Whether you're trying to reduce your cancer risk, slash your carbon footprint, or you just want to take a stand as an animal lover, there are tons of benefits associated with going vegetarian. And one of those benefits could be weight loss. In fact, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that people who ate about 250 grams of meat a day—roughly the size of one half-pound steak, piece of poultry, or processed meat—packed on more pounds over the course of five years compared to other study participants who ate less animal protein. And this was true even when they had the same amount of calories overall. But slimming down as the result of going plant-based is definitely not guaranteed. In fact, certain missteps could lead to weight gain.
Herbal teas, which can be made using a variety of different herbs such as cinnamon, ginger root, chamomile and red raspberry leaf, contain just 2 calories per cup. A study published in 2010 in the “Journal for Nurse Practitioners” reports that herbal teas support weight loss by minimizing poor dietary choices and decreasing consumption of high-calorie, sugary beverages. In addition, they can help reduce the calorie content of soups when used as soup stock.
Consuming bilberries, a northern European cousin to the blueberry, may help reduce bloat-inducing inflammation, according to a study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research. To come to these findings, researchers divided participants into two groups; one group was given a diet that included an equivalent of 1.5 cups of blueberries, while the other group followed a control diet that didn’t include the fruit. At the end of the experiment, the bilberry-eating group had significantly less inflammation than their counterparts who didn’t munch on the berry. Since the fruit is native to Northern Europe, it isn’t widely available in the US. To reap the benefits, enjoy a few cups of bilberry tea.
… that lists sugar, fructose, or corn syrup among the first four ingredients on the label. You should be able to find a lower-sugar version of the same type of food. If you can’t, grab a piece of fruit instead, especially if you show signs you’re eating too much sugar. Look for sugar-free varieties of foods such as ketchup, mayonnaise, and salad dressing. Also, avoid partially hydrogenated foods, and look for more than two grams of fiber per 100 calories in all grain products. Finally, a short ingredient list means fewer flavor enhancers and empty calories. Sounds impossible, but you can actually learn how to give up sugar without missing it.
Dr. Kohnke and his team then tested thylakoid in humans and found that it also acts as a natural appetite suppressant in normal-weight people. Eleven subjects ate a high-fat meal (a sandwich with thylakoid-rich pesto or regular pesto). Afterwards, levels of three different appetite signaling hormones were altered in those given the thylakoid-rich sandwiches. Two hours after the meal, they showed significant increases in the satiety hormone cholecystokinin compared to those who did not eat a thylakoid-rich sandwich. They also had reduced levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin, a hormone secreted by adipose tissue (fat cells) that tells you you’re hungry. Six hours after the meal, they had significant increases in ghrelin’s opposite hormone—leptin—which also control’s appetite by telling you you’re full. The fact that thylakoid increased leptin levels in the blood six hours after eating is important because leptin is crucial for regulating calorie intake between meals and over longer periods of time.
Lots of people have, for their entire lives, used food as a reward. To restrict their own reward, and then not be allowed to have their reward after they succeed is tough. It’s like going into an apathetic void of brain fog and sadness. And sure, you can rewire your habits over time and eventually your body will self-regulate so hunger won’t be an issue anymore, but it takes time. This period is a trial by fire where many people fail.