HCG, or Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, is a hormone produced during pregnancy by the placenta after implantation, and doctors sometimes prescribe it for fertility issues. But this hormone has also gained popularity as a weight-loss supplement — and using it as such can be dangerous. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns against purchasing over-the-counter hCG, as these supplement products are illegal. (34)
Listen up: Skipping meals will not make you lose weight faster. If a hectic day makes a sit-down meal impossible, stash an energy bar or a piece of fruit in your car or tote, keep snacks in your office desk drawer, and make a point of getting up to grab a nosh — anything that will keep you from going hungry! Going long periods of time without food does double-duty harm on our healthy eating efforts by both slowing down your metabolism, and priming you for another binge later in the day. (Think: You've skipped breakfast and lunch, so you're ready to takedown a whole turkey by dinner!) Make it your mission to eat three meals and two snacks every day, and don't wait longer than three to four hours without eating. Set a "snack alarm" on your phone if needed.
The goal? Reverse (or prevent) heart disease. Nutrition of course plays a huge role in a healthy ticker, and Dr. Ornish's plan keeps you focused on eating the super healthy stuff: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, soy, nonfat dairy, egg whites, and omega 3s. The challenge is no meat, poultry, or fish or caffeine (so it can be hard to follow), but you can eat unlimited calories if you're doing it for health rather than weight loss. Not only is it ranked a top plant-based and heart-healthy diet by U.S. News & World Report, but research shows people on the diet had healthier cholesterol levels and they lost about seven pounds after a year.
If you like the taste of apple cider vinegar, then by all means, drink up! But if you are a normal human being who prefers not to chug pure acid, then you should know there's zero evidence that drinking the nasty stuff can actually help you drop pounds (or impart the laundry list of health benefits the Internet seems to associate with it, for that matter).
The classic weight-loss shake got an additional injection of protein, doubling the old amount while slashing sugar content. The newest version of the long-lived shake comes in creamy vanilla and milk chocolate, so you’ll have to go with lower protein if you want something more creative like cappuccino. The key to the best tasting shake possible: always chill it thoroughly.
Timing out your meals can be a useful strategy to maintain and lose weight, suggests a study in The Journal of Nutrition. The researchers found that eating less frequently was helpful in reducing intake, and they recommended eating breakfast and lunch five to six hours apart. That’s relatively easy to do if you have breakfast at 7 a.m. and lunch at noon, but it’s an important reminder that timing matters.
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Make sure that the diet has been studied extensively for safety — and discuss any changes with your physician or registered dietitian before beginning a new diet. (If you don’t have a dietitian, find one in your area at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website.) And do a self-check to ensure the diet fits with your own values and preferences.
Level of difficulty: Giving up fatty, sugary and salty treats is never easy, but the DASH diet doesn’t restrict entire food groups, making it more likely you’ll stay with the plan. Plus, the lean protein and fiber filled meals ensure you won’t be battling hunger pangs either. It requires no specialty foods or recipes and you’re not counting calories or points, just daily servings from various food groups.
“When it comes to losing weight, what actually moves the needle is always dietary change,” says Caroline Cederquist, MD, a weight management specialist in Naples, Florida. People make the common mistake of going hard on exercise and then stopping when they don’t see results, she says. At the outset, focus your efforts towards changing what you eat, once you start to lose weight, then add exercise.
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While it might sound counterintuitive to eat something before you head out to a restaurant or party, showing up famished to the event will likely make it all the harder to stick to your weight loss goals. Eating something small (about 100 calories) with fiber (two to four grams) is a great way to readjust your appetite so you can show up and mingle a bit before diving into the cheese dip. Choose a whole food to take the edge off, like an apple or handful of nuts. For example, 30 pistachios are just 100 calories and offer two grams of fiber, along with protein and healthy fats, to truly take the edge off your appetite while providing a satisfying pre-party crunch. Enjoy your mini snack with a tall glass of water before the festivities to reduce your chances of post-party weight gain.
Close the Kitchen at Night. Establish a time when you will stop eating so you won't give in to the late-night munchies or mindless snacking while watching television. "Have a cup of tea, suck on a piece of hard candy or enjoy a small bowl of light ice cream or frozen yogurt if you want something sweet after dinner, but then brush your teeth so you will be less likely to eat or drink anything else," suggests Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, WebMD's "Recipe Doctor" and the author of Comfort Food Makeovers.
Your New Year's resolution diet should be based on a well-balanced eating plan that fits your lifestyle, rather than a weird fad replete with food restrictions. That's according to U.S. News & World Report's best diet rankings for 2018. The two diets that tied for the top spot -- the Mediterranean Diet and the DASH Diet -- fit that bill because they feature real food and reasonable, flexible guidelines, experts said.
Beans are an excellent source of slow-release carbohydrates, as well as a good source of protein and fiber, which slow the digestive process to help you stay fuller, longer. “Research finds that eating just three-quarters of a cup of beans a day for six weeks can help you lose close to six pounds. And if you’re trying to lower your cholesterol, it’s a double win as the soluble fiber in beans helps whisk cholesterol out of your body,” says Ansel. She also says you don’t necessarily need to cook dry beans from scratch. Canned beans are one of the most underrated convenience foods, so keep a rotation of all kinds - like black, pinto, chickpea and cannellini - in your pantry. Try adding beans to your soups and salads, add them minced to meat dishes, enjoy a bean dip like hummus, or toss them in a salad.
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"These diets are so restrictive that of course you're going to lose weight fast because you're not eating enough calories to sustain basic activities of your body, let alone any exercise. That's nothing that any person can sustain for the long term," Hogan said. "The weight's going to come back if you do lose any weight, and then it's going to be harder to lose weight in the future."
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"Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension" emphasizes fruits and veggies and slashes sodium, fat, and saturated fat. Cutting sodium can help minimize bloat, and eating more low-calorie, high-fiber foods is a bright idea for any woman who needs to fit into her skinny jeans. More than that, it's a heart-healthy way of eating that can keep blood pressure in check. So you'll feel good, too.