Does it matter WHEN you eat? A resounding yes, despite the objection of many nutrition professionals. Research shows that eating dinner earlier is effective for both weight loss and reduction of body fat. In a recent pilot study by Antoni and colleagues published in the Journal of Nutritional Science, participants who ate dinner 1½ hours earlier than usual ate fewer total calories and lost weight. This experience of “reverse fasting” is a realistic improvement on Intermittent Fasting, discussed in my previous blog.
Just One Thing to do: If you are trying to lose weight, eat dinner before 6 pm, with no snacking afterwards.
Intermittent fasting refers to periods of not eating, cycled with periods of unrestricted eating. There are several versions, but dieters will often either eat just within a 12-hour time frame (e.g. eat between 9 am and 9 pm) or eat on alternate days (e.g. eat today but not tomorrow, or at least limit what you eat to about 500 calories). It’s a challenging diet for most people and may lead to overeating on both days.
Just One Thing to do: On alternate days, instead of fasting, make all your portions smaller than usual while skipping seconds and snacks. After a week of this, make this your daily routine.
Plenty has been written about the paleo diet in its many forms, so here I offer just a quick list of pros and cons. Pros: It recommends eliminating processed foods and simple sugars. Cons: The science is flawed and meat intake is not great for the environment. Nutritionally, it limits foods that promote good health, including legumes and whole grains.
Just One Thing to do: Instead of following a strict diet, include more fruits and vegetables in place of processed food. Try fruit and oatmeal for breakfast instead of poptarts, chicken caesar salad for lunch instead of a burger and fries, and fish with green beans for dinner instead of Hamburger Helper.
The ketogenic diet is all the rage, and there is no shortage of books, blogs and recipes on the subject. But is it safe? Maybe in the short term, but it is not a healthy long-term approach to weight loss. Side effects include constipation, brain fog, potential nutrient deficiencies, and even smelling like old beer.
Just One Thing to do: For many of the benefits without the side effects, limit your intake of all simple carbohydrates, including soda, energy and coffee drinks, juice, and refined grains such as bagels, doughnuts, sweet cereal, crackers, pretzels, cookies and white pasta.
Introducing the "Just One Thing" Blog! There is so much information out there related to food, nutrition, shopping, cooking, sustainability, and all things related to eating. It's overwhelming, but what if it could be easier? "Just One Thing" offers a weekly tip or nutrition hack to make it realistic and doable for your long-term success, based on the most frequently asked questions I receive. For your reading pleasure, my goal is to stick to 100 words or less. For longer in-depth articles, be sure to visit my Publications page. Stay tuned!