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Lose weight by knowing the scientific reason why those final pounds are hardest to lose

Reducing calorie intake

We can consume more foods with a higher energy density, like pizza, chocolate, and chips, than the same amount of food with a lower energy density, such as apples.

We're prone to overeat high-calorie foods because they're less filling per calorie and more pleasurable to eat. With repetition, you may find yourself choosing the lower calorie option and keeping your weight in check.

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Lose weight by knowing the scientific reason why those final pounds are hardest to lose

Lose weight by knowing the scientific reason why those final pounds are hardest to lose

https://www.inverse.com/science/lose-weight-by-knowing-the-scientific-reason-why-those-final-pounds-a-hardest-to-lose

inverse.com

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Key Ideas

The last five pounds are the hardest

When you are getting close to your weight loss goal, you will often hit a plateau and won't be able to lose the last few pounds.

The reason why this is the case reveals a lot about the dynamic relationship between body weight and appetite.

When weight loss slows down

When dieting to lose weight, there are two primary reasons why weight loss slows down over time:

  • Calorie expenditure decreases with weight loss because fewer calories are needed to maintain and move a lighter body.
  • Weight loss increases the appetite. The hormone leptin tells our brain how much fat is stored in our body. When we lose body fat, leptin decreases and increases our appetite.

Changes in calorie expenditure and the effect of body fat stores on appetite will stabilize body weight in the long run. However, it is hardly noticeable in the short term.

Prevent overeating

We get hungry when our stomach tells our brain that it's nearly empty. But signals from our stomach can leave us vulnerable to overeating.

Fullness is determined partly by the fat, carbohydrate, and protein content of the meal, and partly by the overall amount. If a meal contains more fiber, it's more filling. That is why it is hard to overeat on foods such as fruits and vegetables.

Reducing calorie intake

We can consume more foods with a higher energy density, like pizza, chocolate, and chips, than the same amount of food with a lower energy density, such as apples.

We're prone to overeat high-calorie foods because they're less filling per calorie and more pleasurable to eat. With repetition, you may find yourself choosing the lower calorie option and keeping your weight in check.

Eating less can be difficult

It is hard to resist our desire to eat higher energy-dense foods, making dieting lapses inevitable. Motivation to maintain the diet may dwindle and can add to the perception that the last five pounds are harder to lose.

Our weight will settle around a point that is a balance between the desire for certain foods, our ability to keep our eating in check, and the energy we expend in physical activity.

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The effect of overeating on the body
  • Studies revealed that in physically active and healthy people, the body is able to control the sugar and fat in the blood after a big meal by working a bit harder than usual to regulate metabolism.
  • Hormones released from the gut and pancreas help the body to regulate blood sugar levels.
  • After participants ate past the point of feeling comfortably full, they had little desire to eat anything even four hours after the meal.
  • The also felt sleepier and less energetic after eating too much.
Long-term overeating

Healthy humans rely on the body's ability to work harder in times of need.

However, when we repeatedly eat too many calories at each meal, metabolic syndrome - a combination of high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity - will result. Over time, the body will become unable to react to these situations.

Metabolism

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How The Body Uses Calories
  • Basal metabolism is the energy our body needs to keep our cells working and accounts for 65-80% of most adults' caloric consumption.
  • The thermic effect of food is the energy our body uses to process food and accounts for 10% of most adults' caloric consumption.
  • Physical activity accounts for 10 - 30 % of most people’s caloric consumption .
Controlling Your Own Weight

Not everyone overeats and becomes overweight, and not everyone who becomes overweight or obese develops illnesses like diabetes or heart disease. 

There was never a special diet, exercise regimen, or supplement that worked universally to control weight. Through trial and error, we have to discover habits and routines we can stick with that help us eat less and move more. 

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Calories burned every day

The calories we burn every day include not only movement but all the energy needed to run the thousands of functions that keep us alive. 

Exercise and health

Exercise is like a wonder drug for many health outcomes: reducing blood pressure, reduces the risk of diabetes of heart diseases and slows developing cognitive impairment from Alzheimer's and dementia. 

But as for losing weight, it helps more in weight maintenance than in losing the actual weight.

Human energy balance

Exercise alone has a modest contribution to weight loss. But when you alter one component, cutting the number of calories you eat in a day to lose weight, doing more exercise than usual, this sets off a cascade of changes in the body that affect how many calories you use up and, in turn, your bodyweight.

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Sleep And Weight Fluctuation

Sleeping less has been associated with increased risk of obesity, and addition of body fat, as it affects the overall metabolism of the body, and can also affect our appetite.

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More Sleep Means Better Metabolism
  • Various studies point out that sleep influences two appetite hormones, leptin (to decrease appetite) and ghrelin (to stimulate appetite), which is also known as the hunger hormone.
  • Lack of sleep is associated with higher levels of ghrelin and lower levels of leptin, making the person more likely to overeat.
More Sleep And More Exercise
  • Sleep-deprived people crave for and also end up eating more carb-rich foods and sugar.
  • Sleep duration affects the release of insulin in the body, that affects our glucose levels, and prolonged sleep deprivation can lead to obesity and type 2 diabetes.
  • Research shows that exercise prevents the damage done by lack of sleep and also makes one eat less.

To stay healthy, one has to sleep more and also do regular exercise.

Macronutrient Dieting
Macronutrient Dieting

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Counting Calories Vs Counting Macros

Calorie counting does not take into account the type of nutrients consumed, reducing the many types of food into numbers. It essentially makes no distinction between cottage cheese and a chocolate bar, apart from the number of calories they have.

The advantage of counting the macros (fats, proteins and carbs) is that many essential nutrients (vitamins, minerals) are naturally incorporated in our food intake.

Documented uses of the keto diet

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The Ketogenesis process

It supplies energy under circumstances such as fasting or caloric restriction to certain organs (e.g. the brain, heart, and skeletal muscle).

In ketogenesis, our livers start to break down fat into a usable energy source called ketones. Ketones can stand in for glucose as fuel for the body when there’s a glucose shortage. 

Once ketogenesis kicks in and ketone levels are elevated, the body is in a state called “ketosis,” during which it’s burning stored fat. 

The Keto diet
It is a very low-carb, high-fat diet. People on a ketogenic diet get 5 percent of their calories from carbohydrates, about 15 percent from protein, and 80 percent from fat. It’s this ratio that will force the body to derive much of its energy from ketones. 

That means eating mainly meats, eggs, cheese, fish, nuts, butter, oils, and vegetables while avoiding sugar, bread and other grains, beans, and even fruit.

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Eat Plenty of Protein at Every Meal

Eating food increases your metabolism for a while because extra calories are required to process your meal. This is called the thermic effect of food (TEF).

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Drink More Cold Water

Drinking water may speed up your metabolism for about an hour. This calorie-burning effect may be even greater if you drink cold water, as your body uses energy to heat it.

Drinking water can also help you fill up and help you eat less, especially if you drink it half an hour before you eat.

Do a High-Intensity Workout

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) involves short, intense bursts of activity and help you burn more fat by increasing your metabolic rate.

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The Paleo Diet

The Paleo Diet is an effort to go back to eating how we’re biologically designed to eat, allowing us to tap into our genetic potential and start living healthier immediately.

Lose weight on the Paleo Diet
  1. Eat fewer calories than you burn every day.
  2. Eat mostly real food if you want to be healthy.
  3. Do those two things consistently for a decade to KEEP the weight off.

When you only eat real food and avoid all unhealthy food, you’re more likely than not going to run a caloric deficit – and thus lose weight.

Eat the following:
  • Meat – GRASS-FED, not grain-fed. 
  • Fowl – Chicken, duck, hen, turkey.
  • Fish – Wild fish, as mercury and other toxins can be an issue in farmed fish
  • Eggs – Omega-3 enriched cage free eggs.
  • Vegetables – As long as they’re not deep-fried, eat as many as you want.
  • Oils – Olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil – think natural.
  • Fruits – Fruits have natural sugar, and can be higher in calories, so limit if you’re trying to lose weight.
  • Nuts – High in calories, so they’re good for a snack only.
  • Tubers – Sweet potatoes and yams. Higher in calories and carbs.

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It refers to the biochemical processes that occur within living organisms to maintain life. These processes allow us to grow, reproduce, repair damage, and respond to our environment.

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Metabolic Rate And Weight

It is a common belief that slim people have a higher metabolism and overweight people have a slower metabolism. But, this is rarely the case.

Overweight is in most cases a result of a lifestyle in which one group generally consumes more calories than they need. There isn’t much we can do to significantly change our resting metabolic rate, but long-term strategies, such as increasing muscle mass, may eventually have an effect.

Anabolism

Anabolism is a succession of chemical reactions that build molecules from smaller components and usually require energy. Anabolism allows the body to grow new cells and maintain all the tissues.

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Your metabolism

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How we burn energy

There are 3 main ways:

  • the basal metabolism, the energy used for your body's basic functioning while at rest
  • the energy used to break down food (also known as the thermic effect of food)
  • the energy used in physical activity.

Most of the energy you burn is from your resting metabolism.

Metabolism variations

Metabolism can vary a lot between people, and researchers don't understand why.

2 people with the same size and body composition can have different metabolic rates. One can consume a huge meal and gain no weight, while the other has to carefully count calories to not gain weight.

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