Eat More to Lose Weight
Of the millions of people who follow popular diets every year, less than 1 per cent will achieve permanent weight loss  . Yet these statistics don’t dampen our dream of the quick fix; witness the popularity of TV shows like ‘The Biggest Loser.’
However, a shocking expose in the New York Times  provides food for thought. A study of the 2009 participants of The Biggest Loser revealed most of the 16 contestants regained the weight they lost. Some are even heavier now.
So why don’t diets work? They can trigger binge eating, plus dietary deprivation can mess with hunger hormones, metabolism and our gut bacteria. Let’s look at these factors:
You may have heard that dieting can slow your metabolism. But did you know that it might never return to normal? That was the discovery made by researchers monitoring the The Biggest Loser participants; the contestants’ metabolisms did not recover and in fact became slower as the years went by.
Tip: Eat Breakfast. Studies repeatedly show daily breakfast consumption is associated with maintaining a healthy weight .
The hormone leptin helps control our hunger. However with weight loss, leptin levels fall and people can become ravenous.
Tip: Get enough sleep to stay slim. Lab experiments show lack of sleep leads to higher levels of hormones that boost appetite – ghrelin - and lower levels of appetite suppressing leptin .
Having healthy gut bacteria can determine how many calories you burn according to a study from the University of Iowa . Consuming a wide variety of foods has been shown to boost bacterial diversity, yet diets often leave us slavishly following a narrow list of foods.
Tip: Eat Your Greens. Leafy greens are essential for feeding good bacteria according to researchers from Melbourne and the UK, in a paper published in February . For a sustainable way of eating for health, weight loss and happiness that is delicious and does not deprive, try Natasha’s 12 week Green and Lean Plan.