Cun­ning hacks, neat tricks, clever tips and great foods to help you shed the pounds and keep them off – for good

Runner's World (UK) - - In This Issue -

45 fool­proof fat-loss tips to help you shed the pounds and keep them off

Seafood and cheat it

The lower your lev­els of the sati­ety hor­mone lep­tin, the higher your risk of obe­sity. But sci­en­tists have found a deca­dent so­lu­tion to this prob­lem. Crus­taceans such as lan­goustines and lob­sters are rich in the min­eral zinc – with roughly a third of your RDA per serv­ing – which ramps up pro­duc­tion of the hor­mone, says the jour­nal Life Sci­ences. Try to do with­out the lash­ings of gar­lic but­ter.

Empty the tank

Evo­lu­tion has hard­wired our bod­ies to store fat for im­pend­ing famine, rather than torch­ing it for fuel. But im­pos­ing a tac­ti­cal food de­lay could hack your weight-loss hard drive. Re­searchers at the Univer­sity of Bath found that train­ing on an empty stom­ach trig­gers a rise in PDK4 gene ex­pres­sion – code for a sign your body fat is be­ing burnt. Run first thing, be­fore you eat, and you needn’t show re­straint at the break­fast ta­ble.

Spring load­ing

Add some spring onions to your postrun meal. They con­tain chromium, which can help you metabolise carbs for fuel, plus they’re full of fi­bre and cal­cium, which aids weight loss.

Put cheat days in the diary

Sci­en­tists now know willpower can be a fac­tor of bi­ol­ogy, rather than an ac­quired trait. This means our ge­net­ics could af­fect our re­sponse when we are faced with a mouth­wa­ter­ing menu, ac­cord­ing to Johns Hop­kins Medicine, Mary­land, US. Take im­pulse out of the equa­tion by mak­ing ‘burger night’ a weekly event, rather than weak­willed in­dul­gence. A 2,700kcal cheat day can binge-proof your brain for the rest of the week.

En­joy sea­son’s eat­ings

Leaner run­ners have health­ier, more di­verse gut bac­te­ria than their over­weight peers. This is partly in­her­ited, but re­work­ing your staid nu­tri­tion plan can flip the switch. A study in the jour­nal Sci­ence found that a sea­sonal diet makes these food-pro­cess­ing mi­crobes more ef­fi­cient, so ditch im­ported foods. In­stead, ask your butcher for in-sea­son meat and gather sea­sonal food at your lo­cal green­gro­cer.

Play with fire

Any­one with a pas­sion for Sriracha sauce will be aware of chilli’s abil­ity to bump up me­tab­o­lism. But now re­search from the Amer­i­can So­ci­ety for Mi­cro­bi­ol­ogy has also found that cap­saicin – the burn­ing core chem­i­cal in chilli – hacks the genes in­volved in di­ges­tion, too, us­ing up calo­ries long af­ter your tongue stops tin­gling.

Add to your bar tab

It’s not just your choice of bev­er­age that can af­fect fat loss – your bar snack has a part to play, too. Peanuts are a source of resver­a­trol, the com­pound fa­mously found in red wine, which, the Euro­pean Jour­nal of

Nu­tri­tion re­ports, boosts your fat cells’ abil­ity to burn calo­ries at rest. And should you need some­thing to wash it down with, Pinot Noir tops the wine list. Pub peanuts tend to be the salted va­ri­ety, so show a lit­tle self-con­trol (and class) and don’t tip the whole bag down your throat.

Get soba

Run­ners eat a lot of pasta, but run­ning coach and for­mer GB marathoner Mara Ya­mauchi chooses soba noo­dles in­stead. ‘They are thicker, flat­ter and chewier than pasta but cook the same way,’ she says. Made from whole­grain buck­wheat, soba has just as many carbs as pasta, plus the phy­to­chem­i­cal rutin. Stud­ies show that rutin may halt the ex­pan­sion of fat cells and lower blood­fat lev­els.

Ac­quire taste

If an in­sa­tiable sweet tooth is sour­ing your weight-loss plans, it’s time to re­think your af­ter­noon pick-meup. But it’s not just the choco­late diges­tives that are at fault: a study by Cor­nell Univer­sity, US,

Play the green card

Spread half a ripe av­o­cado on your toast in­stead of slather­ing it in but­ter. ‘Most of us could do with more mo­noun­sat­u­rated fat – av­o­cado con­tains plenty, as well as many other health ben­e­fits,’ says nutritionist Drew Price. It’ll raise your ba­sic meta­bolic rate, help­ing you to burn more fat. found 200mg of caf­feine – a dou­ble espresso’s worth – damp­ens our taste­buds, height­en­ing sugar cravings. If you re­coil at the word ‘de­caf’, just try to re­strict your­self to a sin­gle shot.

Diet by halves

Stick­ing to that month­sold strict eat­ing plan? Take a break. Ac­cord­ing to the Univer­sity of Tas­ma­nia, Aus­tralia, adopt­ing a ‘two weeks on, two weeks off’ pro­to­col pre­vents the drop in your me­tab­o­lism – part of your body’s hard­wired famine re­sponse – that oc­curs mid­way through a strict nu­tri­tion regime. Give your­self a break ev­ery now and then and you’ll stick with the plan.

Dark magic

Up­grade your morn­ing por­ridge by skip­ping the fruit top­ping and grat­ing dark choco­late over it in­stead; its polyphe­nols sup­press genes re­lated to fat stor­age, ac­cord­ing to

Nu­tri­tion Jour­nal, rewiring me­tab­o­lism. Bet­ter still, a 600kcal break­fast with a lit­tle co­coa has been linked to a re­duced in­ci­dence of overeat­ing later in the day.

Put the brakes on

If you want to su­per­charge your calo­rie burn, the mus­cle you need to be work­ing is your jaw. Chew­ing food thor­oughly in­creases ‘diet-in­duced ther­mo­ge­n­e­sis’ – calo­rie burn­ing – while im­prov­ing blood-sugar con­trol, ac­cord­ing to Clin­i­cal

Nu­tri­tion. Aim for 40 chews per mouth­ful, in­stead of the usual 15. You’ll have far less time for sec­ond help­ings, too.

Bite- sized ad­vice

Slice your food into morsel-sized pieces be­fore you eat. You’ll take in 20 per cent fewer calo­ries, ac­cord­ing to the Jour­nal of the Amer­i­can Di­etetic As­so­ci­a­tion, which says peo­ple rate sliced serv­ings as 27 per cent larger than un­sliced, so you eat less.

Chews care­fully

Chew­ing sug­ar­less gum for 15 min­utes af­ter eat­ing will curb your de­sire to snack for up to three hours af­ter your meal, ac­cord­ing to Glas­gow Cale­do­nian Univer­sity.

Pic­ture the scene

Food cravings be­gin in the brain, not the belly, with the part of your grey mat­ter re­spon­si­ble for vis­ual im­agery be­ing par­tic­u­larly ac­tive when you sud­denly want some­thing to eat. Next time you find your­self sali­vat­ing, re­wire your men­tal cir­cuits by bring­ing a vivid, emo­tive pic­ture to mind, sug­gests Fron­tiers in Psy­chi­a­try. Lack­ing imag­i­na­tion? A scroll through @nat­geoad­ven­ture on in­sta­gram should take you to a bet­ter place.


With seven grams of pro­tein per serv­ing, jerky is a healthy postrun snack ( just make sure it has 480mg or less of sodium per serv­ing).


A much bet­ter op­tion than crisps, says nutritionist Justin Lord. They con­tain B vi­ta­mins and an­ti­in­flam­ma­tory cel­ery seed (which re­duces bloat­ing).


It will help to lower your blood-glu­cose lev­els, which, in turn, switches your body into fat-burn­ing mode. Keep it plain and air popped, please.

Tor­tilla chips and salsa

High in vi­ta­mins and an­tiox­i­dants, salsa con­tains just 70kcals per 250g. En­joy it with baked, multi­grain tor­tilla chips.

Pep talk

When the waiter comes to your ta­ble and prof­fers the black pep­per, tell him to go for it. The spice can block the for­ma­tion of fat cells, thanks to a com­pound called piper­ine.

Shape your day

Sim­ply look­ing at fruit and veg in the morn­ing can hard­wire you to make bet­ter food de­ci­sions dur­ing the day, says re­search from the Univer­sity of Leeds. So make sure that fruit bowl is front and cen­tre at break­fast time, even if you eat noth­ing from it.

Yel­low fever

Just 1 tbsp of mus­tard can in­crease your me­tab­o­lism by 20 per cent, says the Ox­ford Polytech­nic In­sti­tute.

Milk your re­cov­ery

Af­ter run­ning the hard yards, a re­cov­ery drink tastes amaz­ing. But that’s be­cause it prob­a­bly con­tains ar­ti­fi­cial sweet­en­ers. ‘Skimmed milk is a good, quickly ab­sorbed source of qual­ity pro­tein and car­bo­hy­drate,’ says nutritionist Drew Price. ‘And even bet­ter, it’s widely avail­able for when you don’t have a sports drink to hand.’

Drain the fat

Mak­ing spaghetti bolog­nese? Dry-fry the mince un­til brown, then throw it into a colan­der and rinse with boil­ing water to drain away any re­main­ing fat. Wipe out the pan with kitchen pa­per to re­move the fatty residue be­fore re­turn­ing the meat to the pan and adding the other in­gre­di­ents.

Get blitz­ing

Smooth­ies and soups can be in­cred­i­bly quick and easy to make, but when they are pre­pared in a blender they also fight fat. Ac­cord­ing to re­searchers at Penn­syl­va­nia State Univer­sity, US, foods with more air, such as shakes pre­pared in the blender, keep you feel­ing fuller for longer.

Juice up your me­tab­o­lism

Try up­grad­ing your morn­ing juice. Not only is wa­ter­melon lower in sugar than orange juice, it’s also rich in the amino acid cit­rulline. Stud­ies by Paris Descartes Univer­sity found the com­pound ‘loosens’ stub­born belly fat, mak­ing it eas­ier for your body to burn it up. Try What a Melon (£1.95 for 330ml, sains­burys.co.uk), which is 100 per cent pure.

Goat gloat

Goat’s cheese is 40 per cent lower in calo­ries than the stuff made from cow’s milk.

Think ahead

Peo­ple who pre­pare left­overs for the next day spend more time savour­ing their meal and feel fuller more quickly, ac­cord­ing to re­search from the Univer­sity of Min­nesota, US.

Acid test

It doesn’t taste great, but add 2 tbsp of ap­ple cider vine­gar to a litre of water. A study in the Jour­nal of Agri­cul­tural and Food Chem­istry found the acetic acid sup­presses your body’s abil­ity to store fat. Ap­ple cider vine­gar can also be added to sal­ads (see p17 for more).

Make it am­bi­ent

Gen­tle mu­sic and soft light­ing made peo­ple con­sume 18 per cent fewer calo­ries per meal, found a study by Cor­nell Univer­sity, US, and they en­joyed their food more, too.

In a pickle

A study in the Euro­pean Jour­nal of Clin­i­cal Nu­tri­tion found that di­ets rich in fer­mented foods, such as sauer­kraut, pick­les and miso re­duced belly fat by five per cent over 12 weeks.

Cool your cans

Re­frig­er­ate olives, an­chovies, pesto, curry paste, sun-dried toma­toes and any other jars or tins in which the in­gre­di­ents are packed in oil. When chilled, the fat rises to the top of the jar and col­lects so you can scrape it off and bin it be­fore us­ing the prod­uct.

Ice and easy

Mak­ing gravy with meat juices is the tasti­est op­tion, but it adds fat, too. ‘An easy way to ex­tract the fat is to pop a cou­ple of ice cubes into your gravy and watch the fat col­lect around them. Spoon it off and you’ve got your­self a much health­ier gravy,’ says nutritionist Ju­dith Wills.

Eat later

‘Save your carb in­take for the hours around your run or the evening,’ says Andy Reay, strength and con­di­tion­ing coach at Pure Sports Medicine (pure­s­portsmed.com). ‘If you’re go­ing on a long run, eat some­thing be­fore, but for shorter dis­tances, save fu­elling un­til you’re done. Af­ter train­ing, your body will soak up these carbs to re­place the glyco­gen you have used up, so it won’t be con­verted to fat.

Sweet dis­po­si­tion

If you have a lunchtime Haribo ‘is­sue’, start the day with a small slice of choco­late cake. Sci­en­tists at Tel Aviv Univer­sity, Is­rael, found that a sweet treat in the morn­ing sup­presses cravings later in the day.

Re­de­fine pro­tein

A chicken breast con­tains up to a third of a run­ner’s daily pro­tein needs. By eat­ing pro­tein-rich legumes, beans and nuts along with the meat, you take in more an­tiox­i­dants. Over time, slowly add more beans and re­duce the amount of meat.

Don’t be thick

In­stead of thick­en­ing your sauces or gravies with flour or but­ter, try puréed veg­eta­bles, bread­crumbs or even left­over mashed potato.

Beef up your butty

Putting tomato in your sand­wiches will keep you feel­ing fuller for longer and will make you less likely to gorge on mid-af­ter­noon snacks. The fruit sup­presses the hor­mone ghre­lin, which is re­spon­si­ble for hunger pangs.

Soy sur­prise

Splash on a lit­tle low-salt soy sauce as sea­son­ing. Re­search shows that soy proteins in­ter­act with the re­cep­tors in our brains that tell us we’re full. Choos­ing the lowsalt va­ri­ety means you can limit any health down­sides.

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