Obesity among both children and adults is on the rise worldwide. While there is no doubt that our genes and lifestyle are to blame, one reason for the obesity epidemic may lie in some false beliefs about weight loss.
If you are misinformed, it can be much more challenging to lose weight. So, here are five fascinating facts about weight loss to help you make the best choices when it comes to losing weight, dieting, and exercise.
1. Many High-Fat Foods are Super Healthy
Many of us tend to avoid fatty foods believing that they are not suitable for our health and figure. However, research shows that good fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated) are incredibly nutritious and healthy. Many sorts of healthy foods rich in unsaturated fat are ideal snack options if you are dieting, as they provide various health benefits.
Foods like nuts, fatty fish, coconut oil, dark chocolate, avocados, and cheese contain potent antioxidants, proteins, fiber, and vitamins, beneficial for preventing cardiovascular diseases, diabetes type 2, and obesity, as well as in alleviating symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression.
Dietary fiber found in beans, nuts, oatmeal, and fruits reduces the sensation of hunger. Foods rich in fiber such as whole-grain cereal, vegetables, fruits, and legumes are beneficial to weight loss. They contain fewer calories and more nutrients.
2. Snacking Can Support Your Weight Loss
Most people believe that they must starve to lose weight, which is one of the biggest misconceptions about weight reduction. Fasting or starving yourself can have harmful effects on your health and well-being, such as dizziness, nausea, and hypotension (low blood pressure).
The good news is that you don’t have to give up snacks between your meals to cut weight. Depriving your body of food for hours might lead to binge eating or overeating the next time you have a meal. Also, excessive hungriness is a signal to your body to store reserves, leading to weight gain instead of weight loss, making your dieting counterproductive.
The idea that you shouldn’t have snacks if you want to reduce weight is a myth. Having nutritious snacks between meals might help you keep overeating at bay and eat less during your next mealtime. It is always better to have more small meals throughout the day instead of eating a lot at once.
However, make healthy choices when snacking. For example, opt for fruits, grains, and vegetables instead of snacking on cookies, chips, and other high-calorie food that tastes good but has very little nutritious value.
3. Sleeping in a Dark, Cold Room Promotes Weight Loss
Studies show that sleeping in complete darkness boosts melatonin production in your body (the hormone that makes you sleepy) and stimulates calorie-burning brown fat production. A similar thing happens when you sleep in a cold room.
Cold temperatures activate brown fat, triggering a variety of metabolic changes in the body. When activated, brown fat breaks down glucose (sugar) and fat molecules to produce heat, burning your calories. In other words, sleeping in a dark, cold room forces your body to heat itself for several hours, burning calories to keep itself warm.
Researchers studying brown fat’s capacity to burn calories as heat are hoping to harness its activity to combat obesity, diabetes, and other metabolic ailments.
Additionally, studies show that a lack of sleep increases the risk of obesity. Sleep is critical for maintaining a healthy balance of the hormones ghrelin and leptin, responsible for regulating your appetite. Sleep deprivation raises ghrelin levels while lowering the leptin level, making you feel hungry and potentially cause you to gain weight.
4. Complex Mental Tasks Can Make You Gain Weight
Completing demanding cognitive activities such as learning a thought-provoking school lesson, concentrating on an exam, finishing a complex project for work, everyday problem solving, and mental multitasking feels almost like a physical workout. However, you don’t actually burn more calories while thinking hard.
Research showed that difficult mental tasks could cause you to feel hungrier and consume more calories than you burn during cognitive activity, leading to weight gain.
Researchers believe that increased appetite after complex mental tasks may be due to increased glucose levels in the blood that occurs after demanding cognitive tasks but not after resting. Brain activities, such as learning, memorizing, problem-solving, and critical thinking, are incited by glucose (sugar). Insulin helps the body turn glucose into energy. When prolonged, brain processes require more insulin, which is why you might feel hungrier after completing difficult mental tasks.
5. Eating Chocolate May Support Weight Loss
Eating dark chocolate of a 70-percent cocoa rating or higher is an ideal dessert if you are dieting. Studies show that dark chocolate decreases appetite, promotes feelings of fullness, and reduces cravings, promoting weight decrease.
One study found that people who regularly ate dark chocolate were thinner than participants who didn’t.
Different studies showed that eating dark chocolate decreased appetite by reducing levels of ghrelin. People who ate dark chocolate consumed fewer calories at the next meal than those who drank milk chocolate.
Besides, dark chocolate has potential mental health and mood-boosting benefits. Research shows that eating dark chocolate every day can reduce stress levels, alleviate anxiety and depression symptoms, and produce calm and composure feelings. Feeling fit mentally also contributes to healthy lifestyles and promotes weight loss.
However, dark chocolate is relatively high in fat, added sugar, and calories, so make sure to avoid consuming it excessively.
Never-ending workouts and almost unbearably tasteless diets are not the only strategies for losing weight. Small but significant changes to your habits and lifestyle, such as quality sleep or healthy snacks, will help you lose a few pounds and keep your body healthy and fit.