Popular Science: Can you lose weight if you don’t eat staple food?

Popular Science: Can you lose weight if you don’t eat staple food?

Nowadays, our lives are getting better and better, but at the same time, it is undeniable that the number of people suffering from chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, hyperuricemia and certain tumors is increasing, and The age of onset tends to be younger, affecting our quality of life and health.

But the vast majority of these diseases are preventable and controllable because they are closely related to our lifestyle. A large number of scientific research at home and abroad show that a healthy lifestyle can prevent or delay the occurrence of these diseases. Although the symptoms of these diseases are diverse, they all share a common feature, that is, they are closely related to obesity. Therefore, as long as we maintain a healthy weight, we have the initiative in our health to a large extent.

Maintaining a healthy weight not only makes us look beautiful, but also plays an important role in our health.

Distinguish between “feeling fat” and “really fat”

First of all, it is clear that not all of us need to lose weight, because often “feeling fat” and “really fat” cannot be equated. Many women pursue “the thinner the better” because of their love for beauty, which is not good for health. In daily life, we can often weigh ourselves and measure our waist circumference (greater than 90 centimeters for men and greater than 80 centimeters for women) to determine whether we are “really fat.” Usually we use body mass index, BMI (BMI=weight (kg)/height (m)^2 – reporter’s note) to judge. Weight is expressed in “kilograms” and height is expressed in “meters”. BMI exceeds 24 and 28, respectively. It is called overweight and obesity, but for people who exercise regularly and have very developed muscles, it needs to be judged in conjunction with the detection of body fat.

Maintain a reasonable energy intake

Although the causes of being overweight or obese are complex, the main cause is taking in more energy than you expend. Among overweight and obese people, most people will think that they do not eat much, but by recording the food they eat in one or three days, they will find that they eat “a lot” on average every day.

Some people have no concept of the amount of food, and they subjectively feel that they do not eat much, but actually eat a lot; while some people do not eat much but have snacks constantly. For example, many people think that they do not eat much in three meals, but they eat a lot in one meal. After further questioning, you will find that you consume a lot of fruits, nuts, etc.; some people often eat involuntarily, such as eating snacks or drinking drinks while watching TV or mobile phones. In response to the above situations, it is recommended that everyone record their diet and exercise when they are not busy at work, just like recording income and expenses, to see if they have achieved “balance of expenditures.” Also, try to avoid proactive snacking, such as candies, sugary drinks, desserts, etc., to maintain a healthy weight.

Reasonable meals and balanced diet

Many people will fall into a misunderstanding about meal times in order to control their weight – eating one or two less meals a day, thinking that reducing the number of meals will result in less energy intake, especially many people who skip breakfast to avoid gaining weight. , but the results often backfire.

Scientific research has found that skipping breakfast often increases the amount of food eaten at the next meal due to increased hunger, thereby increasing the burden on metabolism and easily causing weight gain. In addition, a common “structural” misunderstanding is that “losing weight means not eating or eating very little staple food.” Of course, for the purpose of maintaining weight, we can appropriately reduce some staple foods in our diet (especially refined staple foods, such as white rice, noodles, white flour steamed buns, etc.) or replace them with coarse grains (such as brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa, etc.) Refined staple food, while adding some vegetables or meat. Generally, the amount of vegetables eaten for lunch or dinner should be 150-250 grams per meal, 300-500 grams per day; meat should be 100 grams per meal, 150-200 grams per day, white meat is preferred. When it comes to red meat, choose less processed meat such as ham, sausage, etc.

It is not recommended to skip or rarely eat staple food. First, it is difficult to persist because of the obvious hunger, which can especially cause hypoglycemia in people with abnormal blood sugar. Second, research shows that after such an “extreme practice”, people who return to a normal diet are very easy to gain weight. Therefore, a reasonable dietary structure is beneficial to long-term weight control and health maintenance.

Maintain healthy eating, exercise and sleep habits

Eating at a reasonable pace and getting enough sleep are very important to maintaining your weight. In daily life, many people eat very quickly, especially those who are overweight or obese. This is often overlooked. Scientific research shows that reducing the speed of eating can reduce food intake and reduce the secretion of “ghrelin”, thereby reducing hunger. Therefore, it is recommended that the meal should be eaten for no less than 20 minutes, and an effective method is to increase the number of chews, such as chewing each mouthful of rice 20 times, and chew slowly.

In addition, healthy exercise, sleep habits and diet are equally important. There is very sufficient scientific research to show that inactivity and lack of sleep can easily lead to weight gain. Therefore, more than 4 hours of physical activity per week and no less than 7 hours of sleep per day are beneficial to maintaining a healthy weight.

Maintaining a healthy weight is a “protracted battle”

A long-term healthy and regular lifestyle is crucial to maintaining a normal weight. On the one hand, we can know our weight status or changes through frequent monitoring methods such as weighing ourselves and measuring our waist circumference to prevent the slightest change. At the same time, during this process, unhealthy eating patterns, such as excessive drinking, excessive sodium intake, and frequent snacking before bed, etc., are constantly corrected. On the other hand, scientific research has found that by strengthening self-encouragement, self-adjustment and control, and self-stress reduction methods, we can improve our effectiveness in maintaining a healthy weight.

Don’t blindly use “diet pills”

It is not uncommon to see real cases of blind use of “diet pills” in order to lose weight or control weight. We need to know whether “diet pills” can be used depends on each person’s specific situation. It must be done under the guidance of a professional doctor. Never do it for the sake of losing weight or controlling weight. Losing weight “quickly” comes at the expense of health.

Liu Pengju, Department of Clinical Nutrition, Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences

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