10 ways to control your cravings for junk foods

ChocolateFoodCravingsWhen we are trying to lose weight, our worst enemy can be food cravings.

Cravings are different than normal hunger. They are uncontrollable and intense desires for certain foods and very hard to resist.

While cravings for certain foods can vary person to person, they are usually highly processed “junk foods” that contain a lot of sugar.

One of the most common pitfalls for people trying to lose weight are these cravings.

Here are 10 simple ways to avoid these cravings that will help you lose unwanted weight and keep it off.

1. Eat Foods Rich in Protein protein
Eating protein-rich foods reduces appetite and allows you to eat less while still feeling full. Studies have shown that eating a high-protein breakfast significantly reduced cravings (1).

Another study proved that increasing protein to 25% of overall calories consumed actually decreased unhealthy cravings by 60%. This same study showed that nighttime snacking was reduced by 50% (2).

Including more protein in your diet can reduce cravings by up to 60% as well as reduce the desire for nighttime snacking by 50%.

2. Drink More Waterdrink more water
It is easy to confuse being thirsty with being ravenously hungry.

When you feel a strong urge to give into a craving, drink a large glass of water and wait about five minutes.

Chances are you will find the craving disappears because what your body actually wanted was water.

Additionally, drinking enough water has several health benefits. For dieters of any age group, drinking a glass of water before meals can reduce hunger pains and greatly aid in weight loss (4, 5, 6).

Drinking a glass of water before a meal can reduce appetite as well as cravings, resulting in faster and more permanent weight loss.

3. Plan Meals in AdvanceWeekly-Meal-Plan-Handout
Planning your meals a week in advance eliminates the temptation to give in to cravings.

Planning ahead means you don’t have to think about what to eat – it’s already planned. Stick with your plan and you will be less likely to experience cravings.

Planning ahead for each meal eliminates uncertainty and last minute eating, both of which can cause cravings.

4. Reduce or Avoid Stressavoid stress

Being stressed can definitely influence eating behaviors and induce cravings, especially for women (7, 8, 9).

Non-stressed women eat significantly fewer calories than women under stress (10).

Stress has been proven to raise cortisol levels in the blood, which leads to weight gain especially around the waist (11, 12).

Minimize stress in your environment by planning your meals in advance, practicing meditation and getting regular exercise such as walking.

Stress increases eating, cravings and weight gain, especially in women.

5. Don’t Get Too Hungry
too hungry
Eating regular, planned meals and keeping healthy snacks on hand will help you avoid getting extremely hungry.

By eating smaller, more frequent and healthy meals you may be able to avoid cravings altogether.

Hunger is a leading cause for cravings. Avoid extreme hunger by always having a healthy snack ready.

6. Try Spinach ExtractPopeye spinach
Spinach extract is a nutrition supplement made from spinach leaves.

Spinach extract slows fat digestion and increases the release of hormones responsible for appetite control such as GLP-1.

Ingesting 3.7–5 grams of spinach extract before meals can reduce appetite and cravings for several hours (13, 14, 15).

One study proved that adding 5 grams of spinach extract daily reduced cravings for chocolate and high-sugar foods by an amazing 87–95% (16).

Spinach extract slows the digestion of fat and enhances the hormones responsible for controlling appetite and cravings.

7. Eating Mindfully
mindfulness-cartoon
By practicing mindfulness in relation to foods and eating increases your awareness of true hunger vs. cravings and overeating.

Mindfulness teaches you to control eating habits, emotional eating, cravings and hunger (17, 18). It helps you choose and control your response instead of acting impulsively (21).

One study of binge eaters found that mindful eating reduced uncontrolled eating episodes by 75%. It also reduced the intensity of each binging episode (19).

Mindful eating is about choosing how you respond to cravings vs. actual hunger.

8. Importance of SleepWhy-Is-Good-Sleep-So-Important
Sleep deprivation greatly affects the hormones that regulate hunger during waking hours.

Sleep deprivation disrupts these hormones, leading to weakened appetite regulation and increased cravings (20, 21).

People who are sleep-deprived are 55% more likely to suffer from obesity, compared to people who get enough sleep (22).

Sleep deprivation disrupts healthy fluctuations in appetite-related hormones, leading to poor appetite control and increased cravings.

9. Eat Properlyyoucantout-exerciseabaddiet
A diet lacking in the proper nutrients can cause certain cravings. It is also important to eat at regular mealtimes.

If you do need a snack between meals, choose something healthy. Eat only whole foods, such as nuts, fruits, veggies or seeds.

Eating regular, nutritious meals can help prevent hunger and cravings.

10. Don’t Grocery Shop Hungry
shopping while hungry
Grocery stores and food markets are the worst places to be when you are having cravings.

At the supermarket you have easy access to virtually any food you are craving, making it likely you will NOT make the healthy food choices

Also, supermarkets purposefully place the unhealthiest foods right at eye level.

Eat before you go food shopping to reduce the risk of unwanted cravings and impulsive food purchases.

FINAL WORDS

Cravings are common, especially when trying to lose weight. Greater than 50% of people experience cravings on a daily basis (26).

Cravings play a key role in food addictions, weight gain and binge eating (23).

Being mindful of what triggers your cravings makes them much easier to control. It also makes it a lot easier to eat healthy while losing weight at the same time.

Mindful eating to control your cravings is the key to changing your habits so any progress you make can be permanent!

 

Benefits of Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss

fasting-monksThere are many different diets and plans that are popular for weight loss.

One that has recently been getting a lot of attention and I am personally using is called intermittent fasting

When you fast for short periods of time, it helps you to cut down the total calories you eat in a day.

And as an added bonus, it helps optimize the way some hormones work to signal your body for fat storage.

You can read about 6 Ways to do Intermittent Fasting, but the three most popular ones are:

  1. The 16/8 Method: Skip your breakfast throughout the week and eat only during an 8-hour feeding window, like from 12 noon to 8 pm.
  2. Eat-Stop-Eat: Do your fast once (or twice) every week for a 24-hour period. An example would be not eating from dinner one day until dinner the next day.
  3. The 5:2 Diet: Eat just 500-600 calories for two days of the week, but eat regularly the other 5 days.

With any of these methods, it is important that you don’t compensate by overeating during the non-fasting periods.

Adhering to sensible calorie consumption during the non-fasting periods will lead to a reduction in your total caloric intake, which will allow you to lose weight and fat around your belly (2, 3).

How Intermittent Fasting Influences Your Hormones for Fat Storage

fat storage hormones
Body fat is actually the result of how the body stores energy (calories).

When you haven’t had anything to eat for awhile, the body makes several hormonal adjustments so  the energy it’s already stored as fat is more  readily available.

Below are some of the things that happen to your metabolism when you are undergoing a fast:

  • Insulin: Insulin goes up when we digest food. When we fast, insulin in the body falls sharply. Fat burning is made easier with low levels of insulin.
  • Human growth hormone (HGH): Levels of growth hormone shoot up in the body during a period of fasting. This increase can be by as much as  5 x higher.  Growth hormone helps you to lose fat while also gaining muscle, along with other positive benefits (5, 6).Growth hormone  can aid fat loss and muscle gain, among other things (7, 8, 9).
  • Norepinephrine (noradrenaline): Your nervous system delivers norepinephrine to your fat cells. This makes them break down your body fat into free fatty acids that can then be burned for energy(10, 11).

Incredibly, despite what you may have heard  from proponents of the traditional 5-6 meal diet, short-term fasting appears to actually stimulate fat burning.

Of note, two studies have shown that fasting for about 48 hours or so boosts metabolism up to 14%(12, 13). However, fasting periods that are longer can suppress metabolism (14).

Short term fasting can be an excellent tool – it induces many changes including reduced insulin, more growth hormone and increased metabolism

Intermittent Fasting Helps You Reduce Your Calorie Intake

reducing-calorie-intake

The primary reason that intermittent fasting assists with weight loss is that it helps you to consume fewer calories.

While calorie counting is normally not necessary with intermittent fasting, it is true that the weight loss is mostly due to the overall decrease in calorie intake.

Each of the protocols involves missing meals during the fasting periods. Unless you offset this deficit by eating a lot more during the eating periods, you will be taking in less calories.

According to this recent study, intermittent fasting can lead to an astounding amount of weight loss. In this 24 week long study, it was shown to reduce body weight up to 8% (2).

When looking at the actual rates of weight loss, people dropped about 0.55 pounds per week using intermittent fasting, but dropped up to 1.65 pounds per week using alternate-day fasting (2).

Participants lost up to 7% of their total waist circumference, which clearly shows that they lost fat around their belly.

These are fairly dramatic results that prove intermittent fasting can be very effective for weight loss.

More than just weight loss, the rewards of intermittent fasting are are also numerous positives for metabolic health such as lowered blood pressure.

These benefits may even include the prevention of chronic disease and a increase lifespan
(15, 16).

Bottom Line: Intermittent fasting is a simple way to restrict the amount of calories that many people find is easier to follow. Studies indicate that it can help you shed weight and belly fat.

How Intermittent Fasting can help you retain muscle mass

ripped girl
A nasty side effect of crash dieting is often a significant loss of muscle mass(17).

It is interesting that studies indicate less muscle loss from weight loss with Intermittent Fasting as opposed to other methods (18).

Another study showed a standard calorie restriction diet resulted in 25% of the weight loss to be muscle, vs only 10% of weight loss of those using intermittent fasting(18).

A third study had participants eat the same number of calories as usual, but have them all in a huge dinner and nothing else. Surprisingly, they lost body fat and increased muscle mass as well as many other positive changes in total health. (19).

Research indicates that Intermittent Fasting may result in less muscle loss for each pound of fat loss, as compared to non fasting diet plans

It is easier to eat healthy meals with Intermittent Fasting diet

healthy foods

For many people, the simplicity of meal planning is a huge benefit with Intermittent Fasting.

For example, with the 16/8 plan, you only have to plan 2 meals instead of 3 So there is less preparation, and you are more flexible when and where you have to be.

With the 5:2 plan, you only need to plan 500 calories for 2 days. the other 5 days you eat your normal diet, without having to plan for reduced calories.

No matter how well a diet works on paper, REAL people have to stick to it, and the simpler it is, the more likely you will be able to.

Intermittent Fasting is often much simpler than other diets, so is easier to stick to.

Final Thoughts

When it’s all said and done, intermittent fasting can be a helpful tool for weight loss.

In addition to making it easier to lose pounds, it often results in less loss of muscle mass and other improvements in body chemistry.

Its not for everyone, but many people are finding it beneficial. You can read more about Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting here.

 

butter vs margarine

Woman Eating Buttered ToastThere is a massive amount of nutrition misinformation on the internet.

Even the professionals themselves often say things that challenge common sense and don’t seem to have a scientific basis.

For example, when they tell people to replace butter with factory-made margarine…

The Difference Between Butter and Margarine

Butter and margarine serve the same purpose. They are used for cooking, baking and as spreads.

Butter has been a dietary staple for centuries.

It is made by churning the fatty portion of cow’s milk until it turns into the final product… butter. That’s it.

Margarine is totally different. It is a highly processed food that was invented to replace butter. The primary ingredient is vegetable oil along with emulsifiers, colorants and various artificial ingredients.

Vegetable oil is liquid at room temperature. This is why margarine is often hydrogenated, which gives it a harder consistency and extends shelf life. Hydrogenation also turns some of the vegetable oils into trans fats.

Butter is Loaded With Saturated Fat and Cholesterol

Cow

Butter has been demonized by the media and nutrition professionals because it contains large amounts of both saturated fat and cholesterol.

But new studies show that this actually doesn’t matter… despite decades of anti-fat propaganda.

A large review study published in 2010 looked at 21 studies that included a total of 347.747 participants (1).

They found absolutely no association between saturated fat and cardiovascular disease. Other studies lead to the same conclusion (2, 3).

Eating saturated fat actually improves the blood lipid profile. It raises HDL (the “good”) cholesterol and changes the LDL from small, dense LDL (very bad) to Large LDL, which is benign (4, 5, 6, 7, 8).

Eating cholesterol rich foods like eggs leads to the same improvements in blood lipid profiles. The LDL pattern improves and HDL goes up (9, 10).

Unless you have a medical condition like familial hypercholesterolemia, then there is NO reason to fear saturated fats or dietary cholesterol.

Bottom Line: Neither saturated fat nor dietary cholesterol harm the blood lipid profile. They raise the good (HDL) cholesterol and change the LDL cholesterol to a benign subtype that is not associated with heart disease.

Margarine Contains Vegetable Oils and Trans Fats

Toast With Margarine

The main ingredients in most margarines are vegetable oils like soybean or safflower oil.

Vegetable oils are mostly unsaturated, which is a problem because unsaturated oils are liquid at room temperature and cannot be used as spreads.

To remedy this problem, the vegetable oils are subjected to a hydrogenation process. This involves exposing the oils to high heat, high pressure, hydrogen gas and a metal catalyst. Disgusting, yes.

This process prolongs the shelf life of the products and makes them harder at room temperature. Hydrogenation makes unsaturated fats resemble saturated fats.

Hydrogenated fats are also known as trans fats, which are highly toxic and strongly associated with heart disease (11, 12).

Historically, margarine used to be loaded with trans fats. Today there are some trans-fat free varieties available.

However, be aware that manufacturers can label their products trans-fat free as long as there is less than 0.5 grams of trans fats per serving.

To make sure you’re avoiding trans fats, read labels. If it says “hydrogenated” anywhere on the ingredients list, then avoid it.

But even though a margarine is genuinely trans-fat free, it can still be bad for you.

The vegetable oils used in them, such as soybean and safflower oil, may be seriously harmful on their own.

These types of oils are the biggest sources of polyunsaturated Omega-6 fatty acids in the diet, which we’re already eating too much of (13, 14).

Several studies link excess consumption of polyunsaturated vegetable oils with cancer, violence and the very thing margarine is supposed to prevent… heart disease (15, 16, 17, 18).

Bottom Line: Margarine is loaded with vegetable oils and (sometimes) trans fats. Excess consumption of these fats is associated with many serious diseases, including heart disease.

The Awesomeness of Grass-Fed Butter

Butter

The health effects of animal foods depend on what the animals ate.

Cows eat grass in their natural environment. But in many countries, they are fed grain-based feeds.

Butter from grass-fed cows is much more nutritious. It contains more:

  • Vitamin K2 – This little known vitamin plays a role in preventing many serious diseases, including cancer, osteoporosis and heart disease (19, 20, 21, 22).
  • CLA – Studies show that this fatty acid can have anti-cancer properties and help lower body fat percentage in humans (23, 24, 25).
  • Butyrate – A short-chain fatty acid found in butter which is also produced by bacteria in the intestine. It can fight inflammation, improve digestive health and may help prevent weight gain (26, 27, 28).
  • Omega-3 – Grass-fed butter has less Omega-6 and more Omega-3, which is important because most people are already eating way too many Omega-6 fatty acids (29).

Given that grass-fed butter contains a lot more heart-healthy nutrients than butter from grain-fed cows, the health effects of butter can vary drastically depending on what the cow ate.

Bottom Line: Butter from grass-fed cows contains much greater amounts of heart-healthy nutrients than butter from grain-fed cows.

Margarine and Blood Lipids

Butter Curls

Alright, now we know the difference between butter and margarine. Let’s look at the actual studies.

I’d like to point out that margarine does lower some risk factors for heart disease, especially if it is enriched with plant sterols or stenols.

These margarines lower total and LDL cholesterol in the short term, but they may also decrease HDL (the good) cholesterol (30, 31, 32, 33, 34).

However, it’s important to stress the difference between risk factors and hard outcomes.

Just because something improves a risk factor for heart disease, such as LDL, it does NOT mean that it will actually lead to a reduction in heart disease, which is the outcome that matters.

There are many drugs that have been proven to lower LDL cholesterol, but not all of them actually lead to a reduction in heart disease.

That’s because there’s a lot more than just cholesterol that causes heart disease.

The studies that look at hard outcomes like heart attacks show that butter is either benign or healthy, while margarine increases the risk.

Bottom Line: It is true that margarine lowers total and LDL cholesterol in the short term. However, it also lowers HDL (the good) cholesterol. Reducing cholesterol doesn’t necessarily reduce the risk of heart disease.

When Measuring Hard Outcomes, Butter Comes Out Ahead

Doctor Pointing His Finger

When looking at actual heart attacks, there is literally no evidence that butter causes harm.

A large review published in 2013 looked at 16 prospective studies.

High-fat dairy consumption was found to lower the risk of obesity, with no consistent association between dairy fat, cardiovascular disease or other metabolic diseases (35).

However, the effects seem to vary between countries.

In the Nurses’ Health Study (United States), dairy fat increased the risk of heart disease, while in an Australian study it was found to lower heart disease risk by a whopping 69% (36, 37).

This drastic difference is probably caused by different feeding practices. Cows in the U.S. are mostly grain-fed, while cows in Australia eat grass and therefore have more Vitamin K2 and Omega-3s… both of which protect against heart disease.

The Framingham heart study was an observational study that went on for 20 years. In this study, margarine was found to drastically increase the risk of heart disease, while butter had no effect (38).

Butter vs Margarine

Photo Source: Stephan Guyenet.

It seems pretty clear that observational studies don’t support the idea that butter causes heart disease.

But such studies can not really prove anything, they can only show that two factors are correlated. Correlation does not equal causation.

However, we also have evidence from randomized controlled trials… which are the gold standard of research.

In the Sydney Diet Heart study, 458 men that had recently had a cardiac event were randomized into two groups.

One was instructed to reduce saturated fats (includes butter) and increase their intake of polyunsaturated vegetable oils, which includes margarine (39).

The group increasing their vegetable oil (and margarine) consumption was 62% more likely to die and 70% more likely to die of heart disease. The blue line is the group eating the “heart-healthy” *cough* diet.

Sydney Diet Heart Study and Risk of Death

This makes perfect sense given that both trans fats and vegetable oils have been associated with cardiovascular disease and death (40, 41, 42).

Bottom Line: Studies show that margarine increases heart disease risk, while butter may be benign. Butter from grass-fed cows may even be protective.

Take Home Message

Given that nutrition organizations have been warning us about butter and pushing us towards processed industrial margarine, you would think that there was at least a hint of evidence suggesting this to lead to better outcomes.

Alas, no. Despite margarines being able to lower total and LDL cholesterol in the short term, they actually lead to the opposite effect when measuring hard outcomes.

I highly recommend that you avoid processed pseudo-foods like margarine. Use real, grass-fed butter instead.

Extra virgin olive oil is also an incredibly healthy choice, and may be the healthiest of all fats.

the 5-2 diet guide

Hungry Woman With a Can of FoodIntermittent fasting is an eating pattern that involves regular fasting.

The 5:2 diet, also known as The Fast Diet, is currently the most popular intermittent fasting diet.

It was popularized by British doctor and journalist Michael Mosley.

It’s called the 5:2 diet because five days of the week are normal eating days, while the other two restrict calories to 500–600 per day.

This diet is actually more of an eating pattern than a diet. There are no requirements about which foods to eat, but rather when you should eat them.

Many people find this way of eating to be easier to stick to than a traditional calorie-restricted diet (1).

This article explains everything you need to know about the 5:2 diet.

How to Do the 5:2 Diet

The 5:2 diet is actually very simple to explain.

For five days a week, you eat normally and don’t have to think about restricting calories.

Then, on the other two days, you reduce your calorie intake to a quarter of your daily needs. This is about 500 calories per day for women, and 600 for men.

You can choose whichever two days of the week you prefer, as long as there is at least 1 non-fasting day in between.

A common way of planning the week is to fast on Mondays and Thursdays, with 2 or 3 small meals, then eating normally for the rest of the week.

It’s important to emphasize that eating “normally” does not mean you can eat literally anything. If you binge on junk food, then you probably won’t lose any weight, and may even gain weight.

You should eat the same amount of food as if you hadn’t been fasting at all.

Bottom Line: The 5:2 diet involves eating normally for five days a week, then restricting your calorie intake to 500–600 calories on the other two days.

Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Apple And Calculator

There are very few studies that test the 5:2 diet specifically.

However, there are plenty of studies on intermittent fasting as a whole, which show impressive health benefits (2, 3).

One important benefit is that intermittent fasting seems to be easier to follow than continuous calorie restriction, at least for some people (4, 5).

Many studies have shown that different types of intermittent fasting may significantly reduce insulin levels (2, 6, 7).

One study showed that the 5:2 diet caused weight loss similar to regular calorie restriction. Additionally, the diet was very effective at reducing insulin levels and improving insulin sensitivity (8).

Several studies have looked into the health effects of modified alternate day fasting, which is very similar to the 5:2 diet (ultimately, it’s a 4:3 diet) (9).

The 4:3 diet may help reduce insulin resistance, asthma, seasonal allergies, heart arrhythmias, menopausal hot flashes and more (10, 11).

One randomized controlled trial in both normal weight and overweight individuals showed major improvements in the group doing 4:3 fasting, compared to the control group that ate normally (12).

After 12 weeks, the fasting group had:

  • Reduced body weight by more than 5 kg.
  • Reduced fat mass by 3.5 kg, with no change in muscle mass.
  • Reduced blood levels of triglycerides by 20%.
  • Increased LDL particle size (which is a good thing).
  • Reduced levels of CRP, an important marker of inflammation in the body.
  • Decreased levels of leptin by up to 40%.

Bottom Line: The 5:2 diet may have several impressive health benefits. These include weight loss, reduced insulin resistance and decreased inflammation. Blood lipids may also be improved.

The 5:2 Diet for Weight Loss

Weight Scale

If you need to lose weight, the 5:2 diet can be very effective when done right.

This is mainly because the 5:2 eating pattern helps you consume fewer calories.

Therefore, it is very important not to compensate for the fasting days by eating much more on the non-fasting days. Intermittent fasting does not cause more weight loss than regular calorie restriction if total calories are matched (13, 14).

That being said, fasting protocols similar to the 5:2 diet have shown a lot of promise in studies on weight loss:

  • A recent review found that modified alternate day fasting caused weight loss of 3–8% over the course of 3–24 weeks (15).
  • In the same study, participants lost 4–7% of their waist circumference, meaning that they lost a lot of harmful belly fat.
  • Intermittent fasting causes a much smaller reduction in muscle mass than weight loss with conventional calorie restriction (15, 16).

Intermittent fasting is even more effective when combined with exercise, such as endurance or strength training (17).

Bottom Line: The 5:2 diet should be very effective for weight loss, if done correctly. It may help reduce belly fat, as well as help maintain muscle mass during weight loss.

How to Eat on Fasting Days

There is no rule as to what or when you must eat on the fasting days.

Overweight Woman Eating Salad

Some people function best by beginning the day with a small breakfast, while others find it best to start eating as late as possible.

Generally, there are two meal patterns that people use:

  1. Three small meals: Usually breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  2. Two slightly bigger meals: Only lunch and dinner.

Since calorie intake is limited — 500 for women and 600 for men — it makes sense to use your calorie budget wisely.

Try to focus on nutritious, high-fiber, high-protein foods that will make you feel full without consuming too many calories.

Soups are a great option on fast days. Studies have shown that they may make you feel more full than the same ingredients in original form, or foods with the same calorie content (18, 19).

Here are a few examples of foods that may be suitable for fast days:

  • A generous portion of vegetables.
  • Natural yogurt with berries.
  • Boiled or baked eggs.
  • Grilled fish or lean meat.
  • Cauliflower rice.
  • Soups (for example miso, tomato, cauliflower or vegetable).
  • Low-calorie cup soups.
  • Black coffee.
  • Tea.
  • Still or sparkling water.

There is no specific, correct way to eat on fasting days. You have to experiment and figure out what works best for you.

Delicious Low-Calorie Meals

There are plenty of websites with delicious meal plans and recipes for the 5:2 diet.

  • Check out this site for plenty of low-calorie meal ideas.
  • This site offers ideas for 10 fasting days that are worth checking out.
  • Here are 27 meal plans for 500-calorie fast days.
  • You can find all kinds of information and recipes on the chat forum of the official Fast Diet website.
  • There are also several books and cookbooks available for the 5:2 diet on Amazon, including the original best-selling The Fast Diet book.

Bottom Line: There are many meal plans and recipes available on the internet for 500–600 calorie fast days. Sticking to nutritious, high-fiber and high-protein foods is a good idea.

What to Do If You Feel Unwell or Uncontrollably Hungry

During the first few fast days, you can expect to have episodes of overwhelming hunger. It is also normal to feel a little weaker or slower than usual.

Beginner Fasting Woman Biting Plate

However, you’ll be surprised about how quickly the hunger fades, especially if you try to keep busy with work or other errands.

Additionally, most people find that the fast days become easier after the first few fasts.

If you are not used to fasting, it may be a good idea to keep a small snack handy during your first few fasts, just in case you feel faint or ill.

But if you repeatedly find yourself feeling ill or faint during fast days, then have something to eat and talk with your doctor about whether you should continue.

Intermittent fasting is not for everyone, and some people are unable to tolerate it.

Bottom Line: It is normal to be hungry or feel a little weaker during the first few fasts. If you repeatedly feel faint or ill, then you should probably stop the diet.

Who Should Avoid the 5:2 Diet, or Intermittent Fasting Overall?

Empty Plate

Although intermittent fasting is very safe for healthy, well-nourished people, it does not suit everyone.

Some people should avoid dietary restrictions and fasting completely. These include:

  • Individuals with a history of eating disorders.
  • Individuals sensitive to drops in blood sugar levels.
  • Pregnant women, nursing mothers, teenagers, children and individuals with type 1 diabetes.
  • People who are malnourished, underweight or have known nutrient deficiencies.
  • Women who are trying to conceive or have issues with fertility.

Furthermore, intermittent fasting may not be as beneficial for some women as it is for men (20, 21).

Some women have reported that their menstrual period stopped while they were following this type of eating pattern. However, things went back to normal when they returned to a regular diet.

Women should therefore be careful when starting any form of intermittent fasting, and stop doing it immediately if any adverse effects occur.

Take Home Message

The 5:2 diet is an easy, effective way to lose weight and improve metabolic health.

Many people find it much easier to stick to than conventional calorie restriction.

If you’re looking to lose weight or improve your health, the 5:2 diet is definitely something to consider.

Alli (Orlistat) Diet Pills Review

Young Woman Holding Yellow PillsIt is very difficult for people to lose weight. In a research, it was found that around 85% of Individuals cannot follow the traditional weight reduction techniques (1).

The failure of traditional weight loss methods encourages people to look for other substitute techniques like using diet capsules and pills.

Alli is an example of a diet tablet, which is based on pharmaceutical sciences rather than a plant or a herb and it is considered effective for losing weight.

This drug helps in losing weight by restricting the quantity of fatty acids being absorbed by our body. The lower absorption of fatty acids in turn effects the actual calorie intake and results in weight loss.

This article provides you with a detailed analysis of Alli diet pills: what are they composed of, how they help you in reducing the excess weight, and is it beneficial for you to consume them.

What Is Alli (Orlistat)?

Orlistat, a medicated weight reduction drug, is sold as Alli diet pills in the market.

One of the stronger version of the drug is provided to customers on prescription only. It is known as Xenical. A typical Alli Diet Pill contains 60 mg of the compound orlistat whereas Xenical pills consists of 120 mg of Orlistat that is why it is far more effective on obesity.

FDA approved this drug in 1999 and it is mostly prescribed by doctors for long duration obesity management treatments with a low, calorie restricted diet.

In short: Alli is the non-prescribed adoption of orlistat, a medicated drug for controlling weight. Orlistat is also available on instructions of doctors by the name of Xenical, in a stronger and effective form.

How Does Alli Help?

Alli Diet Pills

The main function that Alli performs is preventing the absorption of dietary fat in the body.

Lipase is an enzyme or a stimulant in the stomach that is specifically blocked by Alli pills.

The main purpose of Lipase is to digest the fats that we take in our diet. It helps in breaking down the glycerols or fats into three types of fatty acids, which can be recognized and used by our body.

In the absence of this enzyme, fats in our food are not digested in the process of digestion and are removed from the body.

The use of Alli Pills has demonstrated to curtail the absorption level of fats by approximately 30% (2). Alli works as a lipase-inhibitor, that stops the enzyme to react with fats for breaking them in fatty acids.

As the fats are high-calorie macro nutrients, the inhibition of absorption of these fats results in lesser calorie production in the body that can help in losing weight.

In short: Alli interacts with lipase enzyme that restricts the absorption of fats to about 30% of the total absorbed facts. This helps in lower absorption of fatty acids by the body resulting in weight loss.

Alli Can Help You Lose Weight In Small Amounts

A large number of researches have been regulated on orlistat, an active chemical in Alli diet pills.

Among these studies, the Swedish study by the name of XENDOS is well recognized. In this study, 3,305 obese individuals participated and results were observed over a period of 4 years (3).

The individuals were divided into two groups. One group took 120 mg dosage of orlistat, thrice a day whereas the second group of the experiment was asked to take a placebo.

All contributors of the study were allowed to take less than 800 calories daily and were asked to restrict fat intake in their diets to 30% of the total calorie in take. They participants were also advised to include walking in their daily routine.

The following graph illustrates the changes in weights by individuals in both the groups over the 4 years time (3):

Orlistat Weight Loss, Small

In the first year, the group that was treated with orlistat lost 23.3 pounds or 10.6 kg of weight on average. On the other hand, participants in the placebo group lost 13.6 pounds or 6.2 kg of weight only.

The graph also reveals that in the next three years, there was a significant weight gain in both the groups of the experiment. In the end,  patients who used orlistat lost 12.8 pounds  of weight in comparison to 6.6 pounds  of the placebo group participants.

This study concluded that orlistat along with controlled diet and proper exercise can help you in losing double the weight when compared with using diet and exercise as the only solution for weight reduction.

More Researches

In a research study, it was proved that adults consuming orlistat lost 7.5 lbs  more than the placebo group in the previous 12-months (4).

This weight loss  is equivalent to 3.1% of initial weight that is not exactly huge. It was also observed that weight returned  after they quit taking the drug.

Astonishingly, the results of another study concluded that the effects of a low-carb diet without drugs were same as using orlistat and a diet lower in calories together (5).

In short: Alli/orlistat is an anti-fattening drug that results in losing 3.4 kg(7.5 lbs) more than placebo in 12 months.

Do Alli Diet Pills Contribute to Health in Other Ways?

Smiling Brunette Holding a Yellow Capsule

Some of the other health advantages that have been attributed to the use of Alli, possibly because of weight loss, includes:

  • Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes: risk of getting Type 2 diabetes was reduced by 37% with 4-year use of orlistat, according to XENDOS study (3).
  • Reduced systolic/Diastolic pressure: A reduced blood pressures have also been seen in patients (6, 7).
  • Reduced cholesterol level: A positive influence on cholesterol levels has also been observed in various studies (6, 8).

In short: Long-term use of Alli may lessen the risk of type 2 diabetes and benefit in prevention of other diseases that can instigate heart problems.

Side Effects, Dosage and How To Use

Young Woman With Stomach Issues

Some side effects have been observed in the people using Alli diet pills, however, they have been documented and are available for the users of Alli Pills (9).

As these pills inhibit the breakdown of fats, the existence of large molecules of fat in the stomach can cause digestive problems like abdominal pain, diarrhea, and flatulence.

Fecal incontinence and loose, oily stools can be among some of the problems faced by the users of Alli Pills

Prolonged usage of Alli diet pills can also hinder the digestion of essential nutrients like vitamins A, D, E and K.

That is why it is recommended to take multivitamins with the treatment.

Alli Pills have been reported to intrude with the digestion of some medications. In addition, liver failure and kidney problems have also been noted in the patients.

People should seek advice from their medical consultant before consuming Alli diet pills, especially in case if they are taking any sort of medications for a disease or have a specific disease.

On the basis of a confined long-term description of the available results, most scientific studies suggest that Alli must not be used for 24 months or 2 years continuously.

The optimally dosage that has been used in the researches is 120 mg, thrice  a day.

Alli diet capsules (60 mg) can be bought on Amazon. However, if you require 120 mg dose for better results, then you must have written permission for using the medicine,  Xenical, from your medical consultant.

In short: Alli diet pills have various negative points associated with them. They can be the reason for gut problems and deficient nutrients. They may also create problems in absorption of certain medications. The optimal researched dosage quantity is 120 mg, thrice in a day.

Should You Try Alli?

Alli diet pills are one of the few workable pills, showing a limited effect in patients. However, the results are not impressive up to the expectations of users.

These pills can help in losing a little additional weight than the other medications and techniques of weight loss, but for gaining the best results they must be used with a specific low calorie diet and exercise.

Moreover, an analysis of the benefits (i.e. weight loss) and the negative aspects (digestive diseases and nutrient deficiencies) of these pills have to be done before the treatment.

These pills will only be effective if consumed with controlled and low-calorie food that is not tempting for the taste buds and is mostly avoided by food lovers.

Eating more protein and fewer carbs is  a more useful and long term approach to losing weight and keep it off for longer periods.

Additional reviews of diet capsules/pills and other related medications can be seen in this article: 12 Popular Weight Loss Pills and Supplements Reviewed.

10 Foods to avoid for weight loss

Woman With Mouthful of ChipsYour diet and food intake can impact your weight to a large degree.

Some foods, such as yogurt with full fat, coconut oil, leafy vegetables and eggs, are best for reducing weight (1, 2, 3).

Other edibles and food items, particularly filtered and processed products can increase your weight.

Below are 10 edibles to stay away from, when you’re striving to reduce weight.

1. Fried Potatoes and Frites

Although, potatoes are flourishing and filling for health, but potato chips and other forms of fried potatoes are abundant in calories, making potato chips unhealthy for diet conscious people. Moreover, they are so tempting that a person eats many of them in one sitting, resulting in weight gain.

According to observational studies, eating Fried Potatoes and Frites can result in weight gains (4, 5).

Interestingly, a research found that Frites can increase more weight than any other eatable (5).

In addition, steamed, roasted, backed or fried potatoes can be a cause of cancer as there are some chances that they can be the carrier of compounds known as acrylamides. Therefore, consuming plain and boiled potatoes are best for the health. (6, 7).

Fried Potatoes and Frites are cause of obesity whereas boiled or steam potatoes are very nourishing.

2. Fizzy Drinks

Glasses With Soda and Ice Cubes

Sugar-sweetened beverages, such as fizzy drinks, are among the most unhealthy foods available.

The consumption of sugary drinks results in increased weights and can destroy the health of people when taken abundantly (8, 9, 10, 11).

Although sugary drinks are full of calories but your brain does not consider them like food that needs to be digested, thus in spite of taking calories you will not feel full and will consume the regular diet too (12).

Thus the calories of liquid sugar will add up in your regular intake of calories resulting in higher amount of calories than usual.

If you really want to lose weight, you will have to leave fizzy drinks entirely.

Fizzy drinks rich in sugar can have negative impact on weight and create other health issues. Giving up sodas and other sugary drinks can make your goal of losing weight easy to achieve.

3. White Bread

Bread

White bread is an example of highly refined product. It is made by using added sugar and processed flour.

On the glycemic index, it lies on the higher end and can thrust the glucose level in your blood, immediately (13).

A study consisting of 9,267 participants found that the risk of weight gain and obesity can be increased by 40% if you consume two slices that is approximately 120 g of white bread daily (14).

The traditional white bread have a number of healthy alternatives. One of these alternatives include Ezekiel bread. It is known to be the best bread available for diet conscious people.

All the breads do not contain gluten in them so they can be consumed easily. Some of the other healthy breads include oopsie bread, rye bread,  cornbread, flaxseed bread, and almond flour bread.

A white bread consists of refined flour that has more sugar in it which can also lead to over consumption. However, the number of healthy breads are available in the market.

4. Sweets and Chocolates

Brunette Crying Over a Candy Bar

Candy bars contain artificial sugar, added oils, taste enhancers, high-calorie chocolates and refined flour that makes these bars extremely unhealthy for consumption especially for the people striving to lose weight.

These bars are rich in calories and low in healthy nutrition. An medium chocolate candy bar can have 200–300 calories in it. The chocolate bars with extra large size may contain a greater number of calories resulting in disturbed diet plans (15).

Candy bars are available every where especially when you are on a diet, you would see these bars where ever you go. In large stores, these bars kept in an eye catching position strategically, so that a large number of customers would by them impulsively

Fruits or dried nuts can be eaten to minimize the craving of these candy bars.

Chocolate bars contains a number of unhealthy ingredients like sugar, refined flour, high-calorie chocolate and added oils. These bars add in calorie in take and are major sources of weight gain.

5. Most Fruit Juices

Orange Juice

The packaged fruit juices that we find generally are not made of whole fruit, most of the times.

These fruit juices contains excessive sugar that can increase your calorie consumption.

Although, it seems that fruit juices must be healthy but the calories and sugar content in packaged juice is generally same as fizzy drinks (16).

In addition, the lack of fiber in fruit juices doesn’t require chewing so it would keep your stomach empty, compelling you to take large servings within a short time.

Moreover, one regular serving of orange juice won’t provide the same benefits as a complete orange (17).

Eating a whole fruit instead of drinking fruit juice is a better option.

Fruit juice contains high calories and are rich in sugar, but lack the fiber. It is better to consume the natural fruit instead of fruit juices.

6. Pastries, Cakes, and Biscuits

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pastries, cakes and biscuits are rich in artificial sugar and processed flour, which makes them one of the unhealthiest foods to eat.

In some pastries and cookies, artificial trans fats are also present. These trans fats can be the cause of a number of health problems (18).

Pastries, cakes and biscuits do not satisfy your stomach for a long time. You will start to feel hungry again in no time after having such stuff with more calories and low nutrient value.

If you like to eat something sweet, go for a  chunk of dark chocolate.

Pastries, cakes and biscuits are full of artificial sugar, processed flour and trans fat. Such eatables are responsible for weight gains but do not satisfy the stomach.

7. Some Types of Alcohol (Especially Beer)

Glass of Beer

Alcohol contains a greater number of calories than the average diet rich in carbs and protein. Per gram of alcohol contains more than 7 calories.

However, the alcohol has not been a proved cause of affecting the weight, up till now (19).

Having alcohol in moderate quantities are associated to lesser weight gains whereas heavy drinking is linked with more weight gain (20, 21).

The calorie in take is also dependent on the kind of alcohol being used. Beer can increase the weight whereas consuming wine in moderate quantities may be beneficial for weight loss (19, 22).

If losing weight is your aim, then you should say ‘no’ to alcohol. However, wine in smaller servings can be consumed.

8. Pizza

Cringing Woman Saying No To Pizza

Pizza is an extremely tasty and a well known fast food but pizzas are very high in calories that makes them a bad choice for dieters.

They contain a large number of calories and are made by using unhealthy components such as processed flour, high-fat cheese and processed meat.

A home-made pizza with healthier ingredients can be one of the alternatives of the conventional commercial pizzas. In addition, the sauces used in the pizzas can also be made at home, which would make pizzas more healthier than their super-market versions.

Another solution for the pizza craving is to find a pizza parlor that serves healthier and low-calorie pizzas.

Traditional pizzas sold in stores contains high calorie ingredients like refined flour and sugar. A pizza made at home can be a healthier alternative.

10. High-Calorie Coffee Drinks

Frappuccino

Coffee can be among one of the drinks that can be consumed for reducing weight. It contains caffeine that can help in reducing the excessive fats from the body.

Caffeine helps to boost your metabolism that increases the fat burning process in the body, instantly (23, 24).

Apart from it, coffee can also result in weight gains if unhealthy constituents like cream and added sugar are excessively used.

The coffee drinks, rich in calories have similar effects as soda. They contain a large number of calories, which can have disastrous effects on your health.

If you are a coffee lover but trying to lose weight, then it’s best to consume simple black coffee. Using some cream or milk will work but adding sugar and other high-calorie ingredients will spoil your diet.

Plain and simple black coffee can be a healthy option to increase your metabolism but adding unhealthy ingredients in it to make it tasty will ruin your weight loss efforts.

11. Foods High in Artificial or added Sugar

Granola Bars

Added sugar can have worsening effects on your body. These added sugars have been associated with the most harmful diseases known (25, 26, 27).

Foods, which are rich in artificial sugar, adds to the calorie in take but does not satisfy the stomach.

Some of the examples of food that contain large quantities of added sugar include breakfast cereals, salad dressing, granola bars, tomato sauce and flavored yogurt.

You should carefully select the “low-fat” or “fat-free” food because it might contain added sugar to compensate for the lost flavors.

Here you can find 15 “health foods” that are really just junk foods in disguise.

Additional sugar is unhealthy ingredient that is used in a number of edibles. Many edibles like fat-free foods, seem healthful but can contain massive sugar contents.

Lessons Learned

Some of the foods that are not suitable for consumption in losing weight are made from highly processed and refined ingredients. These foods are particularly full of additional sugar content and other unhealthy substances that increases the calorie intake.

If you’re unsure about the nutrients in a food, read the label but you must be careful with different names for sugar that can be misleading.

Additionally, it is also important to have a close look on the quantity of food taken. Some healthy foods, like nuts, dried fruit, full cream milk and cheese, are rich in calories, and can be consumed in large quantities.

For a list of food items that you should eat, check out this article:
The 20 Most Weight Loss Friendly Foods on The Planet.