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Five Simple Swaps to Cut Calories From Your Diet

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One of the reasons why so many diets fail is that they require too much of a drastic change to your lifestyle and eating habits from day one. It’s practically a law of nature that the more quickly the diet promises to work, the more intense and uncomfortable it’ll be, too.

So where does that leave you if you want to cut calories and lose weight without signing up for five square meals a day of boiled kale and wheatgrass juice?

Well, here are five simple no-hassle ways that you can swap-out items from your normal diet for lower calorie alternatives.

 

Have your coffee black

Coffee might seem like a harmless way to kick-start your morning, and it certainly can be – as long as you have it plain and black. It’s a sad fact of life that the more artisanal and elegant your coffee is, the more calories it will contain.

Look at it this way: black coffee has zero calories. 100ml of heavy cream has around 350. 10g of marshmallow has about 32.

 

Go for diet versions of your favourite soft drinks

Soft drinks are some of the highest calorie foodstuffs you’re likely to come across and those calories are offered up in just about the worst possible form- namely, high fructose corn syrup. This has repeatedly been linked with obesity[1], diabetes[2] and a whole host of other negative health conditions.

As luck would have it, most of the leading soft drink manufacturers include reduced or zero sugar and calorie versions of their flagship drinks. The taste may not always be an exact match for the “real thing” but odds are you won’t even notice after the first couple of tries.

 

Buy semi-skimmed or skimmed milk rather than whole fat

Milk tends to play a pretty big part in most of our lives, even if it’s only limited to breakfast and the occasional cuppa. What you might not always realise, though, is that 100ml of whole milk contains around 60 calories.

Skimmed milk, on the other hand, contains around 30 calories per 100ml.

If that still sounds like too many calories to you, why not try ultra-low-calorie almond milk which contains a minuscule 17 calories per 100ml.

 

Swap milk chocolate for dark chocolate

Milk chocolate is a pretty terrible snack for a bunch of different reasons, not least of all its high sugar content and the likelihood of it being mixed with other sugar-dense ingredients such as caramel, cream, etc.

While dark chocolate actually has more calories than standard milk chocolate, it has about half the sugar plus a whole bunch of healthy nutrients which the milky variety is lacking. Dark chocolate, for instance, has 4 times the fibre and almost 5 times the iron of milk chocolate.[3]

But perhaps the most compelling reason to switch out your milk chocolate for dark chocolate is that dark chocolate has a much higher cocoa content, a substance which might actually help with weight loss, according to science. [4]

 

Go for grass-fed instead of grain-fed steak

When is a steak not just a steak? Well, when one of those steaks is made from grain-fed beef and the other is made from grass-fed beef, of course. Most cattle today are fed on a diet of grains, but this doesn’t do a great job of replicating their “natural food”, which is grass.

A little-known fact is that grass fed beef contains significantly fewer calories than grain fed, while also being significantly richer in a variety of nutrients such as Omega 3 fatty acids[5].

 

[1] http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/79/4/537.full

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23181629

[3] http://www.prevention.com/content/which-healthier-dark-chocolate-vs-milk-chocolate

[4] http://melaniestefan.net/Bohannon.pdf

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2846864/

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