Nutrition

How to Lose Fat Without Counting Calories

How would it be to eat unlimited amounts of food while losing fat like clockwork at the same time? 

While that may sound like a stretch, it’s possible. And in this evidence-based article, you’ll learn a step-by-step approach on how to do that. So let’s dive in.

Why It’s Easy to Lose Weight and Fat

At least, it is easy in theory. That’s because the only requirement to slim down is that you’re in a calorie deficit, which means that you consume fewer calories than you burn.

If you maintain such a calorie deficit, you will lose weight, no matter whether those calories come from protein, carbs, or fat. But if you fail to do that, the number on your scale won’t go down.(1)(2)(3)

Now, to make sure that you can maintain a calorie deficit while consuming as much food as you want, what you should do is:

Follow a Diet That Scores High on the Satiety Index

That means you consume foods that are low in calories but effective at satiating hunger while passing by those that don’t fit that criteria.

Improving the satiety index of your diet in such a way automatically reduces calorie intake, which is why it helps you to lose weight and fat.(4)

You can see it as if you have to fill 100 units of appetite per day to avoid hunger, and each food you consume fills a particular amount of appetite.

When you choose foods that score high on the satiety index, you’ll reach that 100 appetite units target earlier, leading you to consume fewer calories in total.

That’s why increasing the satiety index of your diet is a reliable way to lose fat without having to track calories or suffer severe hunger cravings.(5)

So found a one-year-long study that following a high satiety index diet is more effective for losing weight than the Standard Care weight loss program of the National Health Service (NHS).(6)

This leaves us with the question:

How Do You Know Whether a Food Scores High on the Satiety Index?

Fortunately, researchers have quantified how satiating particular foods are. One study, for instance, tested the satiety index of thirty-eight different foods, and here’s what they found:(7)

Source: Eur J Clin Nutr. 1995 Sep;49(9):675-90.

As you can see, some foods are much more satiating than others.

The scientists found, for instance, that potatoes were seven times more satiating than croissants. So, it’ll be much easier to lose weight if you consume potatoes rather than croissants.

Now, the problem is that it can be quite a hassle to figure out the satiety index of food. And if you wanted to do that for all your meals, it would become a time-consuming chore.

But don’t despair. What follows are five guidelines that’ll help you ramp up the satiety score of your diet, so that you can lose fat without having to count calories. 

Step 1: Avoid Processed Sugar

Sugar has almost no effect on satiety. That’s why energy from this compound tends to go on top of the calories you already eat.(8)

For that reason, ridding all processed sugars from a diet is often enough to instantly induce a calorie deficit and kickstart fat loss.

So, pass by foods such as cookies, sodas, fruit juice, sports drinks, chocolate milk, iced tea, cereal bars, and breakfast cereal.

Unprocessed fruits, however, are okay to consume. That’s because they’re effective at satiating hunger and thus help you reduce your total calorie intake. 

Step 2: Increase Your Protein Intake

One of the easiest (and tastiest) ways to reduce your total calorie intake is by consuming more protein. That works because your food reward system has a strong appetite for this macronutrient.(9)

Research shows that increasing protein intake tends to pair with an automatic reduction in total calorie intake, leading to a reduced number when you step on the scale.(10)

Thus, make sure your diet contains enough protein. That means getting at least 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (0.7 grams per pound of body weight).

It’s best to get that amount from lean protein sources such as tuna, egg whites, and casein protein powder since these have the most beneficial effects on controlling calorie intake.

Step 3: Increase Your Fiber Consumption

On average, every fourteen grams of fiber you consume reduces your total ad libitum energy intake by 10%. That’s because fiber aids satiety and helps you stay full for longer.(11)

Owing to these hunger-reducing benefits, upping your fiber is one of the best ways to put your fat loss results on autopilot.

While vegetables are the best source of fiber for fat loss, fruits are also good. Both should form the foundation of your diet since they’re low in calories but highly satiating. 

Step 4: Drink More Water

Another easy way to instantly improve your fat loss results is by consuming more water.(12)(13)(14)

Data shows that those who habitually drink water consume, on average, 9% fewer calories than those who do not regularly drink water.(15)

The reason water consumption reduces calorie intake is that it stretches the stomach wall, which signals your brain that your stomach is (partially) filled, leading to reduced hunger levels.

It’s especially beneficial to consume water before your meal. So found one study that drinking half a liter of water thirty minutes before breakfast reduced total calorie intake by 13%.(16)

Thus, down a glass of water before your meal to automatically reduce your calorie intake. Plus, whenever hunger rears its head, drink some of it as well to reduce cravings.

Step 5: Consume Only Low Energy-Density Foods

This step overlaps a bit with the ones we’ve already covered, but to lose fat, only eat low-energy, high-volume food like fruits, vegetables, lentils, beans, and lean protein sources like egg whites and tuna.

They suppress appetite and help control calorie intake more effectively than high energy-density foods such as donuts, butter, and chocolate.  

While that may sound like common sense, the extent to which basing your diet around low-energy foods can aid fat loss is surprising.

One study found that people need to consume around 3,000 calories to feel satisfied on a high-energy diet. But to reach the same level of fullness on a low energy-density diet, they only need 1,570 calories.(17)

That’s almost half the amount of energy!

So, get most or ideally all your calories from low energy-density food. Your diet will then be more satiating, you’ll consume fewer calories, and you’ll be one step closer to reaching that shredded figure.(18)(19)(20)

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