Weight-loss research is always sure to grab headlines as we seek the tips and tricks to help us achieve that ever-elusive weight goal.
Here are a few of the latest diets, supported by scientific research and with a little insight into whether they may be right for you.
A couple of low-kilojoule days
Whether you are a fan of the 5:2, The Fast Diet or the Alternate Day Diet, all of these approaches are based on a similar principle: that significantly cutting back on kilojoules for a day or two a week kick-starts the body metabolically, which supports weight loss.
While there is some evidence that individuals using this approach did drop a few kilograms during the research interventions, more significant was the reduction in their health-related risk factors – including high blood-glucose levels, high cholesterol and anti-inflammatory markers – in the short term.
So, if you are keen to try this approach, a day or two each week of low-kilojoule eating – which includes soups, salads and a small meal each day – may give you a weight-loss kick-start, but in isolation there is little evidence to show it will support you in losing large amounts of weight (>10kg) and keeping it off in the long term.
Add ½ an avocado
Who does not love avocado? And this nutrient-rich food that is packed with vitamin E and monounsaturated fats may even support weight loss.
Research published in the journal Nutrition found that when dieters included ½ an avocado with their lunch, they reported feeling fuller throughout the afternoon and were less likely to snack. It is thought that the fat content of avocados helps to slow down digestion and reduce blood-glucose levels, which in turn helps to control appetite.
So, if you regularly suffer from the 3pm sugars cravings, perhaps it is time to add a little more avo to your lunch.
Eat more at breakfast
You know the drill: a quick coffee and slice of toast for breakfast, lunch on the run before a sweet afternoon snack and a proper meal at night. While this may be a pattern that many of us get into, when it comes to the proportions of kilojoules we consume at different times of the day, it does appear that the more we can consume at breakfast, the better.
Research from the University of Tel Aviv found that dieters who consumed 2929 kilojoules at breakfast, 2092 kilojoules at lunchtime and just 836 kilojoules at dinner were significantly more likely to lose weight and waist circumference than dieters who consumed just 836 kilojoules at breakfast and 2925 at dinner.
The moral of the story: the bigger the breakfast and the smaller the dinner, the better it is if your ultimate goal is weight loss.