Try substituting grain-based carbohydrates for raw produce to decrease your glycemic load, and lose fat as a result. Shifting the balance of a meal toward vegetables, and away from refined carbohydrates and whole grains will mean that your body experiences a much more gradual and moderate insulin response, because raw vegetables take much longer to digest.
Grains are digested much faster than vegetables, and digestion breaks the chemical bonds down into glucose for blood sugar. The presence of glucose in the blood triggers the pancreas to produce insulin, so that the glucose can be moved into your cells or stored as fat. If you eat fast-digesting grains, your body will produce too much insulin all at once, which means much of the energy will be stored as fat. Grains are also much denser in energy than vegetables, so for every serving of rice or bread you eat, you are getting many more calories than if you ate the same serving of kale, broccoli, or salad.
A new study in the Archives of Internal Medicine using college students found that whichever food the students ate first from their plate, ended up being the food they ate the most of at that meal. The students who started with vegetables ate more veggies overall, which translated into them eating less high-glycemic carbs – the other choices were dinner roles and French fries – and fewer calories overall.
The research group suggests that as long as you see and eat the same volume of food, you are likely to feel full and satisfied despite the lower intake in energy. Making it a habit to always eat raw fruits and vegetables first before taking a bite of cooked food can produce significant fat loss in the long term.
Eating more water-dense raw fruits and vegetables is an easy way to increase your water intake to maintain hydration, and lose fat. In fact, a compelling study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition compared a reduced fat diet with a reduced fat diet that included more water-rich fruits and vegetables. Participants were counseled on how to reduce fat from their diet so that they ended up eating 28 percent of their calories from fat, 54 percent from carbs, and 18 percent from protein.
Results showed that the water-dense food group lost an average of 17 pounds, about three more than the reduced fat group by the end of the one year study. Since they were eating more of their diet from fruits and vegetables, they took in 113 fewer calories daily than the reduced fat group, but they ate 25 percent more food daily. They reported significantly less hunger than the other group, and improved their cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure more than the reduced fat group, indicating better overall health.
It’s well known that people who chew their food more will eat less, but it is a surprisingly hard practice to consistently perform. Eating raw foods before any other food type is the easiest way to force yourself to chew more. The being that you are eating crunchy, fresh food, and this will remind you to make more of an effort to break down such solid food.
A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that obese people naturally chewed fewer times and ingested more food than lean participants. Chewing the food 40 times before swallowing rather than 15 times resulted in a 12 percent lower energy intake.
Ingestion rate strongly correlated with the number of chews per gram of food, but perhaps more interesting, the greater the number of chews per bite was associated with a better hormone response to the food. The hormone ghrelin (increases appetite) was lower in participants who chewed more, and the hormones CCK and GLP-1 (decrease feelings of hunger) were higher when participants chewed more, regardless of body weight status. Increased chewing is thought to release nutrients from food more efficiently, which leads to this better physiological hormone response to food.
Studies show that dietary fiber intake is associated with less body fat and researchers have suggested that simply getting enough fiber can be a treatment for the obesity epidemic. The average adult fiber intake is less than half of the government recommendation, and less than three percent of adults are thought to get adequate fiber. A variety of studies have shown that increasing fiber content can produce greater fat loss than a diet with reduced fat but no increase in fiber. A 2010 study showed that a high-protein, high fiber diet produced two pounds more fat loss than a standard diet with reduced fat.
Eating raw foods at every meal is the easiest way to boost your fiber intake and lose fat. Fiber helps slow digestion and decrease the blood sugar response, and greater fiber intake is linked to less disease risk. In addition, if you are eating lots of protein you need even more fiber. The 2010 study mentioned above included at least 35 grams of fiber a day.
A large-scale European study found that participants who ate more raw vegetables had less risk of ischemic stroke (a blood clot in a brain blood vessel), and raw fruit intake was associated with lower rate of hemorrhagic stroke (a blood vessel in the brain becomes weak and bursts open). Overall, an intake of raw fruit and vegetables of more than 262 grams a day (roughly two cups a day) resulted in a 30 percent lower risk of stroke than a low intake of less than 92 grams a day.
There’s a wealth of studies that link the intake of antioxidant-rich produce with less cancer risk (thyroid, breast, and prostate). A clear outcome of these studies is that processed produce (fruit cocktail, canned vegetables) aren’t associated with cancer prevention. Plus, raw vegetables have been shown to be much better than cooked vegetables, because the cooking causes a dramatic drop in antioxidant and vitamin content. For example, an analysis of cooked and raw kale found that cooking the kale decreased vitamin-C content by 89 percent, polyphenols by 56 percent, and zinc by 13 percent. Antioxidant activity of the cooked kale dropped to 38 percent of the raw.
Opt for antioxidant-rich foods such as dark red, blue, and purple fruits, and dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, chard, and collards. Deep orange fruits and veggies, tomatoes, white turnips, and grapes have been highlighted in studies as being especially high in antioxidants.
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