Scientists in this rapidly growing field are finding connections between the gut microbiome and a healthy immune system and gastrointestinal system, as well as autoimmune diseases (such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease), allergies and asthma – even cancer. And with every study that is published, they are convinced that a healthy gut leads to a healthy body. Indeed, when your gut is happy, your skin glows with health and you look and feel younger.
Bottom line: Consider your lifestyle and what you’re willing to give up before committing to a diet. Your goal should be long-term wellbeing—not just quick results—and you’ll regain the weight if you get burnt out. “The sustainability [of these diets] is just really low for the majority of people,” says registered dietitian Marjorie Nolan Cohn, RDN, owner of MNC Nutrition in Philadelphia. “After a period of time, you get that sense of deprivation because you’re not eating that variety that you were used to.” But if you could take or leave bread, these diets could be for you. Before taking the plunge, read the 15 things you need to know before starting a keto diet.
The researchers explain that people who cook their own meals may simply have other good-for-you habits, like exercising more. However, they also concluded that home cooks ate more fruits and vegetables (along with a wider variety of foods), have healthier methods of prepping their food, and splurge less on foods high in calories and sugar. No clue where to start? Check out these 25 high-protein chicken recipes for weight loss.
Staying hydrated is important when you’re trying to lose weight. Drinking plenty of water helps your body maintain proper fluid balance, stops water retention (a big cause of bloated bellies), and even increases the feeling of fullness so you eat less overall. But if plain water bores you, spruce it up with fresh herbs, citrus fruits, and other low-cal flavor enhancers (sliced cucumbers work well too) to encourage you to drink up. Try our Sassy Water recipe from the Flat Belly Diet!
Before a workout, turbocharge the fat-blasting effects by sipping a cup of green tea. In a recent 12-week study, participants who combined a daily habit of 4-5 cups of green tea each day with a 25-minute sweat session lost an average of two more pounds than the non tea-drinking exercisers. Thank the compounds in green tea called catechins, belly-fat crusaders that blast adipose tissue by triggering the release of fat from fat cells (particularly in the belly), and then speeding up the liver’s capacity for turning that fat into energy.
Weight loss teas and supplements have been found to contain dangerous (and sometimes illegal) ingredients like ephedra and cybutrine, which are tied to heart attacks. Bitter orange, a banned stimulant, has also been found in some products. I’ve had patients who’ve taken weight loss supplements that were purchased from places like vitamin shops, who then suffered seizures. (These 15 common supplement ingredients could make you seriously sick.)
Add resistance training. A 2006 study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism suggests that combining cardiovascular (aerobic) exercise with resistance training is more effective than cardiovascular training alone in getting rid of abdominal fat. You can do resistance training with free weights, exercise machines or resistance bands and it may also be useful to train from unstable positions due to increased muscle activity.
Sure enough, a more recent 2014 report confirmed we need to update the equation. While cutting calories does help you drop pounds, the weight-loss rate slows down by the time you’ve been dieting for four weeks, the analysis found. The 3,500-calorie rule “can lead to unrealistic expectations and eventual frustration when dieters can’t seem to shake those last few pounds,” says Acosta.