Dr. Mehmet Oz, a physician, author and television show host, appeared on "Good Morning America" today to suggest a novel approach: dieting in the summer.
Many people diet so they'll be in shape for the summer. Oz said people would be better off dieting in the summer because they'll have a better chance of success.
He explained why on the show:
Q: Why is it easier to diet in the summer?
A: Sunlight may help weight loss by increasing serotonin levels. That's one way doctors treat the depression of seasonal affective disorder, Oz said. Increased levels of serotonin reduce some people's need to eat, especially if the cravings are for comfort foods, he said. Additionally, many people tend to eat less in hot temperatures. The biggest dieting advantage of the summer is the ability to stay outdoors longer, he said, encouraging people to find a neighborhood park or do some other outdoor activity.
Q: Is it easier to eat better when it's not cold?
A: It's easier to eat better in summer because there's an abundance of seasonal, fat-burning foods that are relatively low-priced. For example, okra (an important source of vitamin B6 and folic acid), cucumbers (a good source of silica, which is good for the skin), peaches, (a good source of fiber), and asparagus and broccoli (which are full of hunger-satisfying protein), are all readily available, Oz said. He pointed out that the body measures nutrients and not calories. That means that people who are eating the correct nutrients won't be as hungry.
Q: What are some great summer staples?
A: Oz suggested the following summer foods. Each costs 80 cents or less per cup:
Plain yogurt. Mix it with fruit for a high-calcium snack.
Quinoa: One serving supplies half of your daily requirement for iron.
Black beans: Drain and rinse them. Each cup contains 15 grams of protein.
Snap peas: One cup contains nearly half your daily requirement for vegetables.
Q: Is it true that grapefruit can really help someone to lose weight?
A: Grapefruit is a very good source of vitamin C, and research has revealed that vitamin C helps the body process fat faster, Oz said. Any source of vitamin C – such as citrus or bell peppers -- will work to burn fat, he said.
Those people who prefer grapefruit should be aware that it does interact with certain medications, so they should check with their doctors to make sure they can continue to take that medication if they eat grapefruit, Oz said.
Q: Does watermelon also work?
A: Watermelon is a tasty, inexpensive fruit that has one of the lowest levels of pesticide residue, Oz noted. One good way to eat it is in watermelon soup. Soup has a low energy density, since it contains a lot of water. That means you get fewer calories for the same weight of food. You'll fuller faster and eat fewer calories later, which means your body will burn through stored fat, he said.
Click HERE for a recipe for watermelon gazpacho.
Q: How can our surroundings help make or break a diet?
A: It's important to take advantage of summer light, Oz said. Try to eat outside or with your windows open. Research shows that people who eat in dim light linger over their food more, and that can lead to overeating.