Recent research suggests that there are foods we can eat more of that help fill us up, but also help us to eat fewer calories.
Written by: Linzay Logan
Endurance athletes are often concerned about their weight. Racing even a few pounds above ideal race weight can feel like carrying around a ton of bricks. Cutting calories and therefore eating less is the only sure fast way to lose weight. The simple equation is eat less than you burn and weight loss will result. But this is easier said than done. It usually ends with hunger and splurges on calorie-laden foods in order to feel full.
However, recent research suggests that there are foods we can eat more of that help fill us up, but also help us to eat fewer calories, leading to increased weight loss as reported by the NY Times. Puréeing vegetables and cayenne pepper are the tricks. Puréeing veggies and adding them to homemade dishes is the easiest way to add bulk to your meal without adding excess calories due to their low calorie count. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition conducted a study where participants ate casseroles with added puréed veggies until they felt satisfied. Overall, participants ate 200 to 350 calories less than when they ate casserole without the purée and reported no change in flavor enjoyment.
Another study conducted by the journal Physiology and Behavior found that adding cayenne pepper to dishes can help people eat fewer calories. In the study half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper was added to the participants’ food and it resulted in them eating 60 fewer calories at the following meal.
Adding cayenne pepper to dishes is a simple way to shave a few calories out of your daily intake and can lead up to a significant amount over the long run. Try adding cayenne pepper to soup, as a meat rub or a seasoning over a salad.
Puréeing vegetables is a little more work but reducing calorie intake by 200 to 350 calories is a significant and can be beneficial for those trying to maintain weight or lose weight. Carrots, spinach, cauliflower, beets, broccoli and sweet potatoes are excellent and easy veggies to purée. Always add water first to your blender or food processor before adding your veggies and blend away. Add purred veggies to casseroles, lasagna, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, taco meat, deviled eggs and even desserts such as cakes and brownies.
Experiment with cooking veggies before puréeing for creamier purées. However, it is important to note that many veggies lose much of their nutrients when cooked; cook veggies less to preserve their nutrient count and allow them to cool before puréeing.