When any business becomes hugely profitable – to the tune of billions of dollars per year – the truth and simplicity of subject matters often get lost as greedy companies swoop in for their piece of the pie.
The business of weight loss is a good example of this.
Weight loss has been a billion dollar industry for decades, but despite the constant flood of gimmicky miracle products and cheap meal-replacement programs into the marketplace (which rely mostly on clever marketing and outright lies for sales), the obesity problem in America continues to worsen.
Losing weight has become so confusing that the simple truth of it has been lost. Every “expert” preaches a different secret to success, and conflicting information is so rampant that it’s overwhelming to the average consumer.
One major reason for this is the glaring lack of regulations that would prevent companies from making unfounded statements and empty promises in their advertising.
So where can we turn for the truth?
The answer is science.
I mean reliable science, not science that’s financed by the very companies trying to profit from us. I mean science that goes beyond the hollow catchphrase “clinically proven” which is repeated endlessly in weight loss commercials and means exactly nothing.
Is science perfect? No, because scientific studies can be poorly run, biased, and misinterpreted, but quality research is nevertheless our best bet in discovering what works and what doesn’t.
The following weight loss strategies have actually been proven to work, and you’ll notice that none of them are sold on TV or as part of a multi-level marketing program.
1. Reduce Insulin Levels
Insulin is the master hormone, controlling and/or affecting all other hormones. But for weight loss purposes, consider insulin to be the fat storage hormone. If insulin is present in your bloodstream, you’re storing fat. If it isn’t, you’re burning fat.
*This is not an invitation to cut back on your prescription medication. I’m referring to insulin spikes that result from eating foods high in sugar and carbohydrates.
♦ Lowering the body’s production of insulin causes the kidneys to get rid of excess sodium, thereby reducing bloat and water weight (1)(2). Many people lose between 5-10 pounds quickly (in less than a week) by lowing their carbohydrate intake.
♦ Lowering insulin also eventually reduces cravings and causes people to eat less (3).
The key to avoiding insulin spikes is to keep carb intake under 10 grams per sitting. Read how a low-carb diet can change your life.
2. Increase Fiber Intake
Glucomannan is a low-calorie, natural dietary fiber that has been shown to take up space in the stomach and delay stomach emptying (6)(7)(8). It is the one supplement used for weight loss that is truly scientifically supported.
♦ Human studies showed that glucomannan helped subjects lose 8-10 pounds over 5 weeks (9).
Fiber is found abundantly in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, but supplements are available for anyone whose diet isn’t ideal. We recommend fiber supplements made from whole foods (plants) rather than chemical variants or non-food sources (wood pulp – yes, it’s a thing).
3. Take Probiotics
For those who already eat well and exercise regularly but still struggle to reach their weight loss goals, probiotics are frequently the missing link. Proper digestion and intestinal function are too often overlooked as important elements in maintaining a healthy weight.
♦ One study showed that administering probiotics was therapeutic for obesity by reducing weight gain, insulin resistance, and food intake while improving glucose tolerance (15).
♦ Another study showed probiotics to inhibit the absorption of fat (16).
4. Eat Whey Protein
Protein shakes are by far the most polluted and abused (by marketers) supplements being sold today – a side effect of companies who care more about profit than quality.
Between all the fillers, hidden sugars, synthetic vitamins, and chemical additives being unleashed into these protein powders, choosing one at random without researching the ingredients is a bad decision.
We recommend a thorough investigation into the ingredients of any shake mix you decide to use.
5. Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is more a schedule of eating than a diet. It involves keeping food intake within a specific time period and fasting the rest of the day. As a means of weight control, intermittent fasting is not only extremely effective, but also can be very good for your health.
Scientists state that, “Intermittent fasting or alternate day fasting may be an option for achieving weight loss and maintenance.” (21)
Intermittent fasting has been proven to:
♦ Be more effective than calorie restriction (24).
♦ And help maintain muscle mass which will maintain metabolism (25).
Check out this excellent guide for an explanation of the different IF methods.
6. Drink Tons of Water
Technically, water is the only liquid the human body needs, and it functions better when well hydrated. Proper hydration can improve digestion, diminish joint pain, and flush the kidneys.
If you’re trying to lose weight, soda is your mortal enemy (even zero calorie soda), and water is your best friend.
7. Drink Green Tea
Human studies have shown that green tea and green tea extract can increase fat burning and cause fat loss (31)(32)(33). This is most likely the result of a combination of caffeine (34)(35) and EGCG, an antioxidant known to aid in fat loss.
Researchers in one study concluded, “Green tea can reduce body weight in obese subjects by increasing energy expenditure and fat oxidation.” (36)
Coffee falls under this category as well due to its caffeine content. Read our article on the health benefits of coffee.
8. Get Enough Sleep
Poor sleep is one of the strongest risk factors for obesity, being linked to an 89% increased risk of obesity in children, and 55% in adults (37).
This is partly because lack of sleep 1) can disrupt hormones that regulate appetite and satiety (feeling full) and cause people to overeat, and 2) because the body reacts to fatigue the same way as it does to stress… by producing cortisol which increases inflammation, affects metabolism, and releases sugar stores into the bloodstream for energy.