Forget the blood, sweat and tears of regular regimes – new, under-the-radar research has uncovered how small changes to your lifestyle can help banish the excess for good and fast
1. Sweet loss
And the secret to fat loss is… chocolate. A British researcher served up either 40g white chocolate or 40g dark chocolate to nine cyclists for 14 days prior to a two-minute flat-out time trial with the “dark” pedallers generating significantly higher power output. The cause is the substance epicatechin, a flavanol found in cocoa, which results in a chemical reaction that elevates nitric oxide levels in the blood, stimulating vasodilation, greater bloodflow and increased fat-burning.
2. Sleep easy
Sleep your way to a thinner you – that’s the message from Uppsala University in Sweden. Subjects slept for eight hours per night or had shut-eye curtailed to four hours to observe how sleep deprivation affected gut health. Analysis of the subjects’ bacteria showed an increased ratio of firmicutes to bacteroidetes in the sleep-loss group. This disparity in the two bacterium is important because it replicates the profiles seen in humans with obesity and type 2 diabetes.
3. Go organic
A European team has revealed that choosing organic burns more fat. Researchers undertook a meta-analysis to examine how nutritional content varied between organic and nonorganic red meats, and discovered that organic meat contained around 50 per cent more Omega-3 than its more affordable alternative. That’s good news for calorie counters because this polyunsaturated fatty acid has been proven to increase fat metabolism.
4. Circadian peak
A team from France has shown that if you’re looking to kill fatty deposits, pencil in a 5pm workout. After analysing world records from across a range of sprint and endurance sports, they noted that the majority were broken later in the day. This is because you need more electrical energy to contract the muscle earlier in the day with aspects such as light, ambient temperature and food intake all having an impact on the efficiency of skeletal muscles.
5. Drink water
Water really is the elixir of life. A recent study in the Journal Of Obesity split 84 overweight participants into two groups with both put on a 12-week hypocaloric diet; in other words, consuming fewer calories than expending. Group one told themselves they were full after each meal, while group two drank 500ml water 30 minutes prior to consuming three daily meals. Though both groups lost weight, the water-intake group lost an extra 2kg. This is due to the water eliciting a fuller feeling in the stomach and brain.
6. Coffee swilling
Training in a fasted state to increase fat-burning’s been a popular weight loss strategy for the past couple years. Now a team from London Metropolitan University has shown that mouth rinsing with caffeine after a night fasting helps individuals to unleash a more intense workout than training in a glycogen-depleted state without a coffee hit. Caffeine latches onto sensors in the mouth that basically cons the brain into thinking that it can work harder than first thought.
7. Don’t forget your oats
While glycogen-depleted, low-intensity sessions might be in vogue for raising fat metabolism, don’t do this more than once a week. Researchers from Loughbourgh University dissected numerous journals and came to the conclusion that while missing breakfast resulted in a lower daily energy intake, it also led to a reduction in physical activity. That’s why slow-releasing carbs like porridge are a must.
8. Scare yourself thinner
British researchers have found that watching a scary film – The Shining, Jaws, anything with Adam Sandler – burns the same amount of calories as a brisk 30 minute walk. Films that spark an increased heart rate cause a surge in the adrenaline hormone, which leads to reduced appetite and an increase in metabolic rate – the perfect duo for slashing the excess.