Intermittent fasting, cravings and cinnamon

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Losing body fat is all about re-figuring our relationship with our bodies and how they work.

And while many of us struggle with spare tires and love handles, the secret to shifting those extra few kilos is actually pretty simple. The general consensus among experts seems to be that you “can’t out-train a bad diet” – with many seeming to agree that an 80 per cent diet and 20 per cent exercise approach is best.

That 20 per cent is still vitally important – you need to be fit if you want to avoid developing a host of chronic illnesses and plan on still being able to look after yourself in a few decades’ time.

But Nutritional Director Rick Hay also has top three effortless diet hacks that don’t involve going anywhere near a gym, which he shared with Healthista.

1. Stop your cravings with chromium

For many of us, failure to see through a diet happens because we’re desperate for a slice of chocolate or whatever and we end up binging on a whole family bar.

The answer, Rick says, is chromium.

“Chromium is key where cravings are concerned,” he says.

The mineral improves how well our bodies control blood sugar levels by acting on our insulin receptors.

When we have too glucose in our bodies, it gets converted and stored as fat. Chromium, however, stops that excess glucose being processed and stops it from being turned into fat storage.

What contains chromium?

You can buy the mineral as a supplement but it’s also found in;

  • Broccoli
  • Grapes
  • Oranges
  • Apples
  • Turkey
  • Wholegrains
  • Potatoes
  • Green beans
  • Red wine

Through its work on insulin, it also keeps our blood sugar levels stable – guarding against the spike and crash which leaves us reaching for the 3pm Tim Tam packet.

A systematic review and meta-analysis of 25 randomised controlled trials found favourable effects of chromium supplementation on glycaemic control in patients with diabetes, again showing that chromium can reduce our blood sugar and therefore our cravings.

Your best bet is to eat as much fruit and veg as you can.

“Consuming a balanced diet containing a variety of minimally processed foods may help you meet your chromium requirements,” suggests Rick.

A 2008 study looking specifically at the effects of chromium on food intake and satiety, assessed the effect of chromium in modulating food intake in healthy, overweight, adult women who reported craving carbohydrates.

42 overweight adult women with carb cravings were given 1,000mg of chromium or a placebo for eight weeks. Scientists found that those who supplemented with chromium, as compared to placebo, reduced their food intake, their hunger levels, their fat cravings and their overall weight.

Rick also advises making sure that you’re really stocked up on B vitamins too, which are found in many brightly coloured veg.

“Essentially this means that these vitamins help keep the digestive system on track and fully functioning,” he says.

“A fully functioning digestion is integral to successful weight-loss.” The National Institutes of Health says that broccoli has been found to have especially high amounts.

2. Try intermittent fasting

There are many different types of intermittent fasting (IF) and not a lot of research regarding which – if any – is the optimum for sustainable living or weight loss.

But that’s not to say that anecdotally, loads of people swear by it as a fat loss tool.

You might go for the 5: 2 – eating normally for five days and dramatically reducing your calorie intake on two, or the 14:10 – not eating for 14 hours and eating your regular number of calories in a 10 hour window.

“Science now tells us that 14 and 16 hours is the best fasting window for burning body fat and losing weight,” says Rick.

It takes us around 12 hours to fully digest everything and clear glucose from our blood streams. It’s only then that our bodies turn to stored up body fat for energy.

A pilot study published by World J Diabetes found short term intermittent fasting may be a safe and tolerable dietary intervention for those already diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and may improve body weight and fasting glucose levels.

3. Add cinnamon to your porridge

Cinnamon may help to reduce blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

By reducing blood sugar, we reduce the likelihood and frequency of cravings.

Dietitian Helen Bond previously told The Sun: “Though it has a slight metabolism/thermogenic effect, it is more about balancing blood sugar and insulin resistance, which in turn aids weight loss and can lessen food cravings.

“Again, this does not replace the need for dietary changes. A far better way of balancing blood sugar and insulin resistance is to follow a sugar-free, low-carbohydrate diet.”

Rick explains: “Cinnamon helps regulate blood sugar and so in turn, reduces cravings. This is especially beneficial for weight management or weight loss.

“By regulating blood sugar, cinnamon can also improve mood and keep it steady, a benefit that has been shown in research with people who have Type 2 diabetes.”

Cinnamon has also been found to be good for cardiovascular health.

Add a sprinkle to your 11am bowl of porridge instead of slathering sugar all over it.

So there you have it: three easy weight loss tools.Set yourself clear eating windows so you’re not snacking throughout the day and evening.

Make sure you’re eating at least five portions of fruit and veg to curb cravings.

And get some cinnamon action – it’ll make stuff taste sweeter without the damaging effect of sugar or sweeteners.

This article was republished with permission from The Sun.