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9 Strange Diet Rules Backed By Science

Eating less + moving more = weight loss. Anyone who has ever tried to shed a few pounds has likely already heard this age-old equation. We're not going to knock the strategy because, well, it works, but there are some over-looked, science-backed ways to lose weight that you may not have heard about before (and are a bit more interesting, too).

Yes, some of them may sound a bit silly, but you've got nothing to lose by giving them a go— except weight! The best part? None of the tips will make you feel deprived or cause you to go hungry. We've only gathered advice that is easy to stick to long-term. Read through the tips to get in the know and start shedding those extra pounds.

Buy Your Food With Cash

Want to lose weight? Head to the ATM, stat! Paying with cash instead of credit and debit cards may make you more inclined to choose healthier foods, according a Cornell University study. To come to this conclusion, researchers reviewed the lunch purchases of 2,314 public school students in grades 1 through 12. They found that at the cash-only schools 42 percent of students picked healthy items—like fresh fruits and vegetables—and purchased less candy, too. At the debit-only schools, on the other hand, just 31 percent of kids opted for nutritious foods. These results don't just hold true in younger populations, either. There have been similar findings in adults, too. The takeaway: Hit up restaurants, convenience and grocery stores with cash to save calories.

Eat Hershey's Kisses

If your love for chocolate is hindering your weight loss, we've got some news that may help—and it doesn't involve dumping your stash! According to a Swedish study, stocking your cabinets with individually wrapped sweets—like Hershey's Kisses and fun size candies—instead of loose chocolate can subconsciously help you eat less. During this study, the researcher presented subjects with both wrapped and unwrapped chocolates. He found that participants ate nearly 30 percent less when the sweets were wrapped individually. Why? While he can't be totally sure, he thinks it may be because when something is perceived as difficult to eat, people are less inclined to consume it.

Have a Snack Before Dining Out

It may sound counterintuitive, but eating something before going out to eat can actually fuel weight loss efforts. Yes, eating more can help you weigh less! A series of studies out of Pennsylvania State University found that noshing on a apple or a broth-based soup prior to sitting down to a restaurant meal can reduce total calorie intake over the course of the meal by up to 20 percent. While that may not seem too significant, when you consider that the average restaurant meal has 1,128 calories, a 20 percent savings just once a day is enough to help you lose more than 23 pounds in a year!

Chill Pasta to Melt Fat

Transform pasta from a starchy, bloat-inducing diet no-no into a fat-frying champion simply by placing it in the refrigerator. While this may sound like an opening line to a cheesy sleight-of-hand magic trick, it actually works. Here's why: When you cool down pasta, the drop in temperature changes its chemical structure into something called "resistant starch," which may promote fat oxidation according to a study in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism. If you want to see results, don't reheat the noodles. Once they're hot again the resistant starch is destroyed.

It Doesn't Matter Which Diet You Follow

Time and time again, low-fat and low-carb diets go head-to-head for the weight-loss championship. A winner has yet to be crowned—and with good reason: there are health benefits of both. But a recent statistical review sheds some light on the issue, at least when it comes to choosing which diet path to follow. In its consideration of 25 different studies, the review found that research participants lost pretty much the same amount of weight on both low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets. The bottom line: any diet you'll actually adhere to is the one you should pick.

Chew More

Looking for an effortless, no-sacrifice way to lose weight? Who isn't? According to research published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, chewing your food more thoroughly might just help you drop weight. Researchers found that study participants reduced their food intake the more they chewed. Although they aren't certain what the correlation is, one theory is that chomping more causes people to eat more slowly. Which makes sense, when you slow your pace, it allows the brain to register fullness, lowering the odds you'll go back for second or third helpings. Over time, eating less at each meal can add up to serious weight loss!

Sniff Your Fruit Basket

If you typically sacrifice all the fruit in your kitchen to the smoothie gods, you may want to consider keeping a few pieces away from the blade and within your reach. We don't have anything against smoothies, we just can't ignore that studies have found that smelling fresh green apples, bananas and pears can curb appetite and make sugary desserts less appealing. Scientists speculate this may be because fruit scents make you subconsciously think about making better, healthier choices.

Eat Most of Your Carbs at Night

While "low-carb" may be a big buzzword in the weight loss world, you don't have to nix the starch to get slim, you just need to know a this simple little trick: only eat carbs at night. According to two pieces of research out of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, following this tip may just be your ticket to a trimmer waistline. To come to these findings, scientists studied a group of 100 obese people (those with BMIs above 30). For six months, they had each group adhere to nutrient-identical diets. However, one group consumed starches throughout the day, while the other folks only ate their carbs during dinner. Six months later, those who only ate carbohydrates at night reported feeling fuller during the day, lost more weight and inches around their middle, and fried 36 percent more body fat. Sounds like a winning strategy to us!

Pay Close Attention to When You Eat

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but if you want to slim down you should probably kick your Scandal snacking habit. Although for many years researchers thought that eating late at night could actually speed up metabolism and help fry fat, a recent animal study found that quite the opposite is likely true. To come to their findings, researchers fed 400 mice diets that were either high in fat, high in fat and sucrose or rich in fructose. All the mice consumed the same amount of calories. Some of the mice were permitted to eat whenever they pleased, while the other group was only given access to food for 9 to 12 hours a day. The mice in the latter group gained less weight and had more lean muscle mass than their freely-munching counterparts. While further research needs to be conducted to confirm the finding, time-restricted dieting may be an effective way to lose weight, regardless of what you eat. If you typically eat breakfast at 9 AM, try cutting yourself off between 6 and 9 PM. You may just see the scale tip in your favor.
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