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Trim This Nutrient To Lose Weight Without Dieting

By on April 5, 2013

A study recently commissioned by the World Health Organization (WHO) has found that people can lose weight and become healthier without cutting back on the amount of food they eat. Simply by replacing some foods with lower-fat alternatives, subjects were found to have decreased levels of bad cholesterol and an average weight loss of 3.5 pounds. This study included data collected from 33 previous studies of over 70,000 people.

In addition, they found that a lower-fat diet reduced waist circumference by 0.5 cm and decreased body mass index (BMI) by 0.56kg/m2. BMI is a measure of a person’s weight in relation to their height. It is important to note that this was not a study on weight loss; the participants in this study were only cutting back on the fat content of their meals, so they were eating an ordinary amount of food.

The lead researcher, Lee Hooper, MD, said “Those who cut down on more fat, lost more weight … the effect isn’t dramatic, like going on a diet.”
Other benefits of choosing low-fat alternatives include reductions in blood pressure, a decreased risk of heart disease, and a decreased risk of conditions associated with obesity such as stroke and some cancers. This research was conducted at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom and published in the British Medical Journal in December 2012. The WHO is using the information gleaned from this study and others like it to update its dietary guidelines.

This international healthy-diet initiative could not come at a better time, with the obesity rate in the United States at over 30% and with many European nations close behind. Obesity is defined as having a BMI of over 30 kg/m2 (overweight is defined as more than 25 kg/m2). The study has also proven that you can effortlessly reduce your weight and improve your health simply by changing a few shopping habits. The shock of dieting is not necessary – you only need to make some minor changes to your eating lifestyle over a period, and you will see significant and long-lasting improvements to your weight and size.

Hooper advises that “This means having low-fat milk and yogurt, cutting down on butter and cheese, and cutting the fat off meat … Remember, this isn’t a diet, so don’t take it to extremes, but work out a way of eating that you can stick to permanently.”

The key here is a sustainable diet, but the more foods you can substitute with low-fat alternatives, the better. Hooper suggests starting with saturated fats, which in higher amounts are known to be a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Foods high in saturated fats include high fat butter and cheese and hydrogenated oils like coconut and palm.

Many studies on cholesterol show that cutting down on saturated fats is great, but increasing your uptake of healthy fats at the same time is even better. Unsaturated fats, the ‘healthy fats,’ are often found in plants and can improve cardiovascular health while reducing cholesterol levels. Some of the most popular foods containing unsaturated fats are avocados, oatmeal, nuts, fish, olive oil, fruits, lentils and beans, and green tea.

A transformation in the collective eating habits of the most overweight and unhealthy countries could lift a great burden from the world healthcare system. This study has shown that such a simple, practically effortless change in diet can lead to a statistically significant health benefit and weight loss.

The best part is that you can make this change immediately – simply go for the lower-fat option of your favorite foods.

Source: Hooper, Lee., Abdelhamid, Asmaa., Et al., “Effect of reducing total fat intake on body weight: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials and cohort studies.” British Medical Journal, 6 December 2012: 345. doi: dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e7666

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