ultimately yield a net negative caloric balance within your body to be successful. Read the Calories Explained article to learn how this fundamental law works and how weight loss depends on it.

Stop Drinking Soft Drinks

an assortment of nutritional fruits and vegetables

Now that you understand caloric balance, this tip should be obvious. There are 146 calories in a single can of your typical cola soft drink and all of those calories come from the 40 grams of sugar in the can. As far as your body is concerned, drinking one can of cola is no different than pouring 9 or 10 teaspoons of sugar into a glass of water and drinking it. You are consuming large amounts of calories and getting zero nutritional value from it. Even if you drink only 2 cans per week you'll still be consuming about 15,200 calories per year from soft drinks and, since there are 3,500 calories in one pound of fat, if you're not doing anything to burn those calories off they'll turn into about 4.3 lbs of fat. If you extrapolate this over a 10 year period it adds up to 43 lbs of fat! To lose weight and keep it off, drink water, tea, or coffee instead of soft drinks.

Watch What You Put In Your Coffee

It's estimated that more than half of the North American adult population drink coffee and/or tea on a daily basis. This daily consumption can be a large source of calorie intake for those who add sugar and cream to their drinks. Black coffee alone has zero calories, but one little cream container has 22 calories and a teaspoon of sugar has 16 calories. That isn't much by itself, but if you drink one coffee each day with only one cream and one sugar then you are consuming 13,870 calories (which will turn into almost 4 lbs of fat if not burned off) each year. Weight loss will be easier if you cut sugar and cream out of your coffee, but if you can't do that then try replacing sugar with a sugar substitute and cream with low fat milk.

Don't Eat Cheese, Butter, Cream, Margarine, Oils, or Mayonnaise

Just like soft drinks, all of these food products pack large amounts of calories into relatively small volumes, and they provide very little nutritional value. The majority of the calories in cheese, butter, cream, margarine, oils, and mayonnaise are obtained from fat, and will be quickly stored as fat on your body. If you only eat 5 grams of butter each day (and most people eat much more than that) then you are consuming roughly 13,150 calories (which will turn into 3.75 lbs of fat if not burned off) each year from butter alone.

Eat Fruit Instead of Drinking Fruit Juice

It is better to eat a piece of fruit than to drink fruit juice. The majority of fruit juices lack many of the nutrients that are present in the actual fruit itself and, through processing, are reduced to not much more than sugar water. Do not be fooled into thinking that drinking fruit juice is the equivalent to eating a piece of fruit. Marketers want you to believe this, but a real piece of fruit generally has much more vitamins, fiber, and phytochemicals than fruit juice and their nutritional values shouldn't be thought of as similar. From a weight loss perspective, consider the following: an average California orange has about 65 calories and will satisfy your hunger much more than a cup of California orange juice, which has about 110 calories.

Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

This is very important. You can eat large volumes of fruits and vegetables without consuming large amounts of calories (in contrast to butter and sugar, for example, which have large amounts of calories in a small volume). Fruits and vegetables are full of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals, so you'll not only lose weight but you'll also reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, and many other illnesses. Any shift in your diet that increases your fruit and vegetable consumption is a good one. Try the following: once each day fill a very large bowl (like the size that you would normally serve four salad servings out of) almost to the top with baby spinach, then cover it with slices from one full tomato, slices from one full orange, slices from one full apple, raisins, blueberries, walnuts, and almonds, then mix together and eat the whole thing. Don't put any dressing on it, just eat it as is. Without making any other changes to your diet this by itself is guaranteed to help you lose weight. Try it and see!

Buy Smaller Plates

People tend to eat the amount of food that they are served rather than the amount of food that they need, and the size of the plate you eat from will subconsciously influence the amount of food that you serve yourself. If your plate is large, a meal will tend to look smaller than it actually is and you'll want to fill the plate up, causing you to serve yourself more food than you actually need. If you purchase smaller plates this effect will be diminished and you won't even have to think about it. The same effect occurs when you eat at a restaurant, but in a restaurant you can't control the size of your plate so you should try to be conscious of the serving size on it. It's unfortunate to waste food, but just because you are given an enormous serving it doesn't mean you have to finish it. Only eat what you need.

Eat Slowly

While you're eating, the satiety signals that your body sends to your brain to inform it that you are no longer hungry take time to develop. If you eat your food quickly your satiety signals won't develop in step with your rate of consumption, and you won't feel full when you should feel full. This means that, despite having eaten more than enough, you'll continue to eat because you still (incorrectly) feel hungry. The obvious solution to this problem is to eat your food slowly. A study has shown that people tend to eat less when they are eating slowly. If you find that you have eaten slowly and still feel hungry when you're done, have a glass of water. This will add some volume to your stomach so you'll find it easier to wait for the real satiety from the food to take effect.

A. Andrade, G. Greene, K. Melanson, Eating Slowly Led to Decreases in Energy Intake within Meals in Healthy Women. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Volume 108, Issue 7, Pages 1186 - 1191.

Eat A Big Breakfast

Research has shown that eating a large breakfast with lots of carbohydrates and protein will reduce cravings and hunger for the remainder of the day, making it easier for people on a reduced calorie diet to stick to their plan and lose weight. Over an 8 month period, obese and sedentary women that ate a large, high carbohydrate, high protein breakfast that filled half of their daily 1,240 calorie quota lost an average of 40 pounds, whereas women following a high protein, low carbohydrate, 1,085 calorie per day diet without a large breakfast lost an average of only 9 pounds. Presumably, this approach should help you to lose weight by consuming less during the day, even if you aren't following a strict calorie reduced diet.

D. Jakubowicz, G. Brewster, The Endocrine Society Annual Meeting, San Francisco, June 17, 2008.

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