Weight loss can be intimidating. We don’t know where to begin -- do we count calories or cut carbs? Do we do cardio or strength training? Hire a trainer or grab a workout buddy? Do we skip meals or eat more frequent, smaller-sized meals?
With all the options, miracle plans and liquid diets, it would be nice if someone could simplify the process for us.
Thankfully, researchers from Cornell University have.
A sample of 17 volunteers were closely monitored over the course of a five-week diet study. Across the board, it was found that participants lost weight if they simply ate a portion-controlled lunch.
Their food consumption or exercise was not altered in any way otherwise. They were free to eat as much as they chose throughout the rest of the course of the day.
The scientists say that this is an easy solution to weight loss that won’t leave you hungrier than usual or in need of snacks because while our bodies are amazing and very intelligent machines, they’re not quite sophisticated enough to notice a small drop in calories, and thus won’t feel deprived in any way.
In the Cornell study, all 17 participants ate whatever they wanted from a buffet of lunchtime options for the first week. “For the next two weeks, half the group selected their lunch by choosing from one of six commercially available, portion-controlled foods, such as Chef Boyardee Pasta or Campbell's Soup at Hand, but could eat as much as they wished at other meals or snacks. For the final two weeks, the other half of volunteers followed the same regimen,” according to a release on the study.
Each group, when eating the portion-controlled lunches, consumed 250 calories less per day which resulted in weight loss of 1.1 pounds over the two week trial. It may not sound like much, but 250 calories fewer per day could result in losing 25 pounds a year according to the study’s authors.