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London - We all know that “eat a bit less, exercise a bit more” is key to weight loss, but there are many other factors at play.
Recently United States researchers revealed how morning sunshine can help us slim. They found that people who had most of their daily exposure to moderately bright light in the morning had a lower body mass index than those who had most of their light exposure later in the day.
This is because light sets our body clocks, which in turn control metabolism.
When our body clocks are synchronised with the day, we feel less hungry and our bodies use energy more efficiently, says the study’s author, Phyllis Zee, a professor of neurology at Northwestern University, in the US.
But that’s not the only unexpected way you can shed the kilos. Here we present 14 surprising slimming strategies.
Many of us eat out of habit, particularly when we are distracted by something else.
But doing something to break that habit, such as eating with the wrong hand, can make a difference, say researchers from the University of Southern California.
The study of movie-goers, published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, found people ate half as much popcorn if they were asked to eat it with the other hand.
CHEW ON A CHILLI
Chillies can be hot stuff for losing weight, as they rev up your body’s metabolism, making it burn more fat.
A month-long study of 78 people published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that supplements containing a key substance in chilli, dihydrocapsiate, can raise metabolic rate.
Angelo Tremblay, of Laval University in Canada, believes that capsaicin, a compound in jalapeno and cayenne peppers, may increase the release of stress hormones, which can speed up metabolism.
His research also shows that the heat may reduce appetite – he found a teaspoonful of pepper before meals reduced the amount people ate.
There seems to be a similar benefit with olive oil. Fatty acids in it can make your body burn food faster, according to a study by dieticians at McGill University in Quebec. The beneficial effect was still working six hours after volunteers had a breakfast drizzled with olive oil.
STICK TO QUIET RESTAURANTS
Restaurants, with all their clanging noises, make us want to eat sweeter and saltier foods, according to research in the journal Food Quality and Preference. Our nervous systems are wired to respond to loud noise with a faster heartbeat and higher blood pressure, so we are ready to flee from danger.
MAKE A FIST FOR 30 SECONDS
Clenching your fists for half a minute can halt temptation when you have a food craving, reported the Journal of Consumer Research in 2011. The researcher, Iris Hung, says we subliminally associate flexed muscles with endurance.
AN APPLE (PEEL) A DAY
Apple peel contains ursolic acid, which increases muscle and levels of brown fat (found in the neck and between the shoulder blades).
These boost the rate at which our bodies burn calories.
HAVE A PUDDING AT BREAKFAST
Eating a breakfast that includes a sweet dessert may help you lose weight, say researchers from Tel Aviv University.
The key is to indulge in the morning, when the metabolism is at its most active and we can work off the extra calories.
EAT BORING FOOD TO FEEL FULL
Our appetite is partly governed by a mechanism called sensory-specific satiety. Basically, we feel fuller if we’re eating only one food.
DRINK RED WINE IN A TALL GLASS
Use tall, thin glasses for calorie-laden drinks such as alcohol and fruit juice, and squat glassware for healthy, calorie-free water.
A study published last year in the journal Substance Use and Misuse found we tend to pour at least 10 percent more wine into a wide glass than a standard one. “People have trouble assessing volumes,” says Laura Smarandescu, professor of marketing at Iowa State University. “People tend to drink less from a narrow glass, because they think they’re drinking more.”
SHOP BEFORE YOU’RE HUNGRY
Thinking ahead can help you avoid eating junk food. Scans show hungry brains release hormones that make us crave high-fat, sugary foods.
CHEW A MOUTHFUL 15 TO 20 TIMES
Your mother was right to tell you to chew each mouthful. A Japanese study of 4 700 people found fast eaters weigh more.
In the Journal of Epidemiology, the researchers also warned that eating too fast may raise the risk of diabetes.
Thirty women were given a large plate of pasta and when told to eat quickly, they consumed 646 calories in nine minutes. When encouraged to pause between bites and chew each mouthful 15 to 20 times, they ate just 579 calories in 29 minutes. The slow eaters also enjoyed their food more.
TUCK IN WITH A BIG FORK
Bigger forks can mean slimmer tummies. So says a 2011 study, which found that taking larger bites can lead to us eating less.
The reason, according to the Journal of Consumer Research, is that a large fork helps diners notice how much of a dent they are making in their food.
DROP YOUR FAT FRIENDS
Our idea of normal weight depends on the size of those around us. A US study revealed that, if someone has a friend of the same sex who becomes fat, their risk of being overweight doubles.
Being influenced by those around us in this way is called “social contagion”. Research in the journal Obesity says it explains overweight families.
DON’T BUTTER YOUR BREAD
Use olive oil instead of butter on bread and you will eat 16 percent fewer calories and drop your bread consumption by a quarter, according to a study published in the International Journal of Obesity. It is thought that olive oil stimulates taste receptors more powerfully than butter, making people feel fuller quicker.
GET A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP
Insufficient sleep knocks our appetite hormones out of kilter.
A Chicago University study that cut 12 young men’s nightly sleep down to just four hours found their levels of the appetite hormone ghrelin rose by 28 percent after two days.
Their levels of leptin, which tells the brain the stomach is full, fell by 18 percent. The men began to crave high-carb foods, reported the Annals of Internal Medicine. – Daily Mail