In the last year, new research helped us learn the truth about eating a healthy diverse diet and the best time to have a protein shake to support weight loss. But that’s by far not all. We combed through all of the studies published in the previous 12 months to identify the most surprising and practical weight-loss tips. Whether you aim to lose weight, maintain weight, or simply support your healthiest, fullest life, consider the following strategies and decide which best fits your goals and lifestyle.
1. Eat Breakfast Later and Dinner Earlier
Intermittent fasting continues to be popular, and many protocols exist. However, fasting for an entire day can be difficult for many people. In that case, you may want to consider time-restricted feeding.
In a small pilot study published in the Journal of Nutritional Science, 13 people ate breakfast 90 minutes later than normal and dinner 90 minutes earlier than normal. After 10 weeks, they lost twice as much body fat on average compared with a control group that didn’t change their meal timing.
Again, fasting isn’t for everyone, but if you are interested and need to eat every day to function at your best, this could be a strategy for you.
2. Go Nuts at Snack Time
Don’t shy away from nuts because they are calorically dense. Having nuts rather than chips, fries, or dessert may help you lose weight, researchers shared at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2018. Eating one ounce of nuts or two tablespoons of nut butter daily was associated with less risk of weight gain over four years, as was having nuts instead of a less-healthy snack.
Just be sure you watch your serving size. An ounce of nuts is about 23 almonds, 18 cashews, 49 pistachios, 21 hazelnuts, 8 medium Brazil nuts, 12 macadamia nuts, 14 walnut halves, or 19 pecan halves.
3. Weigh the Pros and Cons of a Low-Carb Diet
How’s this for confusing: Last February, Stanford researchers published a study concluding that a healthy low-fat diet and a healthy low-carbohydrate diet can both lead to about the same amount of weight loss. Then in November, a study published in BMJ concluded that following a low-carb diet (with 20 percent of your calories from carbohydrates) during weight maintenance may help you burn 250 more calories a day, compared to eating a high-carb diet (with 60 percent of your calories from carbs). As a bonus, low-carb diets may help improve artery flexibility—but only in women, University of Missouri scientists discovered.
The bottom line is: Going low-carb may help, but only if you can stick to the plan. If cutting back on carbs makes you sluggish, then you won’t stick to that diet. No matter your carbohydrate intake, focus on nutrient-rich carbs such as sweet potatoes, whole grains, beans, vegetables, and fruit.
Related: Should You Try the Keto Diet?
4. Shift Your Mindset
Before you sit down to have a meal or snack, think about the health effects of what you are about to eat. This pause may help you naturally select less food, according to a Germany study published in the journal Appetite.
Researchers asked participants to focus on the expected pleasure, their intention to stay full until the next meal, or the health effects of the food while choosing the serving size of their lunch. Compared to a control group, the fullness group took larger portions, while those thinking about health helped themselves to smaller servings. That’s the power of mindfulness.