The Science of Weight Loss, Part Four: MORE Weight-Loss Protips

The Science of Weight-Loss

a PHMP Health Article Series

Welcome to the conclusion of our four-part series about scientifically-supported weight-loss methods.
In Part Four, we’re wrapping up our list of the top weight-loss protips. (In case you missed it, check out the complete Science of Weight-Loss series.)

The weight loss industry is full of myths.

People are often advised to do all sorts of crazy things, most of which have no evidence behind them. However, over the years, scientists have found a number of strategies that seem to be effective.

Here is Part 4 — the final part! — in the PHMP’s series The Science of Weight-Loss.

13 Eat Spicy Foods

Chili peppers contain capsaicin, a spicy compound that can boost metabolism and reduce your appetite slightly.

However, people may develop tolerance to the effects of capsaicin over time, which may limit its long-term effectiveness.

There are many health benefits to spicy foods — check out our aptly-titled entry, The Benefits of Spicy Foods!

14 Do Aerobic Exercise

Doing aerobic exercise (cardio) is an excellent way to burn calories and improve your physical and mental health.

It appears to be particularly effective for losing belly fat, the unhealthy fat that tends to build up around your organs and cause metabolic disease.

For more information on planning and executing exercise routines, check out the PHMP’s Exercise archive.

15 Lift Weights

One of the worst side effects of dieting is that it tends to cause muscle loss and metabolic slowdown, often referred to as starvation mode.

The best way to prevent this is to do some sort of resistance exercise such as lifting weights. Studies show that weight lifting can help keep your metabolism high and prevent you from losing precious muscle mass.

It’s important not just to lose fat — you also want to build muscle. Resistance exercise is critical for a toned body.

16 Eat More Fiber

Fiber is often recommended for weight loss.

Although the evidence is mixed, some studies show that fiber (especially viscous fiber) can increase satiety and help you control your weight over the long term.

Read more about “good” fiber here.

17 Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables contain few calories but a lot of fiber, which make them especially effective for weight loss.

Studies show that people who eat vegetables and fruits tend to weigh less. These foods are also very nutritious, so eating them is important for your health.

The high water content in fruits and vegetables gives them low energy density, making them very filling.

18 Get Good Sleep

Sleep is highly underrated but may be just as important as eating healthy and exercising.

Studies show that poor sleep is one of the strongest risk factors for obesity, as it’s linked to an 89% increased risk of obesity in children and 55% in adults (47).

(We have published numerous helpful articles about sleep and how to do it right, including how to choose the best mattress AND THAT. For a full collection, check out our Sleep archive.)

19 Beat Your Food Addiction

A recent study found that 19.9% of people in North America and Europe fulfill the criteria for food addiction.

If you experience overpowering cravings and can’t seem to curb your eating no matter how hard you try, you may suffer from addiction.

Trying to lose weight without first combating food addiction is next to impossible. If you are experiencing food addiction, it is wise to seek professional help.

20 Eat More Protein

Protein is the single most important nutrient for losing weight.

Eating a high-protein diet has been shown to boost metabolism by 80–100 calories per day while shaving 441 calories per day off your diet.

One study also showed that eating 25% of your daily calories as protein reduced obsessive thoughts about food by 60% while cutting desire for late-night snacking in half.

Simply adding protein to your diet is one of the easiest and most effective ways to lose weight.

21 Supplement With Whey Protein

If you struggle to get enough protein in your diet, taking a supplement — such as protein powder — can help.

One study showed that replacing some of your calories with whey protein can cause weight loss of about 8 pounds over time while increasing muscle mass (53).

Whey protein is available at most health stores and online.

22 Don’t Do Sugary Drinks, Including Soda and Fruit Juice

Sugar is bad, but sugar in liquid form is even worse. Studies show that calories from liquid sugar may be the single most fattening aspect of the modern diet.

For example, one study showed that sugar-sweetened beverages are linked to a 60% increased risk of obesity in children for each daily serving (55).

Keep in mind that this applies to fruit juice as well, which contains a similar amount of sugar as a soft drink like Coke.

Eat whole fruit, but limit or avoid fruit juice altogether.

23 Eat Whole, Single-Ingredient Foods (Real Food)

If you want to be a leaner, healthier person, then one of the best things you can do for yourself is to eat whole, single-ingredient foods.

These foods are naturally filling, and it’s very difficult to gain weight if the majority of your diet is based on them.

24 Don’t Diet — Eat Healthy Instead

One of the biggest problems with diets is that they rarely work in the long term.

If anything, people who diet tend to gain more weight over time, and studies show that dieting is a consistent predictor of future weight gain.

Instead of going on a diet, aim to become a healthier, happier and fitter person. Focus on nourishing your body instead of depriving it. Weight loss should then follow naturally.

25 Chew More Slowly

Your brain may take a while to register that you’ve had enough to eat. Some studies show that chewing more slowly can help you eat fewer calories and increase the production of hormones linked to weight loss.

Also consider chewing your food more thoroughly. Studies show that increased chewing may reduce calorie intake at a meal.

These practices are a component of mindful eating, which aims to help you slow down your food intake and pay attention to each bite.

For more on mindful eating, check out No. 4 on our list of 20 Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain.

The bottom line

Numerous techniques can aid your weight loss goals.

Some of the above tips are purely dietary, involving eating more protein or cutting back on added sugar.

Others — such as improving sleep quality or adding a workout routine — are more lifestyle-based. For example, chewing more slowly is one step you can take to institute mindful eating.

If you implement a handful of these tips, you’ll be well on your way to your weight loss goals.

We hope you enjoyed our series The Science of Weight-Loss!

  • Rachel
    Posted at 08:02h, 22 February


  • Renee+Wortham
    Posted at 06:24h, 22 February

    Thank you this is great

  • Shari Jarrett
    Posted at 23:05h, 21 February


  • William Lloyd Brubaker
    Posted at 15:42h, 21 February

    Will chew slowly.

  • Aurora+beaudreau
    Posted at 14:48h, 20 February

    Thank you

  • Carl John Olson
    Posted at 12:41h, 20 February

    Thank you

  • Rodilla+Bienias
    Posted at 22:36h, 19 February

    Great info

  • Debbie+Jordan
    Posted at 14:02h, 19 February

    Loved this article – I am sharing with my water aerobics class.

  • Marie Storrow
    Posted at 10:51h, 19 February


  • Matthew Cottrell
    Posted at 08:51h, 19 February

    Excellent series!

  • Ria R.
    Posted at 08:14h, 19 February

    Thank you for the info

  • Therese Seghers
    Posted at 13:09h, 18 February

    Many thanks!

  • Therese Seghers
    Posted at 13:08h, 18 February

    Good info, especially about sugary drinks

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