Take a whiff of peppermint
Yes, it sounds a strange way to lose lower belly fat. And it is strange. But multiple researchers have linked a quick whiff of peppermint to positive weight management. A 2007 Wheeling Jesuit University study into the effects of peppermint scent on appetite control and caloric intake threw up some really interesting results.
Participants in the research program were tasked with sniffing peppermint oil every 2 hours for 5 days straight. Simple enough. The scientists recorded hunger ratings and caloric intake of a peppermint inhalation and non inhalation group. Those in the peppermint treatment reported significantly lower hunger ratings and consumed fewer total calories, including those from saturated fat and sugar.
The research team suggested the strong peppermint odour could be distracting users, taking their mind off a nagging appetite.
Another study by the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation yielded similar results. In fact Dr Alan R. Hirsch, a somewhat controversial character, found weight loss benefits from sniffing banana, apple or peppermint via inhaler. His study, examining over 3000 volunteers and staged over a 6 month period, demonstrated that the amount of weight participants lost was directly correlated to frequency of inhaler use.
Make sure breakfast is larger than dinner
Do you eat a quick breakfast just as you rush out the door, leaving the bulk of your calorie consumption to your 'sit down' meal in the evening? You may benefit from reversing this approach. A study first published in 2014 in Obesity observed increased weight loss and higher waist circumference reduction in overweight and obese women by opting for a larger breakfast.
Researchers split subjects into a breakfast group - consuming 700 calories at their first meal, 500 over lunch and a measly 200 at dinner time, and a second group ingesting the same calories but in reverse. Both groups lost weight, but the breakfast group exhibited a 2.5-fold greater weight loss over a 12 week period.
Mirror mirror on the wall
No, this isn't a children's fairy tale. The presence of a mirror opposite the dinner table might actually curb your eating to help lose lower belly fat.
Some studies have illustrated eating in full view of a mirror reduces consumption by almost 33%. One study, published in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, found the presence of a mirror reduced perceived tastiness of unhealthy food choices.
This particular study included 185 undergraduate students who were tasked with evaluating the taste of chocolate cake and fruit salad in a room either containing no mirrors, or with mirrors present. Interestingly, or perhaps oddly, taste perception was distinctly different for the chocolate cake (but not the fruit salad) when mirrors were in view.
Potentially this change in taste perception could limit consumption. Well maybe.
Take photos of your food
You’ve probably heard the benefits of keeping a food diary, a chance to track how much you are eating and how well you're sticking to a planned eating regime. The problem with traditional written food diaries, according to American scientists, is they don’t provide a strong reminder of size or quality of meals, and are often completed well after the fact.
Researchers compared 43 dieters and tracked food intake though words and photos. The academics established photo food diaries were not only more accurate, but also served as a powerful disincentive to over indulging.
When tracking your food intake, grab your mobile phone and take a quick snap. It might make you consider more carefully what you eat, or alternatively it provides a simple approach to monitoring the quality of your diet.
Think carefully about who you eat with
A joint study complete by scientists at the University of Akron and Indiana University of Pennsylvania suggests it matters who you sit down for a meal with. The study, conducted through observations at an Indiana campus eatery, observed food purchase and dining companions over a 10 day trial.
Interestingly, the researchers found that eating in front of a guy makes you purchase less food, regardless of whether you are a man or woman. Lead researcher Marci Cottingham said “when men were eating with women, they tended to purchase more calories than their counterparts who were eating with other men.” On the other hand, women dining with men tended to purchase fewer calories than when eating with a female friend or group.
Why on earth could this be? Cottingham hypothesised that eating less appears more feminine and could be influencing female behaviour. Men, tend to eat more to appear more masculine in a woman's company.
Yes, food intake can form strong impressions on people… Grab a male at the lunchroom to consume your lunch with!
Choose a red dinner plate
Another really weird weight loss tip that somehow attracted research support is plate selection. Yes, the colour of the plate you eat from could make a difference in the number of calories you consume, apparently. A study published in the journal Appetite served 240 participants with popcorn and chocolate chips on red, white or blue plates. The findings? Those eating off red plates ate less overall! Seriously?
Tidy your desk or office and lose weight
According to a study out of the University of Minnesota, disorganised spaces are likely to encourage unhealthy food choices. Why? Academics believe a more orderly or organised environment may encourage improved decision making.
Researchers examined 34 dutch students, placing them in a well organised office environment and a messy one. Participants were offered the choice of an apple or chocolate bar on departure. Results? Those in the tidy room were significantly more likely to opt for an apple than those in a dishevelled office space.
Is this an infallible insight? Perhaps not… but it may pay to keep your workspace clean just in case!
Take your vitamins
Popping a regular vitamin might actually help with losing lower belly fat. Who would have thought?
A 26 week intervention study examined the impact of multivitamin and mineral supplementation on 96 obese people. Subjects, by no suggestion micronutrient deficient, were provided a daily 29 ingredient multi or a 162mg calcium supplement. The results, published in the International Journal of Obesity, established the supplemented groups lost a higher volume of fat than a placebo group - 3.6kg for the multi vitamins, 1.1kg for calcium or 0.2kg for control group.
The theory on this one is really worth taking notice of. Scientists suggested individuals lacking certain nutrients or minerals may eat more to try to source their additional requirements. Seems plausible.
Always eat your beans
Beans are a wonderful food to add to your diet. Low in fat, high in fiber, and a wonderful blood sugar regulator. You could do worse than avoiding a typical western diet and opting for one that revolves around beans and rice for slow release carbohydrates, at least if you believe insight from the journal Obesity Research. One published study suggested the risk of becoming overweight is reduced by 14% with a diet high in beans and rice.
It seems appeal of foods and their colours are closely intertwined. Take blue for example. Some experts suggest the colour blue makes foods less appealing. Admittedly, blue is relatively uncommon in the world of food. Aside from blueberries, very few foods are naturally blue.
However, even the presence of the colour blue can suppress your appetite. One study suggested eating in a blue room can make you less enamoured with your food. Perhaps it stems from our earliest ancestors where blue was one of a number of colour warning signs for poisonous foods.
Do you have any odd tips or ways to lose lower belly fat that you swear by? Feel free to let us know below.