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    4 Breakfast Swaps For Weight Loss You Should Try

    Few things feel as luxurious as a gorgeous brunch at a bustling restaurant where mouth-watering options abound. But when you’re watching your waistline, a little bit of discernment and a touch of inside knowledge go a long way. So to keep your brunch plans minus the extra calories, we’ve rounded up these breakfast swaps for weight loss. You’ll be surprised to see which options deliver the taste and satisfaction.

    Swap eggs benedict for scrambled eggs

    We hate to break it to you but spinach with your eggs Benedict does not make it healthier. Hollandaise sauce, made with butter and egg yolks, bumps up the total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol content. Keep your helping of bacon moderate – it’s a sodium bomb and, depending on the type, can be fatty too.

    Ask for fresh tomato slices and you’ll score one of your veggie servings for the day without the extra grease. For added flavour and folate, ask for a topping of fresh basil leaves.

    READ MORE: Exactly How To Pick The Healthiest Muesli For Breakfast, Per Experts

    Instead of an English breakfast, try French toast

    A good old English fry-up has its place, but pass if you’re watching your waist. Two fried eggs, bacon, sausage and tomato can contain more than half your daily kilojoule needs and more than 25g of heart-harming saturated fat. Bacon and sausage up the sodium levels to around 2500mg – more than the health guideline of less than 2300mg (six grams of salt) daily.

    Research shows that too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure, increasing our risk of heart disease and stroke. French-style toast (at less than the calories) equals less sodium and only four grams of unhealthy fats. Ask for the golden syrup on the side and only add a trickle.

    READ MORE: Weight Loss Pills: We Delved Deep Into The Science To See If Any Actually Work

    Ditch croissants for a bran muffin

    Farewell for now, beloved buttery flaky delight! We’ll see you when we reach our goal weight. The croissant and cream cheese meal is hefty in heart-unhealthy fats (about 15g).

    Muffins contain a fair amount of fat and sugar, but the bran versions are usually lower in these and have more fibre than white-flour options. A standard bran muffin (about 60g) will give you roughly three to five grams of fibre. Go easy on the cheese and steer clear of those giant muffins.

    If you’re looking for omegas from salmon (in the croissant), rather get your omega-3 benefits from salmon at another meal. Grilled, steamed or as sashimi, accompanied with an unrefined carbohydrate and heaps of veggies. If you must have salmon at brunch, combine salmon ribbons with a poached egg on wholegrain bread, with fresh tomato slices and coriander leaves. Mission accomplished.

    READ MORE: How To *Actually* Lose Belly Fat With Diet And Exercise

    Sub your latte for a cappuccino

    A milky latte is delicious as a treat, but racks in more kilojoules than its cousin, the cappuccino, which is made with less milk. A short latte with low-fat milk comes in at around 720kJ; a cappuccino equals 350kJ.

    The best bet when sampling the fine javas from your favourite barista is to opt for skim milk – it makes a better froth, plus a cappuccino with skim comes in at around 200kJ in a small cup. More

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    “How I Went From Being A Party Girl To A Fitness Fanatic – And Lost 31kg”

    When it comes to a weight loss journey, breaking bad habits is not easy. But sometimes, having a bit of grit and loads of consistency can yield amazing results. This is how Liz Dumagude found her freedom and lost over 30kg.

    Liz’s Weight Loss Journey:

    What Led To Liz’s Weight Gain

    Elizabeth Dumagude, a “reformed party girl, ” loved eating and drinking. “I would go out every weekend and drink excessively, which led to me eating any and everything in sight,” she explains. “I would have a Steers Wacky Wednesday meal every Wednesday, multiple McDonald’s meals or pizza from Friday through Sunday, whilst mindlessly snacking on chips, chocolates and so on.”

    Eventually, her lifestyle caught up with her when she spotted a holiday picture of herself. She weighed 85kg and was unhappy. “I could hardly recognise the person I was looking at,” she notes.

    Things had come to a head: she felt uncomfortable in her body and was exhausted. “My clothes had tripled in size, and I kept eating my feelings,” she says. “I joined a gym the very next day.” 

    READ MORE: Here’s How Better With Balance Influencer Michaela Mallett Healed Her Relationship With Food

    How Liz Changed Her Life And Lost 31kg

    She’d found a small gym in Sunninghill and started attending their group fitness classes three times a week. “I would rotate between 45-minute high-intensity cardio classes, spinning and boxing,” she says. The biggest change? Elizabeth had stopped going out partying as much – which meant far fewer junk food excursions. 

    After some time, she decided to hire a personal trainer to really fine-tune her new nutrition. She’d also set herself a new goal: to venture into the weights section at the gym. (If this is your goal too, check out our beginner’s guide to weightlifting here).

    For breakfast, Elizabeth opted for oats, snacked on rice cakes and swapped out the burgers for stir-fried veg with rice. Her lifestyle had done a complete 180, too. “I swapped out all my sodas for sugar-free options, added sugar-free jelly, puddings and, sweets for my sweet tooth and opted for red wine or a gin and sugar-free tonic when I went out with friends,” she explains.

    READ MORE: How To *Actually* Lose Belly Fat With Diet And Exercise

    How Liz’s Transformation Changed Her Life

    Six years on, Liz has not only lost the weight (she now weighs 54kg), but has carved out muscle that enabled her to compete in fitness competitions. This year, she placed first as the 2023 IFBB SA Regional, National & Overall Wellness Champion.

    Mostly, she just feels so much better for it. “I am so much stronger and fitter; taking the stairs doesn’t feel like a chore anymore,” she says.

    “Now, I focus on how I look and feel, how my clothes fit and how I am progressing in the gym.”

    READ MORE: TikTok’s Viral 30-30-30 Challenge: Does It Work For Weight Loss?

    Liz’s Weight Loss Tips For Someone Starting Their Weight Loss Journey

    1. Be Patient

    “This is a weight-loss JOURNEY, you will make mistakes along the way, but keep going!”

    2. Eat In Moderation

    “You do not need to cut out any food groups to reach your goals.”

    3. Get Moving!

    “Find an activity that you love. You don’t need to be in the gym if that is not what you enjoy.” More

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    Does The ‘Watermelon Diet’ Work For Weight Loss? How It Works And If It’s Safe, According To Experts

    When you’re on a weight loss journey, it’s understandable to want to eat healthy foods that help you achieve your goals. If you want results fast, trends like the watermelon diet may sound particularly appealing. Watermelon has many health benefits, like possibly boosting your heart health and immunity, per a recent study. But what is the watermelon diet, exactly?

    It appears that the diet started trending after cheerleader Gabi Butler spoke about it on season two of the Netflix docu-series Cheer. On the show, she claimed that she ate only watermelon for three days and that it helped her “flush out anything sitting in [her] stomach.” After the three-day “cleanse,” she resumed her normal routine.

    Whether you heard about the watermelon diet on the show or perhaps saw it trending elsewhere online, you probably have questions. What does the fad diet involve? Does it work for weight loss? And more importantly, is it safe?

    Ahead, nutrition experts share the benefits and risks of the watermelon diet and whether or not it’s recommended for weight loss.

    Meet the experts: Keri Gans, RD, is a New York-based registered dietician and author of The Small Change Diet, a book about incorporating small changes and healthy habits to ensure a lifetime of good health. Samantha Cassetty, RD, is a New York-based registered dietician and co-author of Sugar Shock, a guidebook to reduce sugar intake and live a healthier life.

    What is the watermelon diet, exactly?

    The watermelon diet is a phenomenon that seemed to gain popularity in 2022 on social media and is not an official diet plan, says Samantha Cassetty, RD, a dietician and co-author of Sugar Shock. The origins of the diet are somewhat unknown and it appears there is no official “plan” to follow.

    However, it is often framed as a cleanse or “detox” in which users eat only watermelon for a set amount of time. Duration varies—some TikTokers eat watermelon consecutively for three days in a row, while others claim to have followed the routine for 30 days or more.

    Based on social media, it seems there are many ways to approach the watermelon diet. One TikTok user blended watermelon with lemon and fresh mint and consumed six bottles a day for seven days. Another user drank watermelon as juice for three days before returning to their regular diet and said they lost 1 kilogram in the process (they also called out how the diet gave them leg cramps, supposedly due to lack of nutrients).

    People are drawn to the watermelon diet’s detox-like effect, however, the idea that it cleanses your system, so to speak, isn’t necessarily accurate.

    “The idea is to clear toxins and kickstart weight loss without feeling too hungry, [but] you don’t need to consume a type of food to detox the body,” says Cassetty. “Your body is designed to eliminate toxins on [its] own—that’s what your kidney and liver do for you every day naturally,” she points out.

    Benefits Of The Watermelon Diet

    There is no scientific evidence to support a watermelon cleanse. That said, watermelon itself is a nutritious food packed with vitamins and antioxidants, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). It contains vitamin A, which can help your vision and immune system, per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine—along with vitamin C and vitamin B6, which have similar immune-boosting benefits. Watermelon also contains lycopene, which has been linked to decreases in heart disease and certain cancers, per the USDA. Additionally, the amino acids in watermelon may help reduce blood pressure and support exercise performance, according to a recent study.

    Watermelon is a low-calorie fruit that’s made of approximately 90 percent water, per the USDA—so if you’re trying to stay hydrated and achieve a calorie deficit, it might be a helpful snack for weight loss. Daily watermelon consumption may help reduce body weight and body mass index (BMI), per a study published in Nutrients, and eating it regularly may help you lose weight due to its low sodium, saturated fat and cholesterol, according to a recent study.

    Risks Of The Watermelon Diet

    Despite its benefits, the fruit-forward fad diet can come with harmful side effects. “Drastically reducing calorie intake may make you feel dizzy, lightheaded and nauseous,” Cassetty says. Eating tons of fruit can also overwhelm your GI system and potentially lead to gas, bloating and diarrhoea, she adds.

    “[The watermelon diet] is not suitable if you are pregnant, nursing, or if you have a health condition, eating disorder, or history of disordered eating,” Cassetty says. It’s also not recommended if you work out a lot since watermelon doesn’t contain enough fuel for activity and recovery, she adds. The diet also negatively impacts your ability to respond to hunger cues, enjoy nourishing meals and can hinder your ability to learn what a well-balanced meal actually is, Cassetty says.

    Ultimately, this is an extreme diet that experts recommend you avoid. “Any diet that aims to restrict sets the user up for ultimate failure,” says Keri Gans. The watermelon cleanse focuses on a “quick fix” rather than introducing sustainable healthy habits to kickstart weight loss, which in itself is problematic, she says.

    Does the watermelon diet work for weight loss?

    By only eating watermelon (which, again, is mostly water), you’ll likely see weight changes within a few days. However, the watermelon diet is a short-term solution and is not a sustainable weight loss practice. “You will [likely] lose water weight, but once you start eating other foods, all your weight will come back,” Gans says.

    The trend can seem appealing for folks on a weight loss journey since it feels attainable and lasts a short time compared to other diet plans, says Cassetty. “[It] seems more approachable than other fasting protocols because it is very clear cut,” she says. “When eating feels overwhelming, having a clear plan feels doable.” But by eliminating other foods and only focusing on one, you aren’t learning anything about healthy eating habits, Gans adds.

    The bottom line? Watermelon may work temporarily, but it shouldn’t be the only thing you’re consuming for weight loss. “Even though watermelon is a healthy food, it is not healthy to exist on watermelon alone—and that would be the same for any single food, whether it’s cake or kale,” Cassetty says. By only focusing on one item, you’re eliminating vital proteins and healthy fats, which are essential nutrients for the body, she says.

    How To Jumpstart A Weight Loss Journey Instead

    If weight loss is your main goal, there are healthier options out there than the watermelon diet, says Gans. Experts recommend shifting your mindset away from restricting foods and instead focusing on what you should include. “You can start by adding a fruit to your breakfast, then adding a vegetable to your lunch and dinner,” says Cassetty. This is especially helpful since most people don’t get enough fruits and veggies in general, she says.

    Although Cassetty and Gans do not recommend the watermelon diet, eating the popular fruit could help accelerate weight loss if combined with other balanced food groups. For example, eating watermelon as a snack may help you eliminate cravings in between meals or function as a dessert substitute to help you cut back on sugar, they say. Ultimately, integrating watermelon into your diet can help with weight loss, but shouldn’t be viewed as the end-all, be-all solution.

    This article by Lauren Dresner was originally published on More

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    TikTok’s Viral 30-30-30 Challenge: Does It Work For Weight Loss?

    Ah, another day, another viral TikTok challenge. This time, creators on the app are championing a novel approach to weight loss: the 30-30-30 challenge, which involves eating 30g of protein within 30 minutes of waking up, followed by 30 minutes of exercise.

    As with anything, there are merits and sticky points when it comes to the viral challenge. We spoke to the experts about the 30-30-30 challenge to see how it holds up against the tried-and-true weight loss approaches we know and (seem to) hate: consistent exercise paired with a varied, healthy diet.

    Meet the experts: Claire Julsing-Strydom is a registered dietician specialising in PCOS and weight loss at Nutritional Solutions. Martene Michael is a registered dietician at Nutri Dynamix and is currently completing a Master of Medical Science specialising in the impact of certain dietary patterns on the human body.

    So… What is the 30-30-30 challenge?

    Put simply, the 30-30-30 challenge involves three simple things. Wake up and within 30 minutes, eat 30g of protein. Then, do 30 minutes of steady-state cardio exercise. This exercise can be something very simple like bike riding or a walk. The aim is to keep your heart rate at around 135bmp (beats per minute) while being able to walk or read comfortably.

    This method was first seen in Timothy Ferriss’ book The 4-Hour Body but was made popular by biologist Gary Brecka on TikTok. The idea is that this forces the body to burn fat, as opposed to burning lean muscle (lean muscle burns fat at rest).

    READ MORE: What Is The 75 Hard Challenge—And Is It Safe? Trainers Break Down The Pros And Cons

    What does 30g of protein look like?

    While you’re welcome to eat a combination of carbs and fats with your meal, in order to reap the benefits of the 30-30-30 challenge, your protein must be at 30g.

    This looks like:

    Three scrambled eggs with cheese

    A protein powder shake

    High-protein bread or flapjacks

    1 cup of Greek yoghurt with berries and peanut butter

    A tofu scramble

    What does the 30 minutes of exercise look like?

    Since you’d need to keep your body at 135 bpm, stick to steady-state cardio. This could look like:


    Riding a bike


    Running slowly


    READ MORE: 3 High-Protein, Low-Carb Breakfast Recipes You’ll Actually Love To Eat

    What are the benefits of the 30-30-30 challenge?

    A high-protein breakfast is a win

    Experts agree that a filling breakfast is a slam dunk towards weight loss goals. “I think it’s a great idea to wake up, have decent protein for breakfast and then exercise,” says registered dietician Claire Julsing-Strydom. “As a dietician, I often see people do things like oats, but add no protein, or they have toast with avo, which is fat but no protein – and they find that their energy levels dip throughout the day, they get hungrier throughout the day. We know that protein does give us more satiety and it helps with glucose control, too.”

    Martene Michael, a registered dietician, agrees. “With intermittent fasting, eating breakfast has been a hot topic of debate for a while. This 30-30-30 trend brings back breakfast, and I am all for it,” she says. “Encouraging a nutrient-dense, high-protein breakfast may be helpful in improving satiety and in turn, helps to reduce the consumption of high calorie, nutrient-dense foods throughout the day. Research continues to find that eating a protein-rich breakfast may be useful in stabilising blood sugar levels, combats insulin resistance and assisting in long-term, sustained weight loss.”

    Pre-workout fuel is a great idea

    “We also know that exercising straight after a meal helps with glucose control so I think what we’re getting here is the better blood glucose control with the protein,” says Julsing-Strydom.

    We also know that fasted cardio might not be a great idea when it comes to fat loss. “In the popular TikTok video, Brecka discusses the dangers of working out in a fasted state,” notes Michael. “Exercising in a fasted state can lead to the depletion of glycogen reserves, which typically occurs around 20 minutes into a workout. Once glycogen stores are exhausted, the body may resort to breaking down lean muscle tissue to sustain energy levels. This process can compromise muscle integrity and hinder the overall effectiveness of the workout.” Added to that, says Michael, “Consuming protein before a workout can help to prevent muscle breakdown during exercise and can provide amino acids as a readily available energy source during exercise.”

    READ MORE: What Is Cozy Cardio On TikTok? Trainers Weigh In On The Comfy Workout Trend

    What should you watch out for while doing the 30-30-30 challenge?

    According to Michael, make sure that your pre-workout meal also contains some form of healthy carbohydrates.

    “Our brain and muscle’s primary fuel source is carbohydrates. Thus, rather than aiming to hit 30g of protein in a pre-workout meal, it would be advisable to aim to consume a balanced pre-workout meal, consisting of easily digestible carbohydrate and protein sources – such as a light protein shake, rice cakes with fat-free cottage cheese or a low fat/fat-free mini yoghurt with some berries, seeds or nuts,” she says.

    Not everyone can eat that early

    Per Julsing-Strydom, some women might find it difficult to eat a rounded meal within 30 minutes of waking. “If someone would struggle to get this amount of protein in the morning, we’d normally recommend a shake so overall I don’t think this is a bad thing,” she notes. If this is you, it’s not necessarily a bad thing to eat a bit later, says Julsing-Strydom. “I think we mustn’t get into rigid formulas like this – normally those are the ones that do well on social media for the new diet on the block,” she says.

    Steady-state cardio is great, but might not burn all the fat

    “While LISS cardio has its benefits, it is not a magical or exclusive method for fat burning. The perception of any exercise as a ‘fat-burning’ solution can be misleading, and it’s important to understand the broader context of weight management and body composition,” warns Michael. “LISS (low-impact steady state) cardio may be effective for certain individuals. However, for others who have a higher baseline fitness level, this type of exercise may prove to be ineffective. Thus the type of exercise recommended should be based on a personalised approach.”

    READ MORE: Here’s How To Make Weight Loss Goals That Will Actually Stick in 2024

    Overall, experts warn against being too rigid in your weight loss approach. The 30-30-30 challenge, while helpful and potentially healthy, does have a rigidity to it that might not work for everyone. “As with any trending diet, caution is advised, and consulting with a registered dietitian or healthcare professional can provide personalized guidance tailored to your specific needs and goals,” says Michael. “Ultimately, creating a sustainable and healthy lifestyle involves adopting practices that work best for your body to promote long-term health and well-being.” We couldn’t agree more!

    Michelle is the features editor at WH. She’s immensely curious about the world, passionate about health and wellness and enjoys a good surf when the waves are good. More

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    Weight Loss Pills: We Delved Deep Into The Science To See If Any Actually Work

    If you’re trying to lose weight, chances are you’ve thought about weight loss pills. They’re tantalisingly simple and easy to use: just pop a powerful supp and watch as the fat melts away, right?

    If only. Weight loss pills work if the fundamental principle of weight loss is in place: a caloric deficit. “A calorie deficit is necessary to lose weight,” says Megan Lee, a registered dietician at Gabi Meltzer Dietician. “This is established when the body is using more energy than it is taking in from food. Calorie deficits occur through behavioural changes like increasing energy expenditure through movement or decreasing total calorie intake through dietary modifications. They do not occur from simply ingesting the compounds found in diet pills.” But that doesn’t stop weight loss pills from creeping up and doing the rounds on TikTok, where people swear by its efficacy. The results are more likely from a healthy diet and plenty of movement which contributes to a caloric deficit.

    Nonetheless, we decided to closely investigate the plethora of weight loss pills around to see how they actually work. We chatted with experts and scrutinised the studies to bring you fact-checked information about each supp we could find online that’s popular. Without further ado, the weight loss pills and how they work.

    CLA Safflower

    What it is

    CLA stands for conjugated linoleic acid—a fat high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (a.k.a. the good kinds). Safflower is a plant that looks like a dandelion but isn’t. The oil extracted from it is produced by the seeds of the plant, which contains CLA.

    What it does

    Well… not much. According to one 2007 study, CLA supplements could increase fat oxidation (the process by which the body breaks down fats into smaller molecules so they can be used for energy). The study also found that CLA could burn energy during sleep. Sounds promising!

    Does it work?

    The bad news? The study involved less than 50 subjects, which is less than the required amount to really move the needle and conclusively say that this weight loss pill works. Added to that, safflower oil only contains a small amount of CLA—about 0.7 milligrams of CLA per gram of fat. More is probably needed to really induce the effects listed above.

    READ MORE: Can CLA Safflower Oil Supplements Really Help You Lose Weight?   

    Garcinia Cambogia

    What it is

    Ah, the fave weight loss supplement for aeons. This strange-sounding word is actually a fruit commonly grown in India and Southeast Asia. The rind contains a chemical (hydroxycitric acid or HCA) which is where the crux of weight loss claims stem from. It’s been studied for its appetite-suppressant effects, which is why so many weight loss pills contain the extract.

    What it does

    Per studies and reviews, the appetite suppressant effects are said to be what facilitates weight loss. Pretty clear, right – the less you eat, the less your caloric intake, meaning you’d be in a caloric deficit, leading to a slimmer figure.

    Does it work?

    Erm… kind of. The claims that garcinia cambogia works are down to very few robust randomised studies. Only five of these showed any amount of weight loss. In those studies, participants didn’t see the needle move much in the direction of weight loss. “While weight loss may have occurred in some of the studies, most showed no clinically significant reduction in body fat or body weight,” says Lee. “Dietary modification and physical activity remain the most suitable method to alter body composition in the general population.” Added to that, per one expert, your weight loss from taking the supplement is around half a kilo – hardly enough to write home about.

    READ MORE: Exactly What You Need To Know About Garcinia Cambogia Extract For Weight Loss


    What it is

    Made from the bark of an evergreen tree, called Pausinystalia yohimbe. The tree grows in West and Central Africa in lowland forests. From the bark comes yohimbe, and the supplement is used to treat erectile dysfunction as well as weight loss.  

    What it does

    Yohimbe is an alpha-2 adrenoceptor antagonist, meaning that it enhances the release of both serotonin (the happiness hormone) and norepinephrine (your fight-or-flight hormone). The alpha-2 adrenoceptor antagonist serves as the crux of where weight loss is thought to happen. Using the receptor, it’s thought that it could block receptors in fat cells which could theoretically result in weight loss. One study looked at 20 obese females who consumed a measly 1,000-calorie diet for three weeks while taking yohimbe. They lost more weight than those in the placebo group. It’s worth noting that the subjects took 5mg of yohimbe four times a day.

    Does it work?

    We’d need more robust studies to confirm if yohimbe works for weight loss or not. Other studies concluded that yohimbe had no significant impact on weight loss.


    What it is

    Berberine is a compound found in many plants, including barberry, goldenseal and goldthread. (Never heard of ‘em? Us neither. We move.) It’s been cultivated and used for over 3000 years in China and South Asia. The parts of the plant barberry have been used in different ways.

    What it does

    Now, the fun part. The possible health benefits come from how it affects enzymes in the bod. It’s been associated with lowering cholesterol, maintaining a healthy heart, controlling blood sugar, lowering blood pressure and helping with the symptoms of PCOS. When it comes to weight loss, it’s thought that the resulting fat loss might come from how it interacts with insulin and the hormones that keep fat cells in check. Per one study, it might increase brown adipose tissue (the good kind) and its activity, leading to potential fat loss.

    Does it work?

    According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, the jury is out on this one. Some studies find that it’s effective, while others say it’s not worth your moola. Plus, existing studies featured people with comorbidities like diabetes or fatty liver disease, so any resulting weight loss might be a result of berberine on these existing conditions. What we really need is concrete and reliable studies to link berberine to weight loss.

    READ MORE: Nature’s Ozempic: What Are The Benefits Of Berberine? 

    Psyllium husk

    What it is

    The brown powder, eschewed once for its texture, is making a strong comeback with claims that it could lead to weight loss. A soluble fibre, the husk is used in laxatives and treats high blood sugar, diarrhoea and high cholesterol. It absorbs water fiercely, making you feel fuller for longer.

    What it does

    It’s superpower appears to be that it boosts satiety, making you feel fuller for longer – a powerful technique in weight loss efforts.

    Does it work?

    Proponents claim that psyllium triggers receptors in your intestines, promoting fullness so you’re less likely to eat more. Cue caloric deficit note up top. While this is indeed the chief mechanism of Ozempic, psyllium husk does not work at all in the same way as the drug. Ozempic works in the brain; psyllium husk works in the gut temporarily.

    Scientific evidence is also mixed as to whether or not taking this supplement will result in weight loss. However, upping your fibre intake is a good idea, so use the husk to fill up, but watch that you don’t overdo it. If you’re taking medication, don’t take psyllium before your meds – these could interfere with your medication’s absorption.

    READ MORE: Is Psyllium Husk A Viable Alternative To Ozempic?  

    What it is

    You’ll know this one. It’s one of the most drunk teas in the world with powerful health benefits. Green tea is rich in antioxidants, promoting heart health, boosting the liver and brain and even helping skin glow.

    What it does

    It’s a mainstay in weight loss pills. The main idea: since green tea is rich in catechins and caffeine, these compounds are attributed to its weight loss properties. That’s because caffeine and catechins are known to regulate the hormones that assist in thermogenesis (a kind of fat-burning process). In short, thermogenesis is the process during which calories in your body are used to digest food and produce heat. It’s also thought that green tea suppresses appetite, leading to weight loss.  

    Does it work?

    In one 2005 study, people who took a mix of green tea extract, caffeine and guarana before every meal burned around 179 more calories 24 hours after. However, other studies found that green tea extract had no significant effects. Plus, having too much green tea extract could damage the liver, leading to liver failure. Be very careful with your brew.

    Apple cider vinegar

    What it is

    Apple cider vinegar, or ACV, as it’s called, is a vinegar made from crushed, fermented apples, yeast and sugar. Standard fermentation stuff. It’s used in food and in almost everything else, from curing UTIs to helping heartburn to bloatedness. So it’s natural that we turned to ACV for weight loss.

    What it does

    ACV has high levels of acetic acid. This acid has been shown to improve metabolism and can prevent fat deposition in mice. From there, various studies started rolling in that found ACV can deliver modest weight loss.

    Does it work?

    We’ll let Dr Robert H. Shmerling, Senior Faculty Editor at Harvard Health Publishing, say it for us. “In all, the scientific evidence that vinegar consumption (whether of the apple cider variety or not) is a reliable, long-term means of losing excess weight is not compelling.” However, ACV might prevent blood sugar spikes, making you feel better. That’s about it.

    READ MORE: What To Know Before Taking Apple Cider Vinegar Pills To Lose Weight

    What it is

    Green coffee beans are coffee beans that are not roasted. The active chemical in the raw bean, chlorogenic acid, is destroyed when one roasts the bean. It’s thought that this acid is what contributes to weight loss.

    What it does

    A natural antioxidant, it’s thought that chlorogenic acid keeps inflammation in the body at lower levels and could also lower blood pressure. The chemical may work by lowering blood sugar and blocking a fat build-up but studies are yet to validate this claim.

    Does it work?

    When it comes to weight loss, the research is murky. Some claim that when taking green coffee bean extract and a low-calorie diet, you’ll lose more weight than just being in a caloric deficit. But the amount of weight difference isn’t significant enough to support the claim. Plus, green coffee bean extract doesn’t come without its own side effects, ranging from headaches and upset stomachs to heightened anxiety. Use with caution.

    Sea moss

    What it is

    Sea moss, or Chondrus crispus, is a type of algae that grows in Atlantic oceans. It grows in different colours, from purple, white and green and each colour has its own set of benefits.

    What it does

    Sea moss has a long list of purported benefits that should be studied more thoroughly. They contain vitamins and minerals, are low in calories and are reportedly high in live bacteria that support the gut. Because it’s high in fibre, it might work for weight loss by keeping you fuller for longer, preventing you from overeating and leading to that all-important caloric deficit.

    Does it work?

    The research on sea moss is fledgling at best and more needs to be studied before experts can make a definitive link between weight loss and the ocean grub.

    READ MORE: Um, People Are Using Sea Moss For Weight Loss But Does It Work?

    All in all, while weight loss pills could yield results, they’re no replacement for the tried-and-true expert-approved weight loss methods. What that looks like? Regular exercise and a healthier diet. “Taking diet pills may have a small effect on weight loss, but they do not foster positive behavioural changes that ultimately lead to sustained weight maintenance, positive self-esteem or longevity,” says Lee. “Many of the beneficial components of weight loss pills can be taken in through an adequate and varied diet. Building on beneficial habits around food intake, movement and mental well-being is more likely to create a lifestyle that enhances overall health, longevity and acceptance of one’s self.” More

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    You Can Whip Up These High-Protein Bagels For Half The Calories Fast

    Picture this: it’s Wednesday, you’re in the throes of a work deadline and the clock hits 13:45. You haven’t eaten and your stomach hates you. You need to grab something nourishing, fast. Enter: these high-protein bagels, saviour of the stomach; goodness in a bite.

    These high-protein bagels pack a punch

    These high-protein bagels come from the mind of none other than WH Cover Star Angelique Daubermann. “You know I had to make my favourite food (bagels) with my other favourite food (cottage cheese),” Daubermann explains. “I love these for many reasons, but especially because most bagels you’ll find on the shelf are pushing 300 calories for those big bad boys! Now you can have a cute (lower cal) and higher protein bun with a hole in it for only 160 calories AND 11g of protein! This means more calories for your fave fillings!”

    For even more protein, this muscle-building sandwich features cottage cheese and an egg. Micronutrients are always key, so load up on the veg when compiling this high-protein bagel and you’ve got yourself a star meal.

    READ MORE: These Flax Energy Bites Will Keep You Fuelled Until Your Next Meal

    The Lean Girl’s High-Protein Bagels

    Whip these up in a flash and snack on something wholesome and protein-rich.

    Prep Time 15 minutes minsCook Time 20 minutes mins

    Course Breakfast, LunchCuisine American

    Calories 161 kcal

    120 g Flour (cake or oat)250 g Fat-free smooth cottage cheese1 tsp Salt1 tsp Baking powder1 tsp Garlic & herb spice1 Egg, for egg washEverything Bagel seasoning to garnish
    Combine your dry ingredients.Add the cottage cheese and spoon the mixture together to form a dough.Once dough is formed, divide into four sections.Roll out the four sections into circles, making a hole in each one to create the bagel.Bake the bagels in the oven for 15 minutes.Fry up an egg and add it to the bagel with avocado, cottage cheese and baby spinach.

    Keyword air fryer, bagels, egg muffin, high-protein

    READ MORE: This Beetroot Chocolate Cake Is So Moist It Doesn’t Even Need Icing More

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    You Won’t Believe These 6 Health Benefits Of Homemade Chocolate Cake

    When are peanut butter cookies and chocolate cake healthy? When you’re making them. Bust out a Bundt pan and cook up some perks…

    1. Less Stress

    Measuring out ingredients or kneading dough forces you to concentrate. These mindful moments calm the brain’s emotional centre – and direct blood flow to its impulse control hub. Which means you’ll feel more chilled overall.

    TRY RECIPE: This Beetroot Chocolate Cake Is So Moist It Doesn’t Even Need Icing

    2. Boosted Immunity

    Eeek, you’ve burnt the base! When it happens, focus on the upside: now you, too, can join the #PinterestFail sisterhood! Regularly flipping judge-y thoughts to more positive ones can lower stress hormone levels, which improves cell health and your body’s overall ability to fight off illness.

    3. Enhanced Cognition

    Any way you bake it, mixing up Grandma’s muesli rusks provides great brain benefits. Stringently following a recipe strengthens your procedural memory (a form of long-term recall that allows you to do something you haven’t done in years – you know, the “it’s like riding a bike” cliché). But going rogue – and say, holding the raisins and adding dried cranberries – flexes your smarts and gives your strategic reasoning skills a workout.

    READ MORE: 15 Wellness Journals To Kickstart Your Year

    4. A Healthier Heart

    Moving from counter to fridge and back does not = cardio for the day! But it does engage your muscles, which improves the way your body metabolises sugars and fats. Keep at it for two hours and you’ll net better blood-sugar levels – and, over time, significantly lower “bad” cholesterol. This, in turn, strengthens your ticker.

    5. A Longer Life

    Friends don’t let friends bake alone – at least not if they want to spend their golden years together. Batter-ing up with a loved one can build strong bonds that tack years onto your life. Sharing the fruit(cake)s of your labour is even better: generous acts lower inflammation levels, curbing your risk for chronic diseases like diabetes.

    READ MORE: Everything You Need To Know About Type 1 Diabetes

    6. A Slimmer Bod

    Isn’t it ironic? Indulging in homemade treats once a week buoys self-control, maintains a healthy-eating motivation (finally, a break from kale!) and prevents the “oh, what the hell” effect that leads to inhaling the whole tray. The key is planning the indulgence. Have one or two brownies warm out of the oven, then feed the rest to friends.

    Sources: Dr Nicole M. Avena, author of Why Diets Fail; Dr Elisha Goldstein, author of Uncovering Happiness; Dr Timothy De Waal Malefyt, Fordham University; Dr Emma Seppälä, Stanford University School Of Medicine. More

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    Chew Slowly, Don’t Skip Breakfast And Eat 30 Plants A Week: 15 Easy Food Changes For 2024

    It’s a new year, and before you rush to set your resolutions and decide 2024 will finally be the year you completely overhaul your diet and fitness (for good, this time), we’re here to remind you that making small, sustainable changes over time is often more effective than attempting drastic alterations (which, often, can’t be sustained).

    With stats showing that 92 percent of people fail to keep their New Year’s resolutions and 80 percent of us will have already failed by the second week of February, we’ve come up with a series of easy food changes – or micro changes, if you will – to help you make 2024 your healthiest yet. Because, if you can figure out how to make your goals easier, you’re more likely to succeed.

    These tiny tweaks are brought to you by a whole host of nutrition experts and doctors, who show that while there’s nothing wrong with aiming big, we can help ourselves by starting small.

    Easy food changes for 2024

    1. Build your meals with plants first

    At the risk of preaching to the choir (aka, WH readers), you don’t need us to tell you that to optimise your diet, you need to hit your five fruit and veg a day target. But how many of us actually do? According to the UK’s NHS, only 55.4% of adults aged 16 and over eat five or more portions of fruit and vegetables on the regular.

    An easy food change for 2024? Make sure you’re eating at least one plant with every meal.

    “Plants include whole grains, pulses, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices,” says Dr Federica Amati, nutrition topic lead at Imperial College School of Medicine.

    “It’s important that we get a variety of these in our diet to maximise our intake of nutrients, plant protein, polyphenols, and fibre, which support our gut microbiome and overall health and wellbeing.”

    READ MORE: 10 Health Benefits Of Pomegranate Seeds And Juice, According To Dietitians

    2. Aim to eat 30 different plants a week

    In fact, if your New Year’s resolution is to eat more veg, why stop at five-a-day, when many experts now believe that adding a variety of fruits and vegetables to our diet is just as important?

    Orla Stone, nutritionist and gut health specialist, says the best way to fight the January blues is by eating various plant fibre.

    “We now know that your gut bacteria need a variety of fibre to thrive so you can’t just rely on the same foods day in and day out,” she says.

    “Given how important healthy gut bacteria are for supporting your mood and mental wellbeing, try to eat 30 different plants per week. Easy ways to support this include adding frozen mixed vegetables or a can of mixed pulses to your regular dinner.”

    3. Try to eat more fermented foods

    With recent studies looking at how fermented foods can affect everything from our gut health and immune system to our cholesterol levels and risk of type 2 diabetes, fermented foods are back in vogue. And making this easy food change is so simple.

    “Eating three to five portions of fermented foods regularly is linked to improved health outcomes,” says Professor Tim Spector, co-founder of ZOE, the personalised nutrition company and author of Sunday Times best-selling Food for Life and Spoon Fed.

    “Different fermented foods contain different types and strains of beneficial bacteria, which contribute to a more diverse and healthy microbiome. Some examples include live yoghurt (unsweetened), kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha.”

    4. Don’t skip breakfast

    Breakfast is often cited as ‘the most important meal of the day’, and for good reason. Added to the list of easy food changes? Eat your breakfast.

    “Most people know that a good, hearty breakfast is important for managing your glucose levels and providing essential nutrients to set you up for an energised day. However, what is often overlooked are the psychological benefits of a healthy breakfast,” says Pilates teacher Sarah Emblow.

    “Breakfast seems to influence our metabolism more so than lunch or dinner, and so by starting your day with a nutritionally balanced breakfast, you are more likely to make healthy choices for the rest of the day, encouraging strong, and improved habits.

    “When that 3pm crash happens, your body is programmed to crave the type of food you ate first in the day, so if you had eggs and avocado for breakfast, you are going to crave something savoury later in the day when your body needs to refuel.”

    READ MORE: 12 Of The Best Vegan Protein Powders You Can Buy Right Now

    5. Add seeds to your breakfast

    One of the easiest food changes you can make for your gut is to add fibre-rich seeds to your breakfast each morning.

    Jessica Sepel, clinical nutritionist and founder of JSHealth Vitamins says her favourite way to do this is by prepping a batch of her mum’s famous seed mix.

    “Simply combine 1 cup of each of the following: chia seeds, sunflower seeds, ground flaxseed or LSA mix, pumpkin seeds, plus 2 tbsp cinnamon, which is then ready to go for the week,” she says. “I enjoy it most mornings with berries and Greek yoghurt. Delicious and satisfying. I also take it with me when I am travelling.”

    6. Focus on the quality and timing of your snacking

    Ever found yourself *accidentally* devouring an entire ‘family sized’ bag of chocolates or ‘to share’ bag of crisps simply because? That would be, er, all of us, then.

    Dr Sarah Berry, a reader in Nutritional Sciences at King’s College London and chief scientist at ZOE, says if there’s one thing you can focus on in 2024, it’s the quality – and timing – of your snacks.

    “The type of snacks you eat are really important for maintaining your energy levels, avoiding blood sugar dips and improving your health,” she says.

    “Try to eat good-quality snacks based on whole foods, such as nuts, whole fruit, and vegetable sticks with hummus. Avoid snacking late into the evening after 9pm, as our ZOE research has shown that this is linked with poorer cardiometabolic health.”

    7. Snack on nuts once per day

    And, actually, if you fancy a snack, Dr Sophie Medlin, consultant colorectal dietician, recommends reaching for nuts above all else.

    “Nuts contain micronutrients such as selenium, zinc and magnesium which are harder to find elsewhere in the diet,” she says.

    “They are also full of fibre and protein so are great for keeping you full between meals. I recommend to my patients to set an alarm for a 3-4pm snack, so they have something before they get too hungry and can’t resist the biscuits in the office.

    “Having an afternoon snack also helps you to make better decisions at your evening meal. So you’re more likely to prepare a balanced evening meal rather than reaching for food delivery apps,” she adds.

    READ MORE: How To Add More Vegetables To Your Diet, Even If You’re Busy

    8. Chew slowly

    “So many of us are fixated on which foods to include or exclude to support our health, and in return, we often overlook just how important the way we eat is for our health,” says Harley St. London-based nutritionist Clarissa Lenherr.

    “Digestion begins with our senses and in our mouth. When we miss this crucial stage of digestion – whether it is because we are shovelling in our food quickly between meetings, distracted by our phones, or eating whilst we work – we might be left with bloating and indigestion.”

    It takes 10-20 minutes for signals from our gut to tell our brain we are full and satiated, she adds. “So when we don’t focus on our food and eating habits, we can miss this signal and end up over-eating and feeling dissatisfied”.

    Brea Lofton, nutritionist and registered dietitian at Lumen, agrees. “Eating slowly and savouring your food instead of eating too quickly can help you recognize when you’re full and satisfied, and help prevent unintended overeating.”

    Some sources have suggested 32 bites per mouthful as a magic number, but this isn’t backed by science. So instead, Lenherr suggests simply putting your fork and knife down in between each bite. “This will help you slow down your eating,” she says. “Take a meeting with your food, dedicate 10 minutes to a meal to eat slowly.”

    9. Drink more water

    So we’re not exactly reinventing the wheel with this tip. But a survey from The State of Nutrition in South Africa 2021 suggests that 41 percent of South African people don’t drink enough water a day. The daily recommended amount? Six to eight glasses of H2O every day. So perhaps 2024 is the year you finally commit to drinking more water…

    “Try to limit sugary drinks and excessive consumption of caffeinated beverages, as these can contribute to dehydration,” says nutritionist Brea Lofton.

    And, remember, when your activity is higher, you are losing water through your sweat. “This means that on days your exercise sessions are more intense, it is a good idea to drink more water,” says Lofton.

    If you struggle to drink enough water, Meghan Foulsham, nutritionist, suggests adding a straw. “Switching to using a bottle with a built-in straw allows you to drink more water without thinking about it. We can take more liquid through a straw, as we don’t need to “gulp”, and it makes the drinking process more pleasant and smooth overall.”

    10. Choose wholemeal for a fibre boost

    The current recommended WHO guidelines say adults should eat 25g of fibre a day. Yet, according to one source, most women are only eating an average of about 16g a day.

    “Most people get 60% less fibre than they should,” says Dr Macarena Staudenmaier, chief medical officer at JERMS. “Fibre is crucial for a healthy diet. It prevents constipation but also diabetes, heart issues, and bowel cancer. Fibre is also a power food for the good bacteria in your gut.”

    Her top tip to up your fibre game? “Choose whole grain options like bulgur wheat, spelt bread, wholemeal pasta, or rye crackers over white versions.”

    READ MORE: Healthy Alternatives To Fried Chips

    11. Watch out for ultra-processed foods

    The terms ‘processed’ and ‘ultra-processed’ have been thrown around a lot over the past year. New research links diets high in ultra-processed foods to increased risks of obesity, Type 2 diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease and depression.

    To identify ultra-processed foods, nutritionists say it’s best to check the label. “For 2024, try to cut back on foods and beverages high in added sugars,” says Brea Lofton. “You can make a plan to learn to read food labels to help you identify hidden sources of sugar and make positive changes to your nutrition.”

    12. Avoid large gaps in between meals

    When it comes to eating a healthy diet, it’s not just what and how much you eat that plays a role. When you eat can make a difference, too. Especially if you’re trying to balance your blood sugar levels.

    Jodie Relf, registered dietician says that when we don’t eat for hours on end we end up feeling ravenous. From there, we’re more inclined to reach for larger portions of foods to satisfy that hunger. “Or foods that are high in sugar and energy to quickly satisfy our hunger. This can cause large spikes in blood glucose levels”.

    “Blood sugar crashes can leave you feeling tired, irritable, hungry and anxious,” she adds. “Eating regularly, including protein and healthy fats with your meals/snacks, and prioritising sleep and reducing stress can all contribute to maintaining balanced blood sugar levels.”

    13. Cook double for easy meal prep

    We’ve all experienced that sinking feeling after a long day at work. You’ve come home to an empty fridge and then ended up ordering a takeaway instead of going to the shops and cooking something healthy from scratch. The answer? Double up on portion sizes when cooking your dinner.

    “Save the leftovers for an easy lunch or a quick and healthy dinner option for evenings you’re more on the go,” says nutritionist Meghan Foulsham. “It doesn’t require any extra work, but it saves you time and likely money further down the line, as you don’t have to opt for convenience foods.”

    An easy 2024 goal? Allocate a couple of hours at the weekend or on a quiet evening to fill your fridge with delicious, healthy meals. This will help eliminate the temptation of a takeaway.

    14. Eat your kiwis

    When you think about boosting vitamin C, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Eating more oranges? Adding a supplement to your diet? What about kiwis?

    Kiwis are powerhouses when it comes to vitamin C – and new research, published in Foods, found that eating two kiwis a day for six weeks increased vitamin C intake by 150 mg per day.

    “Vitamin C is an essential vitamin to support proper immune function, and isn’t made or stored in our bodies,” explains Meleni Aldridge, nutrition consultant.

    “More importantly, it’s absorbed and used up 30-90 mins after ingestion. This means we need to replenish our levels regularly through the day with vitamin C-rich foods that don’t spike your blood sugar, supplements or functional drinks.”

    Other than kiwis, Aldridge suggests eating bioflavonoid-rich foods like peppers, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and spinach. These enhance the absorption of your vitamin C. “Bioflavonoids pack a super antioxidant punch too and are often called ‘vitamin P’ for their multiple health benefits,” she adds.

    15. Cycle sync your diet

    According to 2024 wellness trend forecasts, there’s going to be (finally) an increased conversation around the female cycle – with hormone-balancing foods at the forefront.

    “Eating essential fats from foods like olive oil, avocado, nuts, and oily fish is key for female hormone production, as essentially our hormones are made from cholesterol,” explains Rachel Butcher, head of nutrition at Third Space.

    “Likewise, carbohydrates are the main source of energy for our bodies and therefore not getting an adequate amount of carbohydrates because of a low- or no-carbohydrate diet will likely lead to fatigue, changes in mood and changes in your female sex hormones, which can disrupt your menstrual cycle.”

    Her tip for 2024? “Focus on getting good-quality, complex carbohydrates into your diet from foods such as rice, oats and potato, as well as beans and lentils,” says Butcher.

    But remember, some research highlights that our nutrient needs change across the cycle. “Becoming aware of your cycle, and the physiology at that point, will enable you to understand how you might adjust your nutrition accordingly,” she adds.

    This story was first published by Alice Barraclough on More