Without looking too hard these days, you can find a plethora of diet information in the media telling us the best way on how to cut belly fat. But how do we know which are fads and which pieces of diet advice to truly follow?
Here, we look to science to reveal seven secret tips that really work in helping you to cut down on belly fat.
1. Avoid Distractions
Scientists have discovered that eating whilst being distracted can cause you to eat up to 288 calories more, compared to when you are not distracted.
Watching television, reading a magazine or surfing the net whilst eating a meal are all examples of distractions that will make you eat more and do nothing to cut belly fat. When people are distracted, they tend to forget how much food has been eaten. The thing to do therefore when you are eating, is to stop whatever else you are doing and focus on the meal. Give attention to any person(s) sharing the meal with you. Take this time to chat or catch up with family members around the table.
2. Keep Evidence In Sight
Scientific results have also shown that we eat 28% more food if we cannot see evidence of how much we have already consumed.
So from now on, leave food debris on the plate while you are eating. For instance, if you are having buffalo wings, make sure you keep the pile of bones in front of you until you have had enough; or if you are eating candy, leave the candy wrappers on the table where you can see them so that you know how many candy bars you have consumed. Being able to see visual clues like these allow you to track your food intake and help you to stop eating sooner.
3. Eat Off A Smaller Plate
This might seem like a weird tip but apparently, studies have proved that serving yourself from a larger serving dish and placing the food onto a larger plate results in 56% more food loaded onto your plate!
This is an incredible finding because what this means is that just by switching to a smaller plate, you are likely to eat half the amount of food that you would have eaten had you used a larger plate, thus saving you from eating too much. Use smaller cutlery too with the smaller plates.
4. Take Time To Eat
Avoid wolfing food down your neck. Eating without stopping to savor the food will only make you eat more.
Science didn’t have to teach me this tip as it was something that I had discovered for myself when I broke a molar and couldn’t eat on one side of my mouth. Being able to chew only on one side forced me to slow down on eating. To my surprise, through chewing food slowly, not only was I tasting flavors that I had not previously noticed but I also ate less than I normally did because I felt full sooner.
You don’t have to go as far as breaking a tooth to slow down eating, just pause for a minute regularly when you are having a meal, chew slowly and you should get the same effect. If you are having a snack, try to choose snacks that come individually wrapped as having to unwrap something forces you to stop eating for a moment. These natural break points will work in your favor.
5. Put Food Where You Cannot See It
Research findings show that the likelihood of us eating more is 20% higher if we can see and reach for food, compared to when food is out of sight.
When food is right there in front of us and within easy reach, it is easier to eat more than we intend. So the take home message here is to stop mindless eating by putting food out of the way in a place where you cannot see it. At mealtimes, plate up in the kitchen and don’t have serving dishes on the dining table.
6. Don’t Give Yourself Too Much Choice
Results from experiments also revealed that when presented with a lot of choice in terms of appearance, quantity and taste, this too makes us eat nearly double the amount of food.
That All-You-Can-Eat buffet which some restaurants offer suddenly becomes less attractive when you know this. When too much choice is on offer, the best thing to do is to decide beforehand what you will eat. So for instance, if you must visit an All-You-Can-Eat buffet, make sure that you have made up your mind how many different items you will put on your plate before you start to serve yourself.
7. Eat Off The Right Colored Plate
In addition, scientists have reported that the color of your plate has a significant effect on how much you eat, in that when there is no color contrast between the food and the plate, people tended to eat 22% more, compared to when there is high contrast.
We can use this knowledge to our advantage in cutting belly fat because just by choosing a plate that has a high color contrast to the food you want to eat, means that you will eat less of it. Conversely, putting foods that are good for you on a same colored plate means you will eat more of it.
September 2, 2014 Isabella Storm