While there are a plethora of diets, pills, and meal replacement plans claiming to help you lose weight quickly, the majority of them lack scientific backing. There are, however, some scientifically validated weight-loss strategies.
Exercising, keeping track of calorie consumption, intermittent fasting, and lowering carbohydrate intake are some of these measures.
In this post, we’ll look at nine weight-loss strategies.
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 has 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 trusted Source on non-fasting days and to avoid over-eating.
2. Tracking your diet and exercise
If someone wants to reduce weight, they should keep track of what they eat and drink on a daily basis. The most efficient method to do this is to keep note of everything they eat in a journal or an online meal tracker.
In 2017, researchers predicted that by the end of the year, there will be 3.7 billion health app downloads. Diet, physical activity, and weight loss applications were among the most popular of these.
This is not without cause, as keeping track of physical activity and weight loss progress while on the go can be a useful tool for weight management. The source you can trust.
Weight loss was aided by a constant recording of physical activity, according to Trusted Source. Meanwhile, a review study conducted by Trusted Source discovered a link between weight reduction and the frequency with which food intake and activity are monitored. A pedometer, for example, can be an effective 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 eight Trusted Sources.
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 help people feel full by regulating appetite hormones. This is mostly due to a drop in ghrelin, the hunger hormone, and a rise in peptide YY, GLP-1, and cholecystokinin, the satiety hormones.
According to research conducted on young adults by Trusted Source, the hormonal consequences of having a high-protein breakfast can continue for several hours.
Eggs, oats, nut and seed butter, quinoa porridge, sardines, and chia seed pudding are all good high-protein breakfast options.
5. Cutting back on sugar and refined carbohydrates
Even when the sugar is found in beverages rather than food, the Western diet is becoming increasingly rich in added sugars, which has definite ties to obesityTrusted Source.
Refined carbs are foods that have been severely processed and stripped of fiber and other nutrients. White rice, bread, and pasta are examples. These foods are easy to digest and convert quickly to glucose.
Excess glucose in the blood causes the hormone insulin to be released, which promotes fat storage in adipose tissue. Weight growth is a result of this.
People should replace processed and sugary foods with healthier alternatives wherever possible. Food swaps that are good 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 bacteriaTrusted Source.
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:
- Increased fibre intake and a more diversified assortment of gut bacteria can be achieved by increasing the number of fruits, vegetables, and grains in the diet. Vegetables and other plant-based foods should make up at least 75 percent of a person’s meal.
- Fermented foods help the healthy bacteria function better while preventing the growth of the bad bacteria. Sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, yoghurt, tempeh, and miso are all high in probiotics, which aid in the growth of beneficial bacteria. Researchers have conducted extensive research on kimchi, and the findings imply that it has anti-obesity properties. Kefir has also been demonstrated in tests to aid in the weight loss of overweight women.
- Prebiotic foods encourage the growth and activity of certain of the beneficial bacteria that help with weight loss. Many fruits and vegetables, particularly chicory root, artichoke, onion, garlic, asparagus, leeks, banana, and avocado, contain prebiotic fibre.It is also in grains, such as oats and barley.
8. Getting a good night’s sleep
Getting less than 5–6 hours of sleep every night has been linked to an elevated risk of obesity in numerous studiesTrusted Source. This is due to a number of factors.
According to research, insufficient or poor-quality sleep lowers metabolism, which is the mechanism by which the body turns calories into energy.
When your metabolism slows down, your body may retain excess energy as fat. In addition, lack of sleep can lead to an increase in the synthesis of insulin and cortisol, both of which promote fat storage.
The appetite-controlling hormones leptin and ghrelin are also affected by how much sleep someone gets. Leptin sends fullness signals to the brain.
9. Managing your stress levels
As part of the body’s fight or flight reaction, stress causes the production of chemicals like adrenaline and cortisol, which initially suppress hunger.
When people are constantly stressed, though, cortisol can stay in their circulation for longer, increasing their hunger and potentially leading to overeating.
Cortisol indicates the need to replenish the body’s nutritional resources with glucose, which is the preferred fuel source.
Insulin then delivers sugar from the bloodstream to the muscles and the brain. If this sugar is not used in a fight or flight situation, the body will store it as fat.
The body mass index (BMI) of overweight and obese children and adolescents was significantly reduced after an 8-week stress-management intervention program was implemented, according to researchers.
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 is important to remember that there are no quick fixes when it comes to weight loss.
The best way to reach and maintain a healthy weight is to eat a nutritious, balanced diet.
This should include 10 portions of fruit and vegetables, good-quality protein, and whole grains. It is also beneficial to exercise for at least 30 minutes every day.