Intelligence for Your Health

with Connie Sellecca

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Listen to Connie Sellecca as she speaks with doctors on a range of topics to help improve your health and well-being.

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Your Doctor's Top 4 Diet Tips

We share a lot of weight loss tips on the program. And here are some that food scientists and obesity researchers personally follow to keep from having to buy the next size up.

- First: They avoid high-fructose corn syrup. Neuroscientist Dr. Nicole Avena says that people gain weight faster when they consume corn syrup, compared to those who eat the equivalent amount of table sugar. It may seem odd, since corn syrup and sugar both contain fructose and glucose. But in sugar, the two molecules are bound together while in corn syrup, they're separate, which may make the fructose easier to store as fat.

- Another diet tip weight loss experts follow: They eat a protein-rich breakfast. Researchers at the University of Connecticut found that people who get the majority of their morning calories from protein feel fuller longer, consume fewer calories over the rest of the day and are less likely to crave late-night snacks, which makes it easier to stick to a healthy eating plan. A high-protein meal also increases metabolism, helping you burn more calories, even if you're sitting at a desk.

- The third diet tip food researchers use to stay slim: They stick to structured meal and snack times. Registered dietician Marissa Lippert says that erratic mealtimes slow down metabolism and cause us to crave processed carbs for an instant energy boost. Plus when it's time to eat, our bodies release the hunger hormone ghrelin, which is why we feel hungry at our normal meal times, even if we ate an hour ago.

- Finally: If you only make one change to your eating habits this month, here it is: Chew slowly and put down your fork between bites. Food scientist Kathleen Melanson says it works because eating more slowly gives your stomach time to send your brain "I'm full" signals. In fact, slower eaters can lose nearly two pounds a month, even if they don't change any other part of their diet.