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Wellbeing

Want to cut down on junk food? 10 easy ways to improve your diet

ith new research revealing the poor diet of Brits is more deadly than a smoking habit, we’ve rounded up 10 ways for you to revamp your diet – without changing your lifestyle too drastically.

Swap your orange juice for an orange

Instead of your usual glass of OJ for breakfast, have an orange instead. A glass of orange juice typically has around 21g of sugar in it, whereas an orange contains 12g. Oranges also contain more fibre than a glass of juice, important for keeping your digestive system happy.

Eat crisps out of a bowl

The temptation to pop open your favourite packet of crisps and start devouring them may be high, but research shows you’ll eat less if you pour some of them into a bowl.

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As tempting as it may be…pour your Pringles into a bowl Credit: Alamy

Studies have shown that when you eat straight from the bag, your brain doesn’t tell you to stop. You’re more likely to eat more this way than if you had poured a finite amount into a plate or a bowl.

Choose dark chocolate instead

If you can stomach the slightly bitter taste, opt for a bar of dark chocolate instead of milk. As well as containing half the sugar of milk chocolate, a recent study found that dark chocolate  helps restore flexibility to arteries while also preventing white blood cells from sticking to the walls of blood vessels – both common causes of artery clogging.

Don’t mix fruit and alcohol

While advocating for the avoidance of fruit may seem strange, but the liver is unable to process large quantities of fruit sugar quickly, meaning a “fruit-juice-heavy cocktail, complete with an alcohol base is about as bad as it can get“. If you must use fruit, make sure to use less alcohol, and avoid juices without a pulp.

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A recipe for disaster Credit: Alamy

Choose popcorn instead of crisps

Just make sure it’s not cinema popcorn as a 280g packet of sweet popcorn can contain more than 1200 calories and 40g of sugar.

Instead, experts recommend popcorn that had been popped at home. A 25g serve of plain air-pooped popcorn contains around 90 calories, no sugar and 1g of fat.

Get rid of distractions

When you’re eating turn off the TV, put away the phone and focus on your meal. Eating while distracted can make you take in up to 40 per cent more calories than usual.

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No distractions… Credit: Corbis

Professor Jane Ogden says: “Even though walking had the most impact, any form of distraction, including eating at our desks can lead to weight gain. When we don’t fully concentrate on our meals and the process of taking in food, we fall into a trap of mindless eating where we don’t track or recognise the food that has just been consumed.”

Don’t race to finish your food

It takes around 20 minutes for your body to register that you’re full. and research has shown that you could save up to 70 calories by eating slowly over half an hour.

Slow eaters consume 2oz of food per minute, while fast eaters eat 3.1oz.

Wake up earlier

Researchers have found that getting up earlier helps lower body fat because the ‘blue light’ of the morning kick starts the body’s metabolism.

Dr Phyllis Zee, Professor of Neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine says: “If a person doesn’t get sufficient light at the appropriate time of day, it could de-synchronize your internal body clock, which is known to alter metabolism and can lead to weight gain.

“The message is that you should get more bright light between 8am and noon.”

Don’t skip breakfast

It’s the most important meal of the day and, studies show that those who regularly eat breakfast are more successful at both losing weight and keeping it off.

Milton Stokes, the Chief Dietitian for St. Barnabas Hospital in New York says: “People skip breakfast thinking they’re cutting calories, but by mid-morning and lunch that person is starved.

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The most important meal of the day Credit: Getty

“Breakfast skippers replace calories during the day with mindless nibbling and bingeing at lunch and dinner. They set themselves up for failure.”

Use whole grain flour

Whole grain flour provides more protein and fibre than white or all-purpose flour.

It will change the consistency of whatever you’re making, but it tastes just the same.

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