Every spare calorie counts

Many people want to lose weight. Their motivation in this respect may be different, but the basic recipe for successful weight loss is the same. As soon as the calorie intake falls below the daily requirement, the body is forced to call upon its energy reserves. The best way to achieve this is by exercising regularly and cutting down on calories, but there are other strategies that can increase the chances of success.

Proteins

Proteins are a fundamental component of body tissue, particularly muscles. Developing muscle mass not only requires correct training, it also needs a sufficient supply of proteins. If a person wishes to lose weight, a diet rich in proteins is sensible in many respects. It does not only support muscle growth, energy is required to break down proteins into their individual components. This, in turn, releases heat as a by-product. The thermal effect is much more pronounced when digesting proteins as opposed to carbohydrates or fats.

Furthermore, protein-rich food has a more sustaining effect – a phenomenon that has already been proven on numerous occasions. A study undertaken in 2005 showed, for example, that increasing the amount of proteins in the diet from 15% to 30% resulted in reducing the daily average daily intake of calories by approx. 400 kcal.

Water

The human body requires a regular intake of water. This normally involves drinking around 1.5 litres per day. Drinking water is not just necessary for life, it can also help in losing weight. Those who drink water are less likely to turn to sugary alternatives. Drinking habits can also influence nutritional intake. It was shown that those who drank one to two glasses of water before a meal felt full up more quickly and, consequently, consumed fewer calories. The reason for this is actually quite simple. The additional volume in the stomach makes it stretch more quickly while eating and activates the stretch receptors in the stomach wall, which then send a signal to the brain that the stomach is full. This, in turn, leads to the person feeling full up and no longer eating. It is also often claimed that drinking cold water can contribute towards losing weight as additional energy is required to warm up the water. Although this effect exists in theory, it does not bear any relevance in practice.

Caffeine

Caffeine is the world’s most commonly consumed pharmacologically effective substance. Naturally present in dozens of plants, such as coffee, tea, mate and guarana, it is prized by many thanks to its stimulating effects.

As a centrally effective stimulant, caffeine not only increases the ability to concentrate and counteracts fatigue, it also increases physical endurance, the heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and peristalsis in the intestines. The interaction between caffeine consumption and weight loss has already been investigated in a number of scientific studies. On numerous occasions, it was shown that even moderate caffeine consumption (approx. two cups of coffee per day) can contribute to an increased basal metabolic rate and to a reduction in fat and weight. Furthermore, regular caffeine consumption also seems to counteract renewed weight gain. Both effects are related to the amount of caffeine consumed per day. Yet, it should be noted that an increased dosage of caffeine can also lead to undesirable side effects. As far as is currently known, a maximum amount of 400mg (approx. four cups of filter coffee) per day is harmless to an adult of average weight. Minors and pregnant women, however, should consume less. 200mg per day is considered safe for pregnant women, whereas teenagers should not consume more than 3mg per kilogram of bodyweight.

Even if these measures have minimal effect in themselves, combining them can have a significant impact in supporting a desired weight loss. Without exercise and a change in diet, however, these measures remain largely useless.

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