Fat doesn’t even make you fat, claims Mark Hyman, a well-known medical doctor in Lenox, Massachusetts, and author of Eat Fat, Get Thin: Why the Fat We Eat Is the Key to Sustained Weight Loss and Vibrant Health. “The theory that all calories have the same impact on your weight and metabolism remains one of the most persistent nutrition myths,” says this practitioner of functional medicine who points out that we’ve been sidetracked by wrong thinking. “Eating fat can make you lean. Healthy cell walls made from high-quality fats are better able to metabolize insulin, which keeps blood sugar better regulated. Without proper blood sugar control, the body socks away fat for a rainy day. The right fats also increase fat burning, diminish hunger and reduce fat storage,” he notes.
Eat less, move more. These words have been the cornerstone of diet advice for decades, leading millions of Americans to greet the new year with vows to cut calories and hit the gym. In all, one in five U.S. adults are dieting at any given time, according to the international market research firm The NPD Group, and 57 percent would like to lose 20 pounds or more. Yet few will reach that goal.
A review of 21 clinical trials has found that just one daily serving of legumes can facilitate an average drop of three-quarters of a pound over a six-week period. Published in the journal Obesity, the research analyzed results from studies that tested a total of 940 men and women eating about three-quarters of a cup of beans, lentils, chickpeas and other legumes each day. The subjects reported feeling nearly one-third fuller on average after eating about 5.6 ounces of these foods with their meals, compared with a control group’s diet. These beneficial legumes may also reduce body fat percentages.
Between-meal nutritious and delicious snacks can be easy to make. Plus, unlike commercial foods, we know their ingredients. Here, Natural Awakenings has tapped two plant-based whole foods experts and cookbook authors for their best snack recipes and tips.