Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Pistachio Principle

"Imagine the possibilities," Eastern Illinois University professor and researcher Dr. James Painter proposes "if the restriction and deprivation were removed from the 'diet' picture...." Research conducted on pistachios, of all things, will yield a new approach to weight loss if Dr. Painter (also a registered dietitian) has a say. His suggestion is for people to focus on changing their environment and behavior rather than restricting their food intake to lose weight, based on recent research using pistachios to study food cues.

Subjects in one study were given the choice of eating pistachios they had to shell, or eating those that were already shelled. Participants were allowed to eat until they were satisfied, and those in the group who took the time to remove their own shells ate 50% fewer calories than the others.
In another study two groups both ate nuts with shells; but in group A the shells were left out on the table. Group B had their shells--evidence of how much they had eaten--whisked away. The results: Group A consumed 35% fewer calories.
In both these studies people ate all they wanted, and were no longer hungry. So it appears your mind can convince you that you are full not just based on what you ate or how much, but on how much you see you have eaten, or how much time you spend eating.

Here are a few ways you can change your environment at home to get your mind off counting calories, and just letting it naturally signal you when you've had enough:

1) Keep high-calorie easy-to-munch foods out of sight: shelled nuts, chips, cookies and candy can go down too easily--you keep eating them because they taste good and they're convenient. Why would being full make you stop?

2) Take some time and energy to prepare your food: Instead of purchasing pre-made, pre-packaged and ready-to-eat varieties, put some more effort into making your own--we're talking sandwiches, cut-up fruit and vegetables... Come on, burn some calories when you eat!

3) Put your food on a plate--no more eating out of the box or bag: This will help you visualize how much you are going to eat. You can always go back for more. Eating out of the bag gives you no visual cue and, again--it tastes good so what will stop you? If you have a handful on your plate and the bag is put back in the pantry, you'll run out before you've eaten the entire bag.

4) Stop when you are no longer hungry: Pause and take a mini-inventory every so often. Are you hungry? Are you paying attention to enjoying what you are eating (or mindlessly munching down while watching TV?)

You don't have to eat until you are full. When you aren't hungry, stop. Figure out something else that can satisfy you instead of ingesting hundreds more calories.
Apply the Pistachio Principle to your eating habits for six weeks and see how you find this new approach working for you! Please leave your comments here to let us know what's working for you :)

1 comment:

Ravi said...

Hi I am Ravi & I am from India.
The points mentioned in this article are followed by Indian in their daily routine. But still it is difficult to cut down the calories.