Consuming lesser calories than expended is the secret to losing weight and keeping it off. As such, researchers are always looking for strategies that can help to reduce the amount of calories eaten during meals. Some of these strategies include drinking water, eating fruits and having soup before main meals. In this article, we will look at how salad for weight loss helps by reducing calories eaten in the main meal.
Salad for Weight Loss – Having it Before a Meal Helps
Researchers wanted to test the effect of consuming salads as a first course and how this affected the amount of calories eaten in the main course. The researchers tested salads with varying energy density and portion size. The findings of this study was published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 42 participants were asked to eat first-course salads of varying energy density and portion size. They were asked to finish their first course meals. They were then given pasta as their main course. They were allowed to eat as much pasta as they wanted.
The researchers measured the amount of calories consumed in the main course and levels of satiety. The researchers found the following when comparing with those having no first course;
- consuming the low-energy-dense salads reduced meal energy intake by
- 7% for the small portion
- 12% for the large portion
- consuming the high-energy-dense salads increased intake by
- 8% for the small portion
- 17% for the large portion
The researchers found that when two salads with the same number of calories were compared, meal intake was decreased when the large portion of the lower-energy-dense salad was consumed. The calorie density of salads are affected by the dressings.
The researchers concluded that eating low-energy-dense salads, enhanced satiety and reduced the amount of calories eaten in the main course. They further said that a salad for weight loss is an effective strategy when a large portion is eaten before meals. The salads have to be of low energy density.
Have a Large Salad Before Meals to Help Weight Loss
As the earlier research has shown, salads for weight loss are effective when a large portion is eaten before meals. This helped reduce the amount of calories eaten in the main meal. The only thing to be careful about is the dressing. These dressings can be energy-dense. Note that the research also showed that having an energy-dense salad will actually add to the amount of calories eaten in the meal.