Tricks to avoid extra calories

Dear Dr. Mo: I’m trying hard to balance my weight but it doesn’t always work. Are there some tips and tricks to help me in my struggle?

Dear reader: Having a healthy weight and maintaining a healthy and balanced diet is a challenging task for all of us.

In today’s fast-track world we certainly need a few tricks up our sleeve to be able to stand our ground when eating is concerned and not give in to many calorie dense food pleasures, which end up adding tons of calories to our daily intake increasing our weight and chances for long term health problems like heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and stroke.

Switch to water!

First of all, think of water!

Water is life and we are all told this repeatedly but it is also a good way to help you lose 2 – 3 kilos in 6 months! That’s what the research shows and what all of us can try – simply switch from other beverages (sodas, alcohol etc.) you drink each day to water and you will see the results. This trick of course works only if your other eating habits do not compensate for the calories you are saving by drinking water. This also works with calorie free beverages but since some studies have linked these beverages to a paradoxical weight gains and increase in triglycerides, it is best and certainly healthiest to stick to water.Another trick is to eat an apple or a cup of soup or a small low-cal salad before your lunch or dinner – you will be less hungry for the main meal and consequently consume fewer calories in total.

Trick number 3 is to limit your choices – yes, studies show that if we stick to one or two tastes instead of 3 or 4 or more different tastes during a meal we will stop once we are full. With variety in tastes and colors, we tend to continue eating past the point of fullness and add hundreds and even thousands of calories on top of what we actually need.

Another thing to do is to limit the added sugars in the meals. This is a good place to tell you that sugar is all this: fructose, corn syrup, fruit juice concentrate, malt syrup, sucrose, dextrose and glucose so avoid foods that contain several types of sugar or list sugar at the top of their ingredients list.
Do not add (too much) sugar when you prepare meals – on average, we take in around 450 calories of added sugar per day through our food, both homemade and bought.

Last but certainly not the least important trick is to eat off smaller plates – limit your rations by physically reducing the size of the plates and bowls – just don’t end up having 15 small plates on the table instead of just one or two.

And remember – just if something is sugar free it doesn’t have to be calorie free and since every calorie counts, stay alert and read the labels.

Yours in health,

Dr. Mo