10 Skinny Secrets From Around The World

Flax seed in a measuring spoon

(BlackDoctor.org) – Are you an American diet pro? The kind who’s dabbled with pills, shakes, or who’s tried grapefruit, cabbage, and lemonade diets? Think you’ve tried every diet under the sun? Well, we’re about to take you on a virtual trip around the world to learn about the best diets tips from other cultures.

Try incorporating some of these international weight loss approaches into your own regimen.

1. Sip Some South African Rooibos Tea

Enjoyed throughout the country, rooibos tea is more robust than green tea, and because it’s naturally sweet, it needs no sugar. Ditching your daily Frappuccino for a cup of rooibos-Starbucks now sells it-could save you thousands of calories per month. ‘Tea-drinking cultures generally have lower rates of obesity,’ says Dr. Pescatore. ‘That may be from special compounds, such as catechins, that certain teas contain, or it may simply be that we often think we’re hungry when we’re really dehydrated.’

2. In Thailand They Spice It Up

Thai food is among the spiciest in the world. Hot peppers raise your metabolism, but the real benefit of food with a little zing is that it slows your eating, says James Hill, PhD, past president of the American Society for Nutrition. ‘Americans eat too fast,’ he says. ‘By the time your body signals that it’s full, you’ve overeaten. Eating slower is a good weight-loss strategy, and making food spicier is an easy way to do it.’

3. Rice & Beans By Brazil

All that shaking at Carnaval isn’t the only body-friendly habit in Rio; Brazilians stay slim by enjoying this traditional dish with just about every meal, says Sérgio Charlab, editor of Reader’s Digest Brazil. A study in the journal Obesity Research found that a diet consisting primarily of rice and beans lowers the risk of becoming overweight by about 14 percent when compared with typical Western fare. That’s because it’s lower in fat and higher in fiber, which is thought to stabilize blood sugar levels. It may sound counter-intuitive, but a diet full of beans equals a beach-ready body.

4. The Indonesian Fast

Islam, this country’s leading religion, encourages periodic fasting-no food or drink from dawn to dusk. Others in Indonesia practice mutih, which allows only water and white rice. Although experts don’t recommend fasting for weight control, fasting in moderation can break patterns of mindless eating, says Hill, of the American Society for Nutrition. ‘Most Americans never get hungry,’ he points out. ‘We’ve eaten the next meal before we’ve entirely digested the last one.’ No need for strict abstinence to get these psychological benefits-try just cutting your calories in half for a day.

5. Eat-At-Home Poles

Poles typically spend only 5 percent of their family budget on eating out. According to U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics, the average American family spends 37 percent of its food dollars at restaurants and fast-food joints. To save money and pounds, start tracking how often you eat out and how much you spend each month, and gradually cut back. ‘People who don’t cook at home tend to eat less healthy food and be heavier than people who do,’ says journalist and activist Michael Pollan. ‘In fact, the collapse of cooking in a society tracks very closely its rise in obesity.’

6. Germans Never Skip Breakfast

An impressive 75 percent of Germans eat breakfast daily (compared with just 44 percent of Americans). They’re not grabbing Egg McMuffins either; they’re sitting down to fruit and whole-grain cereals and breads. Nutritionists have been advising people not to skip breakfast for years, but recent studies give a better picture of its importance. In one, British researchers discovered that if you haven’t eaten breakfast, your brain’s reward center will light up more vividly when you see a high-calorie food-making you more likely to indulge. Finally: a scientific explanation for that irresistible urge to pull into Dunkin’ Donuts.

7. Get Your Japanese Power Nap On

In this on-the-go country, many people take time for a daily 20- to 30-minute nap, says James Maas, PhD, a sleep researcher at Cornell University and the author of Power Sleep. There’s increasing evidence that chronic sleep deprivation raises the risk of weight gain. Maas blames two hormones: leptin, which helps the brain sense when you’re full, and ghrelin, which triggers hunger. The less sleep you get, the lower your leptin levels-and the higher your ghrelin. ‘Many people think they’re hungry when they’re actually sleepy,’ Maas says. ‘Instead of a snack, they need some shut-eye.’

8. Swap The Gas Pedal For The Bike Pedal In The Netherlands

Bikes (18 million) outnumber people (16.5 million) in the Netherlands. But unlike Americans-most of whose two-wheelers languish in basements and garages-54 percent of Dutch bike owners use them for daily activities, such as shopping and traveling to work. The average Dutchman pedals 541 miles per year. Traffic lights in parts of Amsterdam are even synchronized to bike speed. Bike-to-Work Day in the United States is Friday, May 21-try using your bike to commute that day or just for errands close to home. If you’re of average size and pedaling at a moderate pace, you can burn around 550 calories per hour.

9. Turmeric Craze

This spice, a key ingredient in curries, grows wild in Malaysian jungles. One of its chief components is a substance called curcumin, which may turn out to be a potent fat fighter. A recent Tufts University study found that mice fed a high-fat diet with small amounts of curcumin gained less weight than did other mice given similar but curcumin-free meals. Researchers think the ingredient suppresses the growth of fat tissue and increases fat-burning. Try some in your next stir-fry.

10. A Big ol’ Mexican Lunch

Instead of ingesting the bulk of the day’s calories in the evening, as most Americans do, Mexicans traditionally eat their biggest meal between 2 and 4 p.m. If you eat less at night, you’ll wake up hungrier and eat a bigger breakfast, which facilitates weight control. As a general fat-fighting rule, try to get the bulk of your daily calories at breakfast and lunch.

11. French Talk

The French excel at the leisurely family meal. On average, 92 percent of French families dine together nightly, compared with 28 percent of American families. ‘For the French, eating is the event of the day,’ says Fred Pescatore, MD, president of the International & American Associations of Clinical Nutritionists. ‘For us, it’s something we do before heading out to do something else.’ Lengthy meals actually encourage less eating, Dr.Pescatore says: Conversation slows down the fork and gives you time to realize you’re full.

12. Norwegian Sundays

It’s a deeply rooted Norwegian habit: On Sunday, everyone from toddlers to grandparents heads out to hike (in summer) or cross-country ski (in winter). Compare that with the typical American household, where the only Sunday expedition is from the fridge to the football game on TV. Start a Nordic tradition in your house. At halftime, shoo everyone outdoors for a walk around the neighborhood.

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