When it comes to dieting, counting calories is ordinarily the normal way of doing it, however, new research shows that you can diet without stressing about counting calories.
Researchers who conducted a study at the Stanford University School of Medicine discovered that people who cut back on refined grains, highly processed foods, and added sugar while adding more whole foods without concerning themselves about calorie counting or limiting portion sizes lost notable amounts of weight over a year.
And a New England Journal of Medicine research showed that people who ate red/processed meats, and more servings of junk food, gained weight during four-year intervals in comparison to those who ate more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and yogurt were protected from sneaking weight gain — in spite of calorie intake.
This is not suggesting that calories do not matter in dieting; they do. But 150 calories from salami are not the same as 150 calories from spinach, and the number of calories in a food does not mean it is healthy.
According to Lisa R. Young, Ph.D., RDN, the author of Finally Full, Finally Slim, suggested that people would be better off concentrating on improving their diet quality and eating instead of counting calories. She further claimed that a counting calorie system is not accurate and does not show the whole picture.
Get rid of those tedious calorie-counting apps and as an alternative, use the following system to get in shape.
Concentrate on Fiber When You Diet
Daily Goal – 25 Or More Grams Per Day
Researchers at the University of Massachusetts discovered that by concentrating on consuming a higher-fiber diet is just as successful for losing weight as following a set diet regimen.
Lisa R. Young further stated that fiber is mostly found in foods that are low in calories, and they also fill you up, making it a win-win for losing weight.
Another reason to give this a try: An investigative report in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that eating more fiber enhances your microbiome — that is the levels of essential bacteria in your gut.
And a strong microbiome has been connected to many healthful things such as better digestion to enhanced mental health. Yet despite these findings, there are still millions of adults that don’t get enough daily fiber.
If you’re among the fiber-deficient, try some legumes: one cup of beans will give you 15 grams of fiber. Other fiber-friendly foods include oatmeal, fruits, seeds, nuts, vegetables, and whole grains.
Daily Goal – 20 To 30 Percent of Lesser Bites
It sounds like fiction, but a study conducted by the Brigham Young University discovered that people who counted their food bites and sips of non-water liquids throughout the day, and then focused on taking 20 to 30 percent fewer food bites and sips were able to lose several pounds during the course of thirty days — without committing to any changes in their diets or exercise routines.
According to the study, it suggested that when you count bites, it slows down your food intake. And in turn, it helps you eat more mindfully and better able to recognize your body’s fullness signals.
In different words, you’re less likely to eat and drink more than you need to if you focus on how many times you bring the spoon to your mouth.
If you decide to give it a try, start by counting the number of bites of food and sips of liquid (except for water), you consume during a week.
Then figure out the average and reduce the total by 20 to 30 percent per day to reach your goal. For example, if you average 150 bites/sips per day, you would reduce that number to between 105 – 120 bites/sips per day.
Daily Goal – 20 – 30 Grams For Each Meal
The amount of protein that is recommended for women who are very active is between 1.2 – 2.0 grams for every kilogram of body weight to promote the creation and repair of muscles while keeping your appetite at bay.
The latest science also shows that when you eat, it is as significant as how much you eat: Instead of eating your daily protein ration at a single meal, break it evenly throughout the day with all your meals.
A study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics explained that muscle protein absorption increased when people ate about 30 grams of protein during a meal (a 3 ounce can of tuna) and that consuming more than 30 grams will not make you bigger.
Keep in mind that any additional calories that you consume —be it from protein, fat, or carbs — will be stored in the body as fat.
To cover the spread, study your weekly meal plan and include a protein with every meal and snack. Fish, eggs, chicken, yogurt, legumes, and eggs are all great options.
Don’t Go Out To Dine
Daily Goal: 3 Or Fewer Meals Away From Home Per Week
An American Journal of Preventive Medicine study discovered that adults who ate out regularly ate less nutritious diets and had higher food costs.
A study also published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics noted that women who ate lunch out at a minimum, once a week, lost, on average, 5 fewer pounds over a year than those who brought their lunch.
Moreover, women who eat loads of fast food may be more inclined to endure infertility than women who seldom, if ever, consume fast-food meals, advise researchers from the University of Adelaide in Australia.
To overcome your weekly dining-out habit, prepare a week’s worth of healthy snacks and meals, and then create some time to batch-cook your meals. Eating out is not as appealing when you’ve got a delicious homemade meal to munch on.
Eat Your Vegetables With Your Diet Plan
Daily Goal: 3 Cups Per Day
Most nutrition sayings come and go, but the push to eat more vegetables will never die.
Beyond decreasing the risk for almost every disease in existence, studies show that people who eat more daily servings of vegetables managed to have slimmer waistlines and did a more satisfying job at staving off weight gain.
Paraphrasing Marni Sumbal, MS, RD, author of Essential Sports Nutrition: A Guide to Optimal Performance for Every Active Person (Rockridge Press, 2018), “When you eat more vegetables, it manages to replace other higher-calorie foods in your diet to help you with weight management.”
“And their extra fiber will slow down digestion, which supports fullness to help curb overeating.”
Cook all your meals and snacks with vegetables to ensure you hit your optimal consumption: Add shredded carrots to your oatmeal in the morning, dig into a big antipasto for lunch and toss around a vegetable-laden stir-fry for dinner.
You can use frozen vegetables as a suitable and budget-friendly way to easily use more into everything you eat, from soups to plates of pasta to smoothies.
Cut Added Sugar For Your Diet
Daily Goal: Less Than 40 Grams (Ten Teaspoons)
There are studies that have proven that those who eat white more sugar face an added risk for diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
And let’s not forget unwanted belly fat — and those up and down sugar levels can leave you feeling drained. Sumbai explains that your body reacts differently when you eat natural sugars found in fruits as compared to sugars found in cookies.
You are likely consuming unwanted sugar without you even realizing it. Processed sugars are hidden in foods such as salad dressings, ketchup, yogurts, etc.
And you also must be careful of portrayed to be “natural sugars” such as honey as it must be counted toward your daily intake of sugar.
Fortunately, today’s nutrition labels show the grams of added sugar, making it way easier to follow and count your sugar intake.
Limit your sugar consumption to less than six to twelve teaspoons (24 to 48 grams) daily. Instead of eating foods with added sugars like flavored cereals or yogurts, eat plain oatmeal or plain yogurt.
Beware of Liquor
Daily Goal: Less Than 3 Drinks Per Week
The investigation against alcohol is surefire: A 2018 study from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing determined that people who did not drink alcohol were more successful at losing weight during a four-year lifestyle intervention experiment.
And another study explained that women who drank a lot when they were younger had a higher risk of becoming obese as they age.
More so, researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis observed that having one to two alcoholic beverages more than three times per week increased the likelihood of dying prematurely, particularly from cancer — by about 20 percent because when alcohol enters your body it is broken down into the carcinogenic chemical compound acetaldehyde.
“When someone drinks, the liver is used to metabolize the alcohol in place of fat, which can increase fat buildup around the midsection,” Sumbal emphasizes. She continues that people often disregard the calories in liquor (and sweet mixers), which can seriously add up over a week.
Furthermore, your inhibitions are lowered when you get drunk, making you more inclined to eat anything mindlessly. It’s like a chain reaction that puts you in a lose-lose situation.
You don’t have to avoid going out on the weekends with your friends, but be smarter and more conscious about drinking. If you want to have a drink, order a smaller serving or order a cocktail with a lot of soda water in it.
BE MINDFUL OF WHAT YOU EAT (AND DRINK), AND NOT THE CALORIE COUNT!