THURSDAY, Jan. 3, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Restrictive diets are hard to stick with, especially when you must eliminate most of your favorite foods.
Research has also found that cutting out a particular food can cause cravings and may lead to overindulgence — and weight regain — when you allow yourself to enjoy it again.
Since permanent weight loss really involves a forever approach, learning how to work in your favorites, especially sweets, is a must even during the weight-loss phase.
Penn State University researchers set out to test whether purposefully including a favorite snack in a diet could help people stick with their eating plan and achieve weight loss success. They conducted a small study in which all the participants followed a low-calorie, high-nutrient diet of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, non-fat milk and lean protein with a small number of daily calories going to a sweet treat.
After 18 weeks, both groups lost inches and pounds, with the chocolate group achieving slightly better results. The researchers also found that participants didn’t overindulge in their treats — they kept within the overall calorie-range of their diet — and that the snacks kept cravings under control.
To try this approach on your own, you must practice portion control. Make sure most of your intake is from nutrient-rich foods. And allot no more than 150 calories a day to your preferred snack — that’s about one ounce of dark chocolate.
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