How All Diets Work
There are obviously several well-known diets and diet strategies, but all of them work in the same, mundane way:
- Paleo: You adopt a caveman lifestyle and eat stuff that's only minimally processed, and like dogs, you roll around in the decaying flesh of dead animals so that you can mask your natural scent as you hunt your prey, or so I'm told. The diet makes you lose weight because it causes a calorie deficit.
- Ketogenic: You avoid almost all carbs, subsisting largely on animal fat and turning yourself into a human KFC grease trap. It pretty much works by causing a calorie deficit.
- Gluten-Free: You avoid all foods containing the protein known as gluten. There's absolutely nothing worthwhile left to eat in the world, so you lose weight, i.e., you lose weight because there's a resultant calorie deficit. (Also, being a sanctimonious SOB apparently burns calories.)
- Weight Watchers: You get points for eating certain foods, along with following strict portion control. You must wear blue spandex pants to enroll. It works by, you guessed it, creating a calorie deficit.
Yeah, they're all about calorie deficits. This is also true of even the more efficient diets like the Velocity Diet® and the Cheat Fast Dietthat allow you to drop fat very quickly while retaining muscle. There's no mysticism. They're largely about how much food you swallow or don't swallow.
But the biggest impediment to calorie restriction is ordinary hunger. True, insulin sensitivity can play a big part in losing fat, but when you get down to the most basic facts, it's about calories.
Any diet works if you can figure out how to thwart hunger. That's why satiety, or fullness, or at least the illusion of satiety, can make all the difference in losing body fat.
Experienced dieters know how to use a small amount of psyllium to help them feel full between meals, and science backs it up. Scientists, in the May 7th edition of Appetite, wrote that, "Psyllium supplementation before meals is well tolerated and can significantly affect satiety by decreasing hunger, increasing fullness, and reducing the desire to eat between meals."
But there are plenty of other things you can do and foods you can eat to feel full.
Researchers at the University of Sydney, Australia, have come up with a satiety index that compares the filling effects of different foods. Using white bread as the baseline, it was given a value of 100%. Foods that are lower than 100% are less filling. Foods that are higher than 100% are more filling.
Consider some of the foods that tested out in the list of their top 20 most filling foods:
- Potatoes: 323%
- Oatmeal: 209%
- Oranges: 202%
- Apples: 197%
- Brown Pasta: 188%
- Beef: 176%
- Baked Beans: 168%
- Popcorn: 154%
- Eggs: 150%
Oddly enough, lowly potatoes, long regarded as somewhat of an enemy by people who ascribe to the glycemic index are, in one regard, the best diet food, testing out as over 3 times as satisfying as bread. Other findings of theirs clarified what few people know:
- Fatty foods are, contrary to what most people believe, not filling.
- Carbohydrates can be an excellent diet food, provided you cut out the sugar and fat and refrain from well-known super-fast carbs like white bread.
- Protein is the macronutrient that best satisfies hunger.
To lose body fat, you first need to adopt a plan, any plan because they all work pretty much the same. Secondly, you need to find ways to thwart hunger, because hunger is the enemy of willpower and good intentions.
Do whatever it takes to feel full, whether it's using psyllium to fill your stomach with fiber or eating whole foods – even carbs like potatoes – that fill you up without loading you up on calories.