How indulging in pizza could help dieters to lose weight
A deep dish pizza crammed with cheese and pepperoni could be the key to losing weight, according to research from Portugal – but there is a catch.
The pizza can only be enjoyed once a week as a “treat”, and dieters must watch the kilojoules strictly for the remaining six days.
The study was carried out by Rita Coelho do Vale a professor at Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Men’s Health reported.
Dieters were limited to 44,000 kilojoules a week. But one group were allowed a day off and allowed a small indulgence, such as a pizza as long as they did not break the overall limit.
Binge eating is still discouraged on the day off.
It was found that there was no significant difference in the amount of weight lost by the two groups.
However, the group who were allowed to stray for one day were found to be more motivated to continue with the diet than their counterparts who were allowed no leeway whatsoever.
This was because those who were not allowed to stray became grumpier and more likely to abandon the diet.
The principle of cheat days has been recognised before, but a 2013 study in Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care said even then dieters should abstain from sugary food.
What kind of fat are you?
1. Skinny fat
- Poor diet and exercise regime
- Healthy or low BMI
- Lack of muscle tone
- Poor metabolic health (high-blood lipids, high blood glucose, visceral fat). Visceral fat is normally present when there is a large build-up of fat around the abdominal area.
In more extreme cases, visceral fat can coat the internal organs, leading to serious cardiovascular health problems and diabetes.
How to tackle it:
- Identify problem areas by measuring body fat using callipers; a DEXA scan can reveal the presence of visceral fat.
Building muscle is key:
- An exercise programme should stress cardiovascular and muscle resistance.
- Diet should then support the exercise demands: make sure you are fuelled properly if you’re exercising (carb intake should match exercise demands).
2. Burn-out fat
- Constant tiredness
- Interrupted sleep patterns or difficulty dropping off
- Increased appetite and carbohydrate and sugar cravings
- Tiredness can negatively affect metabolism by causing shifts in “hunger hormones”.
How to tackle it:
- Cutting down on alcohol will help to regulate your sleep patterns.
- Add protein to every meal – this will help to control your body’s insulin levels by slowing down your rate of digestion.
- Introduce a sleep-inducing wind-down time to the end of the day: banish distractions, sip a caffeine-free herbal tea. Have a relaxing bath, read a book in bed.
- Supplements that can help with sleep include magnesium, Lactium, taurine and vitamin B.
- Introducing regular cardio and weight-bearing exercises will promote a healthier sleep pattern, as well as help you build muscle.
3. Stressed fat
- Inability to lose weight, even when dieting; weight accumulation around the tummy.
- Stress fat is normally related to burnt-out fat, as they have a knock-on effect to one another – all hormones in the body work together as part of the endocrine system.
How to tackle it:
- Stop dieting: if you deprive yourself, your body will think it’s being starved, which raises stress levels, contributing to fat storage
- Eat little and often to control blood sugar fluctuations and eliminate refined carbohydrates, sugar and alcohol.
- Sip herbal tea instead of caffeine (a stimulant makes you more stressed, causing more release of cortisol, thus more fat around the middle).
- Food also plays an important role in stress relief. Making healthy food choices – balanced protein, fresh fruit such as raspberries, blueberries and cherries, and vegetables – will aid a sense of wellbeing. Avocado, asparagus and nuts are good healthy, stress-relieving foods to include.
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