This is just a simple pre-workout drink that I’ve been experimenting with that definitely increases my fat burning after cardio workouts. When I exercises on an empty stomach in the mornings I can really tell how much fat I have burned, just by looking at my belly an hour afterwards, or using my trusty skin calipers. I find electronic body fat percentage meters to not really be accurate and if I drink a lot of water during my workouts the results vary by a lot, because electrolyte balance affects how they work.
By observation, I have found that this drink increases my fat burning about 3 times. This is based on skin caliper tests after long workouts on an empty stomach, the “warm” feeling after a workout lasting longer, and just plain old weighing myself on a scale. This drink was not my discovery, I found it in a very interesting weight-loss program, designed to achieve maximum weight loss by using simple tweaks and rituals like that, and as every reader of this blog knows, those kinds of things just make my ears perk up.
I have a few more interesting ideas like this one to test, so stay tuned 🙂
The drink is really simple, it’s strong green tea mixed with two tablespoons of vinegar. In fact, I wish it were more complex and weird so that people would go “Wow, what a unique recipe, this must really work”, but sorry, that’s really it. Simple, but in my experience, effective. Yes, it’s not the best tasting drink on the planet, but it works and anyone can try it, provided they already have those two ingredients lying around their house.
Why vinegar and not lemon juice? Although lemon juice is a classic additive to green tea, which unlike the vinegar makes it taste better and not worse, there are certain properties that make vinegar the additive of choice here. Some people claim it’s the acetic acid, others that it’s the malic acid, which has been shown to shift energy metabolism from carbohydrates to stored body fats in studies and therefore reduce total food intake(1). In the end, we don’t really know why it works, it just does.
How does it work?
We know very well why green tea and vinegar both work separately for weight loss. They both make your body burn more fat and less carbohydrates. Normally, to start burning body fat, you would need to deplete your carbohydrate stores somewhat first, by burning about 600 calories. This is not a trivial amount, and not a lot of people who want to lose weight have the endurance to exercise that long. However, this simple drink enables you to immediately start ‘tapping’ into the fat stores. Supposedly, it’s the combination of green tea’s fat burning effect, combined with vinegar’s ability to slightly reduce the metabolism of glucose and enable you to start burning stored fat, before the carbohydrate stores in your blood and liver are depleted.
Vinegar reduces carbohydrate metabolism and speeds up fat metabolism (2)
Vinegar stops fat from being accumulated in the liver, enabling it to be burned off more readily(3)
Green tea has been shown to prevent fat accumulation and speed up fat metabolism(5)
Green tea increases fat metabolism by 3-8% when taken alone(4)
Green tea is often used as a fat-loss aid and so is vinegar, but I didn’t find any studies testing the effects of those when taken immediately before a workout.
Just try it
It’s a simple trick that anyone can try, so try it and make sure to report back your results 🙂 I’ll soon be making more tests and posting fat-burning results with and without the drink.
We have all seen plenty of articles on various magazines and websites about foods that we should avoid at all cost if we are trying to lose weight. Supposedly, just excluding certain foods from our diets can have a big impact and can make us lose weight. But does that work in practice? Well, it depends. It’s the food that you eat that count – not the ones you are not eating. In other words, when you exclude a certain food from your menu, are you adding another one in it’s place to make up for the lost calories?
As you will see in a minute, you can replace all the foods in your diet with different ones, and despite your daily caloric intake being the same, the difference in your body composition can be drastic.
We can go deep on this and make our diets very complicated, including things like MCT oil (which promotes weight loss) and kale shakes. But what if we can keep our diets very simple and consisting of common products we can buy everywhere and still be able to lose a ton of weight? Well, that is just what I tried to do in the last 11 weeks – and you are about to learn all about it.
My experience with a simple diet – replacing my usual foods with different ones, while keeping the calories the same
But wait, why would I want to keep my calories the same? Shouldn’t I reduce them for even faster weight loss? Well, remember that this is an experiment to determine if losing weight is possible just by changing the source of my calories. I also did a few fat-burning tricks, like the beta switch advises.
My start: 143 lbs.
I know, that’s not a lot of weight.. However, the timing was perfect: I had just spend a few weeks on vacation and had gained about 4 pounds of fat, which is not a little. Looking at myself in the mirror, in my underwear the extra fat was very noticeable. Now, let’s see if I can get rid of it just by changing my diet. To make things even more interesting, I will NOT be dong my usual cardio every morning. So, if I manage to lose the weight, the results must most definitely be from the different foods I am eating and nothing else!
Okay, here is a quick explanation of the changes I made:
Breakfast: From Cereal + Milk to Milk + Almonds and Fruit
Lunch: From a Sandwich to..again..Nuts (I switched them around)
Dinner: From Rice + Meat to More meat and some vegetables.
Do you notice anything specific about the changes I am making? If you are used to reading nutrition labels on products or have been interested in calories/nutrition for some time it should be quite obvious – the diets has shifted to a more Atkins, low-carb style and includes more protein, especially for breakfast.
What is the reason behind increasing protein and lowering the carbs? Well, there are a few reasons – a high-carb diet is not very natural for your body and carbohydrates are most readily converted to subcutaneous and belly fat – eating a lot of fruit during the autumn will build up a nice layer of fat over your tummy and get you ready for the long winter, when food will be scarce. Unfortunately, today that logic doesn’t apply – there are supermarkets on every street and even during the winter people keep consuming delicious sweets. In fact, consumption of sweets increases during the winter, probably because of the slight depression that comes with the cold and dark weather.
The body also cannot store much glucose and is forced to put the excess sugar somewhere – usually storing it as fat.
Anyway, I won’t bore you with fat metabolism or try to convince you to go low-carb – I am just sharing the reasoning behind my diet.
What were the results I got? I am glad you asked! After the 8 weeks I had dropped back to 134 pounds, which is about a pound lower than I normally weight – my BF% was the lowest I had ever been. Coincidentally, this is also the longest time that I have stuck to a lower-carb diet for so long and avoided most of my regular high-carb foods and meals.
All of this seems great, but why did I get such results, when most people fail to lose weight on much more complex diets? Can substituting a few weight-loss foods for your current ones be enough to make you lose weight?
Well, first I have done this before, so I was comfortable with the cravings for carbs and I expected them to occur. The average person trying to lose weight fast is getting discouraged as soon as they get a craving. Also, I knew I had no choice – If I continued to eat as I did during the vacation, I knew where that would lead. As you can see, the differences are mainly psychological. This plays a huge role in weight loss.
Now let’s look at some other examples of people who lost weight and improved their health, just by replacing foods in their current diet, without actually lowering their caloric intake! Including those weight loss foods in your diet has a much more dramatic effect than simply eating less or exercising more!
First, take Sally. She was 37 years old and since she turned thirty she had been experiencing all sorts of digestive issues, combined with anxiety, depression and mild osteoporosis. Just after 3 weeks on a gluten-free and low-carb diet, based around meat, nuts and vegetables, the difference is night and day. She started losing weight extremely fast, felt better and had heaps more energy!
Now, if it’s so simple, why doesn’t everyone do that? Well, try convincing a friend of yours that she/he should give up wheat, because the gluten it contains causes digestive issues. You will be immediately brushed off and classified as a “nut”. It may sound strange, but most people don’t have the slightest interest in improving the way they eat. I for one could never understand this, but it’s a fact.
If you do want to make some changes however, here is a nice sample diet you can follow (scroll to the end of the article). As you can see, it’s high in protein and low in crabs. It also completely eliminates grains, which you don’t have to do immediately, although I would suggest it.
Now, let’s look at the top foods you should absolutely and immediately replace and why:
Wheat – do your own research here, the idea that wheat causes digestive issues is not new, nor is it just based on ”anectodal” evidence – look up celiac disease and gluten intolerance, they are real, medical terms.
Cheap, processed food – foods that come in shiny packages are made to taste good, not feed you. That’s why shortly after you eat them, you are hungry again. Your body feels the calories coming in, but it can’t get any nutrients from them, which makes you constantly hungry. That, and the insulin roller coster you are putting your body into every time you eat them.
Do that, and you will be well on your way to getting rid of all the unnecessary belly fat.
Dealing with cravings
But, what if I get hungry? Well, you just have to accept and expect it – if you are changing your diet from a carb-heavy to a low-carb one it is to be expected that it won’t me smooth sailing. Getting hungry, getting headaches and other similar problems are to be expected – just stick to your new diet and trust that those issues will be gone in only a couple of days and the end result will be well worth it!
High-carb foods being recommended as weight loss foods by some people
A diet high in fruits and vegetables, and even a diet based solely on bananas has been recommended by some people as a weight-loss method. The evidence for that is insufficient and even if some people succeed in losing weight on such a diet, it’s probably not because of the diet, but because of the severe caloric restriction, combined with a lot of exercise. Low-calorie diets have been shown to have all kinds of adverse effects and there are several studies on this. One study found a large percentage of participant to develop depression, almost non-existent sex drive and lethargy.
If you think about it, there is no way we could be on a high-carb diet long term in the caveman days – fruits get eaten and take a long time to grow back. Animal protein and fat was always the major source of calories.
I would recommend combining those weight loss foods with some form of exercise, not particularly for the sake of burning calories, but rather for well-being and feeling good. The benefits of exercise are many and it is not something you should skip on. I would recommend not eating a few hours after exercise – many people also report that they don’t have any appetite immediately after exercising. But yet, they stuff themselves because they read somewhere that eating protein immediately after exercise prevents muscle loss.
Well, I’d say that you should listen to your body. Also, the period after exercise is when you burn the most subcutaneous fat – eating a high-carb meal during that time will quickly undo this. Some protein is okay, but eat it only if you are hungry.
Hydration is important. This is not discussed on many health boards, but water is not enough to stay hydrated. The other missing ingredient is salt – your body cannot retain any water without a certain amount of salt ingested simultaneously. Aim for about 2 grams of salt daily and you should be fine. Up that amount if you are doing a lot of cardio workouts.
Well, that about sums it up – the basic idea is to replace high-carb and grain-based foods with natural, whole foods that are high in protein and low in carbs, which limits the choices down to meat, nuts and a few other things.
A low-carb diet is any diet on which you consume less than 100 grams of carbohydrates. The source of those carbohydrates is not important and if you were to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, you would still be on a high-carb diet that can prevent you from losing weight. A lot of people don’t realize that fruit contains actual sugar – it’s mixed with vitamins, minerals and other good stuff, but if you consume too much of it, you will still hinder your progress when it comes to losing weight/eliminating insulin resistance.
What is considered a low-carb vs. what is considered a ketogenic diet?
Ketogenic diets are diets that include less than 50 grams of crabs per day and they also limit the amount of protein you consume with each meal. High protein meals put a lot of excess protein in your body, forcing it to turn some of it into carbohydrates by a process, known as Gluconeogenesis – this is the equivalent of eating a lot of carbs. Ketogenic diets force your body to rely solely on fats for energy production. This has both advantages and disadvantages – a lot of people take a very long time to get used to such a diet and the cravings and headaches are too bad, making them give up eventually. A ketogenic diet is not for everyone and there is not reason to do it – simply follow a reasonable, low-carb diet. And here is the seret:
Make all your carbs come from vegetables – this is key. If your carbs come from grains you are doing a strange mix of a Mediterranean diet and a paleo diet, which is not good! A high-fat diet, combined with a high vegetable intake is how people ate for eons. Although including a small amount of grains, like rice can still be considered low-carb, there is no reason to do it – you require only about 100 grams of carbohydrates. This is contained in a few pounds of vegetables and fruits or in only 2-3 bananas.
The more difficult question is this – what are the best high-fat foods to eat on a low-carb diet? Is a diet high in meat considered low-carb? Absolutely. However, it is very important to cook the meat properly and not at a high temperature. Fried meat is a big no-no. Finding a source of grass-fed meat is very important, although it can get a bit expensive.
A diet high in plant fats, like vegetable oils still counts as a low-carb, but it may not be so good for you – people have never eaten such a diet. The fats we ate before modern times were all animal fats. Having a large amount of your calories come from nuts is simply not natural. Eating whole nuts on the other hand is totally okay.
What about protein?
It’s difficult to limit your protein intake and still be on a high-fat diet. This is probably the only downside of paleo diets – you are forced to consume more than 100g of protein daily just to keep your caloric intake high enough. There are little tricks that can help this, like adding coconut oil or olive oil to your meals, but it is still difficult to have a protein intake of 50-60g which would be optimal.
Don’t forget the salt
A low-carb diet usually means that you prepare all meals by yourself. Too many people forget to add salt to their meals and this, combined with a high water intake can easily lead to hyponatermia. You don’t need a lot of salt, but you do need some – aim for 2-3 grams a day. Eliminating salt will often make you lose weight fast, but don’t delude yourself – this is purely water weight, which means you are now dehydrated. Salt is needed by your body to retain water and keep normal blood osmolality.
Is it still considered a low-carb diet if you don’t do it every day? It depends! Having a cheat day once a week is good for beginners, but don’t overdo it – having cheat days more than once per week will make it possible to consume so many calories during those 2 or 3 days that you basically undo all your progress. Start with once a week and then try to go for once a month.
There are many different names for low-carb diets, but most of them are the same thing – there is very little to innovate here and the purpose of such a diet, when you get down to the nitty-gritty of it, is to go back to the way we ate during the first 99% of human evolution. This means eating meat, nuts, vegetables and this is pretty much it! Don’t eat anything that comes off a packet or contains an unusual combination of ingredients. For example ice cream – it combines sugar, milk, wheat and a few types of artificial fat. There is no way you could eat that combination of ingredients 3000 years ago. So stick to basic food that we are used to digesting