Making changes to your diet to lose weight is never easy, particularly with the conflicting advice about diet programs urging you to cut carbohydrates, fat or processed foods. It doesn’t matter which diet strategy to which you subscribe; as long as you eat fewer calories than you burn in a day, you’ll lose weight. Specific diets don’t provide an advantage over each other, according to the “New England Journal of Medicine”. Successful weight loss comes from cutting calories from your diet, no matter what source you choose to sacrifice, although several relatively easy substitutions are available.
If you’re even a casual soft drink aficionado, opting for water drastically reduces your daily calorie intake. A two-glass-a-day soft drink habit can contribute enough extra calories to make you put on about 11 to 16 kg (24 to 35 lbs) a year if you don’t adjust your diet to compensate, according to Fit Day. The average person can save 360 calories a day by dropping fizzy drinks out from her diet, according to The Diet Channel -- that’s more than 10 percent of the 3,500-calorie deficit needed to shed a pound of weight.
Non-diet snack foods
Although most dieters know that those snacks they crave -- crisps, chocolate bars and buttery popcorn -- are chock full with fat, it can be difficult to curb snacking altogether. If you’re having trouble eliminating snack food from your diet, merely changing to a low-fat or diet version of the food can eventually have a noticeable impact on your calorie intake. Although you’re better off skipping the crisps in the afternoon altogether, opting for a diet version still promotes weight loss.
Whether you subscribe to a low-fat diet or not, substituting carbohydrates or proteins for fats reduces the daily calorie intake. Nine calories are tied up in each gram of fat, while only four are present in each gram of protein or carbohydrates, which translates to significant calorie difference when you consume equal weights of each nutrient: Replacing 30 g of fat (270 calories) with 30 g of lean protein (120 calories) allows you to eat the same amount of food while reducing your caloric intake by more than half. According to the National Health Service, most British people eat too much fat and sugar, so cutting some out will probably not make you deficient in essential fats.
Some diets espouse nearly eliminating carbohydrates from your diet, though even if you’re not restricting carbohydrates, eliminating white breads, white potatoes, rice, refined sugar and pasta can help your weight-loss efforts. These carbohydrates are quickly metabolised, which triggers the body to produce insulin in response; the raised insulin levels lead you to feel hungry quickly after eating, according to the University of Maryland Medical Centre in the U.S.
Because your body can’t digest some forms of fibre, switching to a high-fibre diet can aid in weight-loss efforts, according to Tufts University in the USA. Fibre also interferes with your body’s ability to absorb calories, so adopting a high-fibre diet allows you to eat the same volume of food you’re used to eating, as your body can’t digest some of the calories you ingest.
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- New England Journal of Medicine: Comparison of weight-loss diets with different compositions of fat, protein and carbohydrates
- Fit Day: Want to lose weight fast? Cut soda from your diet
- The Fit Channel: General dieting tips
- The Diet Channel: 8 Tips for losing weight and keeping it off
- University of California Los Angeles: Calories count
- University of Maryland Medical Centre: Low-carb diets - The right way to go?
- National Health Service: Healthy eating