by Jade Teta, ND, CSCS
With summer upon us, many of us want to know how to control the fat storing effects from heavy meals. Obviously, the best way is to stay on a fat burning diet and continue to exercise, but there are other more effortless ways to lessen the impact of heavy meals. Here they are:
1) Drink 2 large glasses of water before every meal. Research has shown this technique can help in two ways: it helps to increase caloric burn and it helps us stay full. A study published in November 2008 in the journal Obesity (Vol. 16 # 11) showed dieting women lose greater amounts of weight as they increase the amount of water they drink.
2) Choose Sourdough or Rye as your choice of bread. Rye bread decreases the amount of insulin released compared to regular wheat bread. Research in the September 2009 Nutrition Journal reported not only does Rye bread decrease insulin response, but it increases satiety (feelings of fullness) compared to other types of bread.
3) Eat vinegar before each meal. Vinegar decreases the blood sugar responses and insulin levels that normally accompany a high starch meal. It can also make you feel full faster and longer. The more vinegar, the better the response. There are two ways to get your vinegar. The Italians take a shot of high-end balsamic vinaigrette before each meal, or you can put extra vinegar on your salad. (European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2005 Sep;59(9):983-988.)
4) Eat veggies first, protein second, and starch last. By eating your vegetables and protein before you eat the starch you will feel satisfaction from your food more quickly, you will eat less, and the negative hormonal responses of your meal will be decreased.
5) Spice up your food. Break out the pepper, cayenne, and hot sauce. Spicy foods can slow down the rate at which sugar enters your blood stream. It can also increase the amount of calories you burn in response to a meal. (American Journal of Clinical Digestion 2006 July;84(1):63-69.)
6) Choose desserts with berries, cinnamon, or chocolate. While no dessert is optimal, if you are going to have dessert, choose a healthier one. Berries, cinnamon and chocolate have compounds in them that can aid metabolic processes. While they can’t completely overcome the huge amount of fat and sugar they are accompanied by in a dessert, they may lessen the effects. Small amounts of cocoa can help improve mood, reduce cravings, and reduce subsequent food intake. In my clinical practice I frequently recommend people drink pure cocoa powder in water with a non-calorie sweetener to improve mood and reduce cravings. In animal models cocoa raises serotonin one of the major brain chemicals reduced in cravings and uncontrollable eating. (Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry 2009 Dec;20(12):948-55). Cinnamon helps optimize blood sugar and insulin metabolism (J Med Food. 2009 Jun; 12(3):467-72.). Berries believe it or not have some fat burning potential and delay weight gain from a high fat diet. Read more at one of my past blogs @ berries to burn fat?
7) Drink green tea with high fat meals. Green tea and tea in general is what is known as a weak lipase inhibitor. Basically it decreases the absorption of fat (J Nutr Biochem. 2007 Mar;18(3):179-83.). It also has been shown to increase fat loss by stimulating fat burning genes (Ann Nutr Metab. 2009;54(2):151-7.). Drink green tea and drink it often.
8) Drink red wine instead of beer or booze. No alcohol is good for fat burning, but if you are going to drink alcohol it might as well come with some resveratrol. Resveratrol is a plant chemical found in wine that has positive impact on insulin metabolism (J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2009 Jan;113(1-2):17-24.).
9) Exercise 1 hour before all heavy meals and/or exercise after. Exercising prior to a big meal is a good idea as some of the calories can go to building muscle rather than storing fat. Exercising after a meal is also not a bad idea.
10) Fast until a big meal. By drinking lots of water, drinking tea, making unsweetened cocoa, eating foods heavy in water and fiber (celery, cucumbers, fiber supplements, green/red peppers, etc) you can keep yourself from getting hungry and craving until you eat.