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Drinking water before meals and other diet hacks

Drinking water before meals and other diet hacks

It’s a known fact that often when you’re feeling hungry, your body is actually thirsty and crying out for water. Equally it's common knowledge that glugging a glass of H2O before a meal can mean fewer mouthfuls consumed. And for any water before dinner doubters, a team of Dutch researchers has now proved the diet myth true.

The team published their results in journal Obesity, after studying a group of overweight and obese men and women. The participants were split into two sub groups and given separate eating plans. One group were put on a hypocaloric diet, which saw them eat less calories than they were burning, while the others were also put on a hypocaloric diet but also upped their water intake, consuming 500ml of water half an hour before their three daily meals. Calories were restricted to 1,200 for women and 1,500 for men, and both groups followed the diet for 12 weeks.

All participants dropped weight after finishing the strict plan, but the water drinkers lost an additional 2 kg (4.4lb) compared to the others. Further tests showed that the water group ate less calories at meal times (40 on average), which backs previous research into the theory.

Taking the time to sip water before eating a meal is an easy diet trick to incorporate into your daily routine. We’ve rounded up three more simple hacks and swaps that will see you shed any unwanted pounds.

Smaller plates

There has been loads of research into this area, with findings concluding that a smaller plate means less food piled on, equalling fewer calories consumed. One study led by Brian Wansink of Cornell University and Koert van Ittersum from the Georgia Institute of Technology estimated that on average you can lose 10 pounds in a year using the small plate trick.

Plate colour

Wansink and van Ittersum further found that plate colour can play a key role in how much food you serve yourself. Crockery that is the same colour as the food you’re eating saw people add 30 per cent more to their plate. This is because when the colours are similar, it’s harder to see what a big portion you’re dishing out. While having cupboards full of plates isn’t a great space saver, investing in a light set and dark set could be the answer.

Focus on your food

It’s been shown that people who are distracted when they eat, with Facebook, checking emails or even watching TV, eat 10 per cent more than they would if they were focused on their meals. Phones and laptops are part of everyday life, but switch off before you sit down for a quick way to cut calories.

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