“Anytime you’re stressed, you probably go for food,” Dr. Seltzer says. (Have we met?!) That’s because cortisol, the stress hormone, stokes your appetite for sugary, fatty foods. No wonder it’s associated with higher body weight, according to a 2007 Obesity study that quantified chronic stress exposure by looking at cortisol concentrations in more than 2,000 adults’ hair.
How-life writer and unrepentant alcoholic Henry Chinaski was born to survive. After decades of slacking off at low-paying dead-end jobs, blowing his cash on booze and women, and scrimping by in flea-bitten apartments, Chinaski sees his poetic star rising at last. Now, at fifty, he is reveling in his sudden rock-star life, running three hundred hangovers a year, and maintaining a sex life that would cripple Casanova.
"Soups have a high water content, which means they fill your stomach for very few calories," says Rolls. Broth-based bean soups, in particular, contain a hefty dose of fiber and resistant starch -- a good carb that slows the release of sugar into the bloodstream -- to make that full feeling really stick. "Once in the stomach, fiber and water activate stretch receptors that signal that you aren't hungry anymore," Rolls says. All this for a measly 150 calories per cup.
The best diet is the one we can maintain for life and is only one piece of a healthy lifestyle. People should aim to eat high-quality, nutritious whole foods, mostly plants (fruits and veggies), and avoid flours, sugars, trans fats, and processed foods (anything in a box). Everyone should try to be physically active, aiming for about two and a half hours of vigorous activity per week. For many people, a healthy lifestyle also means better stress management, and perhaps even therapy to address emotional issues that can lead to unhealthy eating patterns.
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Although we tend to favor plant-based proteins, Stonyfield produces a quality option for the milk-loving crowd. Low-fat milk and milk protein concentrate drive both the sugar and protein content, and we can’t scoff at the 1:1 protein to sugar ratio when most companies struggle to get close to 1:2. You won’t find any fancy flavors here, but the chocolate, vanilla and strawberry they do offer should be enough to satisfy most cravings.
Much has been made of the recently published results of the DIETFITS (Diet Intervention Examining the Factors Interacting with Treatment Success) study. Most of the headlines emphasized the fact that the two diets involved — low-fat and low-carb — ended up having the same results across almost all end points studied, from weight loss to lowering blood sugar and cholesterol.
Drinking a daily cup of coffee or two alone isn’t going to magically make you drop a few sizes, but it might help a little. The caffeine in coffee increases your body’s energy use, even when you’re sitting on your butt, so you end up burning more calories after drinking it, the Mayo Clinic points out. The caffeine in coffee may also help you feel less hungry, lowering the odds you’ll overeat, the organization says.
Food for thought: Moskovitz considers Volumetrics one of the best options for weight loss. The diet plan teaches you the caloric value of foods without the need to track everything you eat. It’s not disruptive to your lifestyle either. Simply choose low-calorie foods that fill you up. Volumetrics is also a great option for weight maintenance, she says.
The MIND—a mix of DASH and the Mediterranean diet—is supposed to help protect the brain and prevent Alzheimer’s disease, though much more research is needed to determine whether it really helps curb brain decline. People are encouraged to eat from 10 brain-healthy food groups: green leafy vegetables, all other vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil and wine. They are also told to avoid foods from five food groups: red meats, butter and stick margarine, cheese, sweets and fried or fast food.
Tacos all day every day? Yes please. The Taco Cleanse promises weight loss from eating one of your favorite foods exclusively, and you can actually get a decent amount of nutritional variety because, well, you can put anything in a taco. It's only supposed to last for 30 days — though going at it for only a week is cool, too — and that's why this diet can help you hit a reset button (you shouldn't be using it as a full-time nutrition plan.) Plus, a lot of the recipes are actually vegan, so you'll typically be reaching for healthy ingredients over processed ones.
It’s easy to see the front of a package and get lured in by misleading claims, particularly those that say they’re “free-from” something, says Taub-Dix. She points out that gluten-free foods may also be high in sugar, salt, calories, and fat and contain less fiber—and thus be weight-promoting. Reading the nutrition label will give you the real truth for what you’re buying.