If you want to lose weight without stressing about a complicated diet, it's time to get help from experts who know how to make weight loss both tasty and simple. Jillian Michaels, for example, has developed a complete collection of slim-down secrets from her work as a trainer on "The Biggest Loser," including how to incorporate dark chocolate into the plan, reported the Wall Street Cheat Sheet on July 26.
"I try to get my dark chocolate in somewhere throughout the day," says Jillian. But she plans ahead so that it fits into her low carb diet program.
"I have to have it. I work it into my calorie allowance and I will always have 200 calories of chocolate," she concluded.
And she's not the only believer in the benefits of chocolate. Dr. William Lagakos, who specializes in obesity and metabolism, says that dark chocolate provides cardiovascular benefits.
Author of "The poor, misunderstood calorie: calories proper," Lagakos advises not getting stressed about the labels, which may range from cacao nibs to cacao powder to cocoa. The main goal to reap the benefits of dark chocolate: Look for a variety with a high percentage, such as 85 percent.
For those who can't always make time to exercise, Jillian emphasizes the importance of eating clean. "I've learned if I don’t get that time to work out, it becomes a matter of eating as cleanly as I can and getting sleep," she said.
Eating clean translates as focusing on a low-carb diet that consists of unprocessed foods such as chicken, fish and vegetables. Eat carbohydrates primarily at breakfast. For lunch and dinner, Jillian advises going for protein and vegetables.
When it comes to protein, consider adding yogurt to the shopping list. Vanderbilt University researchers found that mice who consumed probiotics similar to the ones in yogurt did not gain weight even when they consumed a high fat diet, reported the Tennessean on July 26.
Senior investigator Dr. Sean Davies, assistant professor of pharmacology, formulated a compound that transforms in the intestine into a different compound that lowers food intake naturally. The mice who drank water containing the compound consumed less food and had lower levels of body fat.
And when it comes to the weight loss benefits of yogurt, Dr. Mehmet Oz is a believer. On a recent episode of his popular talk show, he praised yogurt for its combination of protein, calcium and healthy bacteria.
"It's a great snack, especially if you're looking to slim down. Not only does this yogurt make you feel full, some studies have shown that diets that include several servings of Greek yogurt a day may aid weight loss and trim waistlines," said Dr. Oz.
Whether you choose fish, chicken or yogurt, how much protein do you need each day? The average person needs about 0.8 grams per kilogram (or 2.2 pounds) of body weight, reported Fairfax Media on July 26.
But some experts say that most of us already get enough. Protein has become a popular preoccupation as a result of several studies showing a link between low carb diets that are high in protein and weight loss. On that basis, more than 70 percent of consumers want more protein, reported research firm NPD Group.
One reason that eating more protein has become more popular is the increasing focus on the failure of the food pyramid. Frustrated with trying to lose weight on a low-fat, high carb diet, consumers are paying attention to studies indicating that low carb diets work better.
But they may be overlooking the need for more fat as well as protein, said weight loss expert Jimmy Moore in an exclusive interview. He is the author of several books focusing on how to shed pounds and keep them off on a high fat low carb diet, including a new one "Keto Clarity: Your Definitive Guide to the Benefits of a Low-Carb, High-Fat Diet."
"We are a fat-deprived society. The so-called health experts have been telling us for decades that saturated fat will raise our cholesterol, clog our arteries, give us a heart attack and kill us," pointed out Jimmy.
"But none of that nutritional advice has ever been proven by the science--in fact, all of the evidence shows that saturated fat is at worst a neutral part of our diet," he added. Instead, he believes that the main cause of the obesity epidemic and related conditions "can be traced back to one major category of foods--carbohydrates, namely sugar, grains and starches."
Jimmy's recommendation: Eliminate the carbohydrates completely rather than follow Jillian's recommendation to eat them at your morning meal. He suggests "replacing them with more real food-based fats than you ever thought you'd eat as well as non-starchy vegetables and fatty protein sources."