Maybe you regard food as your worst enemy, but you know what? The worst enemy of your diet is often you! We prepared a list of 10 tips to help you stay on track with your healthy diet.

Avoid the pitfalls of everyday life thanks to these curated tips from multiple studies led in recent years (the sources are included under each section).

1.Use Small Plates

Unconsciously, we tend to eat more food if our plates are larger. We then use larger portions and increase our food intake accordingly. For example, people eating from plates 10 inches in diameter (26 centimetres) eat 25% more than people eating from plates 5.5 inches wide (14 centimetres).

Source:K. Van Ittersum et B. Wansink, Plate Size and Color Suggestibility : The Delboeuf Illusion’s Bias on Serving and Eating Behavior, Journal of Consumer Research, vol. 39, pp. 215-228, 2012

2. Place Food in Opaque, Hidden And Hard To Reach Places

In a study of 200 women, those who leave the most attractive and unhealthy food visible (sodas, candy) have more snacks and are more likely to blame it on the scales.

For example, leaving your soda bottle in view regularly is associated with an average excess weight of 12 kg. Similarly, candy placed in transparent jars are consumed 75% more than the same type of candy in opaque containers. So make sure you have good and not-so-easy-to-reach spot to hide your food.

Source: J. E. Painter et al., How visibility and convenience inflence candy consumption, Appetite, vol. 38, pp. 237-238, 2002.

3. Avoid “Light” Food

Daily consumption of light drinks increases the risk of obesity by 100%, cardiac mortality by 50% and the risk of diabetes by 67%.

Recent studies even show that the probability of Alzheimer’s disease is increased. Also, sweeteners alter the intestinal microbiota and stimulate the appetite.

Source : S.P. Fowler et al., Fueling the obesity epidemic ? Artifiially sweetened beverage use and long-term weight gain, Obesity, vol. 16, pp. 1894-900, 2008.

4. Beware of The Box of Chocolates Effect

The varied assortments of chocolates create a stimulation of the desire to eat through an effect of both variety and novelty.

Faced with a vast choice of different foods, we eat 2.2 times more. Be aware of this effect in front of an abundant cheese platter, and avoid buffets like the plague.

B. E. Kahn et B. Wansink, The inflence of assortment structure on perceived variety and consumption quantities, Journal of Consumer Research, vol. 30, pp. 519-533, 2004.

5. Do not Leave Dishes on The Table For Too Long

Are you full and still there is food on your plate? Then put the plates away. You may be tempted to eat more by the simple sight of the food, and by the ease with which you can do so.

If it is a little further away, people are less willing to make the extra effort if they’re full. For example, office workers eat 1.5 times more candy if the box is on the desk than if it is simply 3 feets away (2 metres)

Source : B. Wansink et al., International Journal of Obesity, vol. 30, pp. 871-875, 2006.

6. Use a Shopping List

Before you go to the supermarket, write down the items you want to buy. The opposite leads to an over-consumption of food of around 15%.

When we don’t know exactly what we need, our reflex is to buy more than necessary. In addition, use a list that almost doubles the purchases of fruit (x 1.7) and vegetables (x 1.8). So we eat less, and healthier.

Source : A. Thomas et R. Garland, International Journal of Retail & Distribution
Management, vol. 21, 1993.

7. Don’t Shop While Hungry

When we are out shopping on a hungry stomach, we are irresistibly drawn to food. People who shop hungry buy between 25% and 30% more food items, focusing on the most high-calorie choices.

It is better to do your shopping in the early afternoon, when you have already eaten, than in the late afternoon when you start to feel hungry.

Source : A. Tal et B. Wansink, JAMA Intern Med., vol. 173, pp. 1146-1148, 2013.

8. Avoid Distractions While Eating

When we eat while doing something else (watching TV, listening to the radio, reading a newspaper), our attention is less focused on the act of eating and satiety takes longer to settle in.

As a result, we eat between 50% and 80% more calories in front of the TV, and 15% more calories when listening to the radio.

Source : E. M. Blass et al., On the road to obesity: Television viewing increases intake of high-density foods, Physiology & Behavior, vol. 88, pp. 597-604, 2006.

9. Sleep Well

Insufficient sleep promotes weight gain and disrupts appetite hormones. Thus, people sleeping less than 6 hours a night are 3.8 times more likely to be obese than those sleeping more than 7 hours a night.

Just spending a very short night (4 hours) increases the calories absorbed the next day by 23%.

Source : J. P. Chaput et al., Risk factors for adult overweight and obesity: the importance of looking beyond the ‘big two’, Obesity Facts, vol. 3, pp. 320-327, 2010.

10. Walk Daily

According to Nature magazine, walking is the best way to increase total daily energy expenditure.

Paradoxically, sudden efforts lead to an increase in food intake. We must therefore favour the principle of moderate and prolonged activity. Ideally, you should allow yourself 40 minutes of walking a day, but more moderate daily doses will always be good to take.

Source: K. Westerterp, Nature, vol. 410, p. 539, 2001.

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