Here’s some manageable weight loss news: After looking at previous studies, researchers from the U.K. found that extreme dieting isn’t always needed to slim down. Easy weight loss is possible by cutting some fat from your diet, even while continuing to eat normal amounts of food.
The study, published in the journal BMJ, compared low-fat and “normal” diets. On average, low-fat foods helped people lose 3.5 pounds, trim their waists and reduce their body mass index (BMI). The more fat cut, the greater the weight loss. And while a few pounds is nothing spectacular, people who ate less fat also had better cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure, which can lower the risk of heart disease.
Even more important, though, is the fact that trimming fat from your diet is more sustainable than starving yourself on a crash diet—meaning you are more likely to stick with it.
While the study didn’t look at eliminating specific types of fat, many nutritionists suggest cutting back first on saturated fats, the kind found in animal products. These bad boys have been linked to heart disease and stroke.
To lose weight without your stomach eating itself, here are a few easy ways to eat less fat:
- Switch to low-fat milk and yogurt, or try a soy or hemp version.
- Cut down on butter, cheese or eggs. You can also try alternatives like vegetable oil spreads, or use apple sauce or ground flax seed instead of eggs when baking.
- Cut the fat from your meat, or eat leaner cuts.
- Eat fruit instead of fatty baked goods, which often contain animal-based saturated fats.
- Snack on vegetables, which may fill you up before you zip off for some fast food.