A daring dieting infusion comes to life with this benevolent blueberry detox drink. The masterful concoction features a delicious core of mandarin oranges. The wedges permeate moisture with ample healing properties, and the slight sourness is decadently delightful. At the same time, a stash of ripened blueberries brings extra antioxidants. These superfoods are notoriously packed with vitamin C and fiber. Each berry gains its navy coloration through the presence of detoxifying pigments. These compounds are known as anthocyanins, and their inclusion in a health regimen can prevent the presence of free radicals and ulcers. To intensify taste, simply squish berries and twist oranges.
But a troubling flaw has popped up in this system. (You knew there was a "but" coming, right?) In a recent study, people on an alternate-day fasting plan for six months lost about 6 percent of their body weight—the same as those on a conventional low-cal diet—but 38 percent of fasters dropped out, nearly 10 percent more than in the other diet group. A similar problem has surfaced in other trials.
A cup of this herbal brew each day isn't likely to get you back into your skinny jeans. But some research suggests tea may help you lose a very small amount of weight when you pair it with a sensible diet and exercise. And consider this: If you swap out your morning mocha latte for a cup of tea with lemon, you'll trim almost 300 calories from your daily total.
Case in point: A just-released animal study published in the European Journal of Nutrition found that, by lowering levels of obesity-promoting bacteria in the gut while also increasing the number of lean mass-supporting bacteria, black tea may promote healthy weight loss. “Some black tea components stay in the intestines and serve as fuel [or prebiotics] for ‘friendly’ bacteria in the gut," explains Jennifer McDaniel, R.D.N, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics who was not involved in the study. "These changes in the gut bacteria positively influence energy metabolism and may be what is responsible for modest weight loss.”
Alternate day fasting (ADF), a form of intermittent fasting, involves fasting one day, eating the next, and repeating. If you need to, you are allowed to eat on fasting days, the recommended amount being 25 percent of your total calories. For example, if you've calculated that 1,800 calories a day is the amount you need to eat in order to lose weight, on a fasting day, you'd eat no more than 450 calories. On nonfasting days, you'd eat 1,800 calories.
Fill a big teacup with soothing peppermint tea, and sniff yourself skinny! While certain scents can trigger hunger (a trick Cinnabon figured out long ago), others can actually suppress your appetite. One study published in the Journal of Neurological and Orthopaedic Medicine found that people who sniffed peppermint every two hours lost an average of 5 pounds a month. (Although tea is relatively low in caffeine—about 25% of what a cup of coffee delivers—decaffeinated varieties are great to have on hand for a soothing bedtime treat.) Consider also adding a few drops of peppermint oil to your pillow or burning a minty candle to fill the room with slimming smells.
Why it Works: Water keeps the contents inside your digestive tract moving along. Your body needs water in order to pee and sweat. Both mechanisms are essential for your body to excrete waste. Water also creates what’s known as diet-induced thermogenesis. This means your body burns calories in order to process whatever is coming in, including water. One study also found that subjects who drank water throughout the day saw a 2% to 3% increase in calorie expenditure.
The recommendations, results and safety of cleanses vary. Extreme cleanses, such as the Master Cleanse, which has you subsist on lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper for 10 days, can leave you weak and nauseous. You may lose weight in the short term, but are likely to gain back all the weight you lost shortly after returning to your old habits.