26 Weight Loss Tips That Are Actually Evidence-Based
Most weight loss methods are unproven and ineffective. Here is a list of 26 weight loss tips that are actually supported by real scientific studies.
26 Weight Loss Tips That Are Actually Evidence-Based
The weight loss industry is full of myths.
People are often advised to do all sorts of crazy things, most of which have no evidence behind them.
However, over the years, scientists have found a number of strategies that seem to be effective.
Here are 26 weight loss tips that are actually evidence-based.
1. Drink Water, Especially Before Meals
It is often claimed that drinking water can help with weight loss — and that’s true.
One study showed that drinking a half-liter (17 ounces) of water about half an hour before meals helped dieters eat fewer calories and lose 44% more weight, compared to those who didn’t drink the water (3).
2. Eat Eggs For Breakfast
Eating whole eggs can have all sorts of benefits, including helping you lose weight.
If you don’t eat eggs, that's fine. Any source of quality protein for breakfast should do the trick.
3. Drink Coffee (Preferably Black)
Coffee has been unfairly demonized. Quality coffee is loaded with antioxidants and can have numerous health benefits.
Just make sure not to add a bunch of sugar or other high-calorie ingredients to your coffee. That will completely negate any benefits.
You can shop for coffee at your local grocery store, as well as online.
4. Drink Green Tea
Like coffee, green tea also has many benefits, one of them being weight loss.
Green tea is available at most pharmacies, health stores, and grocery stores, as well as online.
5. Try Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is a popular eating pattern in which people cycle between periods of fasting and eating.
Short-term studies suggest intermittent fasting is as effective for weight loss as continuous calorie restriction (13).
Additionally, it may reduce the loss of muscle mass typically associated with low-calorie diets. However, higher-quality studies are needed before any stronger claims can be made (14).
6. Take a Glucomannan Supplement
A fiber called glucomannan has been linked to weight loss in several studies.
This type of fiber absorbs water and sits in your gut for a while, making you feel more full and helping you eat fewer calories (15).
Studies show that people who supplement with glucomannan lose a bit more weight than those who don't (16).
You can find glucomannan supplements not only at vitamin shops and pharmacies but also online.
7. Cut Back on Added Sugar
Added sugar is one of the worst ingredients in the modern diet. Most people consume way too much.
Studies show that sugar (and high-fructose corn syrup) consumption is strongly associated with an increased risk of obesity, as well as conditions including type 2 diabetes and heart disease (17, 18, 19).
If you want to lose weight, cut back on added sugar. Just make sure to read labels, because even so-called health foods can be loaded with sugar.
8. Eat Less Refined Carbs
Refined carbohydrates include sugar and grains that have been stripped of their fibrous, nutritious parts. These include white bread and pasta.
Studies show that refined carbs can spike blood sugar rapidly, leading to hunger, cravings and increased food intake a few hours later. Eating refined carbs is strongly linked to obesity (20, 21, 22).
If you're going to eat carbs, make sure to eat them with their natural fiber.
9. Go on a Low-Carb Diet
If you want to get all the benefits of carb restriction, then consider going all the way and committing to a low-carb diet.
Numerous studies show that such a regimen can help you lose 2–3 times as much weight as a standard low-fat diet while also improving your health (23,24,25).
10. Use Smaller Plates
Using smaller plates has been shown to help some people automatically eat fewer calories (26).
11. Exercise Portion Control or Count Calories
Portion control — simply eating less — or counting calories can be very useful, for obvious reasons (29).
Anything that increases your awareness of what you are eating is likely to be beneficial.
12. Keep Healthy Food Around in Case You Get Hungry
Keeping healthy food nearby can help prevent you from eating something unhealthy if you become excessively hungry.
Snacks that are easily portable and simple to prepare include whole fruits, nuts, baby carrots, yogurt and hard-boiled eggs.
13. Take Probiotic Supplements
However, the same doesn’t apply to all Lactobacillus species. Some studies have linked L. acidophilus with weight gain (34).
You can shop for probiotic supplements at many grocery stores, as well as online.
14. Eat Spicy Foods
However, people may develop tolerance to the effects of capsaicin over time, which may limit its long-term effectiveness (37).
15. Do Aerobic Exercise
Doing aerobic exercise (cardio) is an excellent way to burn calories and improve your physical and mental health.
16. Lift Weights
The best way to prevent this is to do some sort of resistance exercise such as lifting weights. Studies show that weight lifting can help keep your metabolism high and prevent you from losing precious muscle mass (42, 43).
Of course, it's important not just to lose fat — you also want to build muscle. Resistance exercise is critical for a toned body.
17. Eat More Fiber
Fiber is often recommended for weight loss.
18. Eat More Vegetables and Fruits
Vegetables and fruits have several properties that make them effective for weight loss.
They contain few calories but a lot of fiber. Their high water content gives them low energy density, making them very filling.
Studies show that people who eat vegetables and fruits tend to weigh less (46).
These foods are also very nutritious, so eating them is important for your health.
19. Get Good Sleep
Sleep is highly underrated but may be just as important as eating healthy and exercising.
Studies show that poor sleep is one of the strongest risk factors for obesity, as it’s linked to an 89% increased risk of obesity in children and 55% in adults (47).
20. Beat Your Food Addiction
A recent study found that 19.9% of people in North America and Europe fulfill the criteria for food addiction (48).
If you experience overpowering cravings and can't seem to curb your eating no matter how hard you try, you may suffer from addiction.
In this case, seek professional help. Trying to lose weight without first combating food addiction is next to impossible.
21. Eat More Protein
Protein is the single most important nutrient for losing weight.
One study also showed that eating 25% of your daily calories as protein reduced obsessive thoughts about food by 60% while cutting desire for late-night snacking in half (52).
Simply adding protein to your diet is one of the easiest and most effective ways to lose weight.
22. Supplement With Whey Protein
If you struggle to get enough protein in your diet, taking a supplement — such as protein powder — can help.
One study showed that replacing some of your calories with whey protein can cause weight loss of about 8 pounds over time while increasing muscle mass (53).
Whey protein is available at most health stores and online.
23. Don't Do Sugary Drinks, Including Soda and Fruit Juice
Sugar is bad, but sugar in liquid form is even worse. Studies show that calories from liquid sugar may be the single most fattening aspect of the modern diet (54).
For example, one study showed that sugar-sweetened beverages are linked to a 60% increased risk of obesity in children for each daily serving (55).
Keep in mind that this applies to fruit juice as well, which contains a similar amount of sugar as a soft drink like Coke (56).
Eat whole fruit, but limit or avoid fruit juice altogether.
24. Eat Whole, Single-Ingredient Foods (Real Food)
If you want to be a leaner, healthier person, then one of the best things you can do for yourself is to eat whole, single-ingredient foods.
These foods are naturally filling, and it's very difficult to gain weight if the majority of your diet is based on them
25. Don't Diet — Eat Healthy Instead
One of the biggest problems with diets is that they rarely work in the long term.
If anything, people who diet tend to gain more weight over time, and studies show that dieting is a consistent predictor of future weight gain (57).
Instead of going on a diet, aim to become a healthier, happier and fitter person. Focus on nourishing your body instead of depriving it.
Weight loss should then follow naturally.
26. Chew More Slowly
Your brain may take a while to register that you've had enough to eat. Some studies show that chewing more slowly can help you eat fewer calories and increase the production of hormones linked to weight loss (58, 59).
Also consider chewing your food more thoroughly. Studies show that increased chewing may reduce calorie intake at a meal (60).
These practices are a component of mindful eating, which aims to help you slow down your food intake and pay attention to each bite.
The bottom line
Numerous techniques can aid your weight loss goals.
Some of the above tips are purely dietary, involving eating more protein or cutting back on added sugar.
Others — such as improving sleep quality or adding a workout routine — are more lifestyle-based.
For example, chewing more slowly is one step you can take to institute mindful eating.
If you implement a handful of these tips, you'll be well on your way to your weight loss goals.