The weight-loss world is a confusing one. Strategies are all over the map and are rarely sustainable. Gaining and losing weight time and again leads not only to discouragement, but also to the notion that we ultimately have little or no control over our weight. What if this year could be the year that you finally take off…and keep off…that excess weight?
“Preloading” may be one new strategy you can easily adopt to help you meet this goal. And by the way, it’s a totally worthy goal considering excess weight is among the top five leading global risks for death in the world (see here).
The strategy is actually “Negative Calorie Preloading”. Essentially it’s starting a meal with foods containing fewer than 100 calories per cup because studies have shown it can result in fewer overall calories consumed. Most fresh fruit and most vegetables contain fewer than 100 calories per cup. Examples of exceptions are avocados, bananas and starchy veggies like potatoes and corn.
Michael Greger, MD highlights this weight-loss aid in his book called How Not to Diet. For this book Dr. Greger scoured the scientific data to set the record straight on what we need to do in order to achieve healthy, permanent weight loss. An internationally renowned nutrition expert, Dr. Greger has developed some powerful evidence-based resources (see here) that I turn to time and again. How Not to Diet has become yet another!
How Many Fewer Calories Can We Expect to Consume?
As one would expect, there were a variety of outcomes in preload research studies. However, there are studies demonstrating that participants consumed overall from 100 to 300 fewer calories per meal (see here and here). The important part though is whether it leads to weight loss. Well in this study for example, participants were asked to eat a tomato before lunch every day for one month. The outcome? They lost two pounds. That’s not bad!
Why Does Preloading Work?
The thinking goes that preloading works in two ways:
- It allows time for our satiety hormones to rise before we start eating the main meal.
- We might eat more of these healthy preload foods because we’re eating them when we’re the hungriest.
How Do We Preload?
Think of preloading as eating a very specific appetizer about 15 minutes before your meal. Again, it’s one that is comprised of food that contains fewer than 100 calories per cup. Here are some examples:
- A salad with no avocado, drizzled with balsamic vinegar
- A soup containing non-starchy vegetables, broth and seasoning only…here’s a recipe to try (just water sauté the veggies instead of using oil and skip the optional cheese)
- Fresh fruit…not dried and no avocado or banana
Drinking two glasses of water before a meal has been shown to decrease the number of calories consumed during the meal, but eating foods that contain fewer than 100 calories seems to be better, thought to be in part because of the combination of water and fibre in the food.
How Can We Learn About Other Easy Weight-Loss Boosters?
Easy! Grab a copy of How Not to Diet. The first half of the book outlines the fundamentals of what to eat to lose weight permanently. The second half outlines 19 evidence-based weight-loss boosters to “give you an arsenal of weapons in your fight against fat”. Best wishes friends…you’ve got this!
Image by Vidmir Raic from Pixabay