Many people resolve to lose weight at the beginning of the year, but few stick with it. A few simple strategies can improve the odds of success. And, avoiding MSG doesn’t need to be one of them. Its tasty flavor doesn’t lead to overeating and may even help you feel full.
Weight Loss Resolutions
Exercising more, losing weight, and eating better are three of the four most common New Year’s resolutions, according to a poll conducted in late 2018 by NPR and The Marist Poll. But, by the end of January, many people are struggling to keep their commitment to themselves, and by June most have fallen off the bandwagon entirely. Keep reading to learn how to stick to your weight loss goals.
Weight Loss Strategies
There are lots of ways to lose weight. Here are a few strategies to do it in a healthy sustainable way that keeps the pounds off.
- Start with small, realistic changes
Exercising more, getting better sleep, and increasing your veggie intake are all great steps towards better health. But if you try to do it all at once, chances are your changes will be short-lived. You’re more likely to be able to maintain small realistic changes long term, which means you’ll be more likely to keep off any weight loss that comes from them.
For example, if your goal is to eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day and you currently only get 1 serving, then start by aiming for 2-3 servings a day and increase it further once you’ve got that down.
Changing only one thing at a time will also make it easier to make lifestyle alterations you can stick with for the long haul.
- Use SMART goals
SMART goals – those that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely – will help you clarify what you’re after and let you know if you’ve achieved it.
A SMART goal may look like, “I will limit the number of times I eat out to twice a week each week for the next month.” This goal is specific (“I”), measurable (no more than twice a week), attainable (not stopping completely, just limiting), relevant (it supports the larger goal of weight loss), and timely (it’s bound to a specific time period).
- Get support
Losing weight is hard. Losing weight alone is harder, and trying to lose weight with others working against you is nearly impossible. Having someone support you through the journey will make it easier whether you share tips and tricks, hold each other accountable, or act as a shoulder to cry on.
MSG & Weight
Figuring out what makes us feel hungry or full could hold the keys to the body’s appetite regulation and ultimately help people lose weight.
Because foods with MSG are tasty, some may wonder if we end up eating more when we eat foods that contain it. Recent research suggests that eating foods with umami flavor from MSG has no impact on how much people eat of those foods.
One study showed that when people ate a soup containing monosodium glutamate (MSG) and inosine 5′ monophosphate (IMP) compared to an unseasoned soup, they thought it tasted better and felt fuller, which led to less calorie intake at the next meal. (1)
Another study showed that eating a broth with MSG prior to lunch led people to feel fuller despite eating the same amount of calories at lunch as those who had eaten a broth without MSG. (2)
A third study found that adding MSG to a soup did not affect how much of it was consumed, but did increase people’s fullness and lower their desire to eat. (3)
Other experimental studies in humans showed similar effects. (4-5) This indicates that eating tasty umami foods may make you feel fuller and won’t lead to overindulgence.
The Bottom Line
If your New Year’s resolution was to lose weight, hang in there! Making small sustainable changes, setting SMART goals, and getting support can help you achieve your goal. And know that eating foods with MSG won’t hamper your weight loss goals.
- Masic U, Yeomans MR. Umami flavor enhances appetite but also increases satiety. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014; 100:532-8.
- Carter BE, Monsivals P, Perrigue MM, Drewnowski A. Supplementing chicken broth with monosodium glutamate reduces hunger and desire to snack but does not affect energy intake in women. Br J Nutr. 2011; 106(9):1441-1448.
- Anderson GH, Fabek H, Akilen R, Chatterjee D, Kubant R. Acute effects of monosodium glutamate addition to whey protein on appetite, food intake, blood glucose, insulin and gut hormones in healthy young men. Appetite. 2018; 120:92-99.
- Miyaki T, Imada T, Hao SS, Kimura E. Monosodium L-glutamate in soup reduces subsequent energy intake from high-fat savoury food in overweight and obese women. Br J Nutr. 2016; 115(1):176-84.
- Imada T, Hao SS, Torii K, Kimura E. Supplementing chicken broth with monosodium glutamate reduces energy intake from high fat and sweet snacks in middle-aged healthy women. Appetite. 2014; 79:158-65.
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For Further Reading…
I recently heard a health professional make some odd comments about monosodium glutamate (MSG), comments such as “we’re supposed to avoid that” and “it’s supposed to be bad for us.” I asked her if she knew what it was. She confessed, “not really.” I loved her honesty as much as I worried about her sharing myths about MSG with patients and clients. Read on…