At Home with Chris Jessen 2018 - 129
SHIFT A FEW POUNDS
IT TURNS OUT THAT THE BEST WAY
TO SLIM DOWN COULD BE TO EAT UP
ove muffins but not a fan of
your muffin top? Adore Chunky
KitKats but not keen on your
chunky thighs? What if we told
you that you could load up on
mouth-watering treats and still
lose weight? Sounds too good
to be true? Read on to find out more...
WORDS: KATHERINE BEBO, IMAGES: GETTY IMAGES
Research has discovered that cooled
pasta is less fattening than just-cooked
pasta, and reheated pasta is less fattening
still. Why? The structure of the pasta
changes - it is converted to 'resistant
starch', which the body can't break down
or absorb. The body treats this starch
more like fibre than a carbohydrate.
'Fibre helps with digestive function,
as well as balancing blood-sugar levels,'
explains Rick Hay, nutritional director at
So, you'll not only absorb fewer calories,
you won't experience the rise and fall
in blood glucose that occurs with
carbohydrates, which can make you feel
hungry again soon after you've eaten.
'With cooled pasta, you'll feel satisfied
and will have fewer cravings,' says Rick.
'The same is true for potatoes and
rice,' adds nutritionist Fiona Hunter
cold, they contain more resistant starch.'
She adds that if you prefer your pasta
hot, you shouldn't overcook it. 'Pasta al
dente has a lower glycaemic index (GI),
meaning it's absorbed more slowly, which
helps to avoid spikes in blood sugar.'
FIRST THINGS FIRST
Are you too busy searching for your
keys to bother with breakfast? If so, it
could be affecting your health. Rick says:
'Breakfast helps to boost the metabolism
and provides fuel for the day. If you skip
it, the body is running on empty.'
Fiona agrees: 'Breakfast is an
important meal because it often
provides key nutrients such as fibre and
calcium, and people who miss breakfast
don't tend to make up on these
nutrients during the rest of the day.'
Both nutritionists concur that those
who skip breakfast are more likely to
snack mid-morning, probably craving
something sweet for an energy boost.
Snacks are likely to be higher in calories
and less nutritious than a proper
breakfast. Research has shown that
skipping breakfast means you're 4.5
times more prone to obesity.
According to one study, dark chocolate
can aid weight loss efforts. Researchers
found that when people ate dark
chocolate two hours before a meal,
they consumed 17% fewer calories
than those who ate milk chocolate.
This is because dark chocolate
contains pure cocoa butter, which is a
source of digestion-slowing stearic acid.
Conversely, milk chocolate's cocoa
butter content has increased butterfat,
so passes more quickly through the
gastrointestinal tract. Because dark
chocolate takes longer to be processed,
it staves off hunger and aids weight loss.
'Slower digestion means steadier
blood-sugar levels and fewer cravings,'
TURN UP THE HEAT
Adding chilli to food can increase your
heart rate, and it's been estimated that
adding chilli to food can boost your
metabolism by up to 50% for up to
three hours after eating.
'Chilli is thermogenic and boosts
fat-burning,' explains Rick.
While Fiona contests 50% is an
overestimation, she agrees that spicy
foods boost the metabolism and also
that they can increase satiety, meaning
you'll feel full more quickly than if you
were eating non-spicy foods. One
particular study found that men who
were served a hot chilli sauce with their
starter went on to eat 200 fewer calories
during the next course compared with a
group who didn't eat the sauce.
Another study has shown that eating
cake or cookies for breakfast can
help weight loss. The study states that
eating treats first thing will curb your
cravings throughout the rest of the day.
'The body is more metabolically active
in the morning,' says Rick, who suggests
that it's a good idea to use the energy
from sweet foods to move more. 'If you
are having a sweet morning, follow it
up with some exercise.'
FAT IS YOUR FRIEND
If you want to lose weight, you need to
avoid fat, right? Wrong! 'No food group
should be avoided,' states Rick. 'Healthy
fats help with weight management.'
Unsaturated fat, or 'good fat', comes
from avocados, fish, nuts, seeds, olive oil
and leafy vegetables. It encourages a
healthy heart and can help keep you
stay trim by boosting metabolic health,
keeping you fuller for longer and
'Fat is essential in the diet for a
number of reasons,' says Fiona. 'One
being the absorption of essential fatty
acids and fat-soluble vitamins.' She
explains that we would absorb more
nutrients from a salad that was served
with a dressing than from one without.
'Fat also assists with the digestive
process and cognitive function, and can
even help to improve mood and reduce
anxiety,' continues Rick.
Indeed, research has shown that
fatty acids can boost serotonin levels
in the brain, improving attitude and
increasing motivation. If that wasn't
enough, 'fat also helps with skin, hair
and nail health,' Rick concludes.
www.athomemagazine.co.uk FEBRUARY 2018 | 129