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Guide to Fighting Cellulite   ( Home | Diet | Foods | Recipes )

Best Diet for Cellulite Reduction (Cont'd)

What's the best diet for women who want to reduce the apperance of cellulite on their thighs, hips or buttocks? Here's a collection of 18 great diet tips for effective cellulite reduction.

Note that this is the second page of a two-page article on diet and cellulite reduction. If you missed the first page of the article, click here.

#11: Cut Down on Calories, Especially in the Evening

According to research, losing weight can reduce the appearance of cellulite for some overweight women. To lose weight, you will have to create a calorie deficit, either by reducing calorie intake from foods so that your body must draw on reserves for energy (such as fat stored within your body) or by increasing physical activity. To lose 1 pound per week, you need to create a deficit of 3,500 calories per week. This can be accomplished by reducing a daily caloric intake by 500 calories per day (500 calories x 7 days = 3,500 calories). Experts generally recommend creating a caloric deficit of 3,500 to 7,000 per week for healthy and successful weight loss.

To lose 1 pound per week, you need to create a weekly deficit of 3,500 calories.

An extreme deficit (a deficit of more than 7,000-10,500 calories per week) can compromise bodily functions and even result in heart rhythm abnormalities, which can be fatal. Cutting too many calories may also be counterproductive to weight loss efforts, as extremely low calorie diets boost the activity of fat-storing enzymes and decrease the activity of fat-burning enzymes in the body. In addition, cutting too many of calories can lead to accelerated loss of lean muscle mass. This is undesirable because muscle helps firm and tone the areas hit hardest by cellulite but also because muscle burns significant amounts of calories even when we are not doing anything.

In addition to restricting the amount of calories consumed, overweight people should pay attention to the timing of the daily caloric intake. It is generally recommended to spread the calories throughout the day by having 5-6 small meals. This will keep the metabolism humming and reduce cravings for sweets and starches. The breakfast should be the biggest meal of the day as a big breakfast will help you get your metabolism going and you will burn more fat throughout the day.

#12: Limit Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol prompts a sharp increase in free radical activity in the body, which can damage healthy skin cells. It also puts pressure on the lymph system making it more difficult for toxins to flush out of the body. Alcohol is also high in calories (7 calories per gram, almost as many as in a gram of fat), and it reduces the amount of fat cleared from your blood. Furthermore, it depletes the body of vitamin B6, one of the most important vitamins for fighting cellulite.

#13: Watch Out for Fats but Don't Eliminate the Good Fats Completely

Watch out for fats but don't eliminate the good fats completely. A high intake of dietary fat can exacerbate cellulite due to the high calorie content in fat which can lead to weight gain. Fat contains more than twice as many calories as protein or carbohydrates. A gram of fat provides 9 calories (39kJ) whereas a gram of carbohydrates or protein contains 4 calories (16.8kJ). Furthermore, contrary to the common belief, fats are the least filling of all the macronutrients (you become hungry sooner after a fatty meal than a meal high in fiber-rich carbohydrates or protein).

EFAs—found in nuts, seeds, fatty fish and unrefined whole grains—are necessary for the proper functioning of the body.

Fat also has a low thermogenic effect, that is, the body uses very little energy for the breakdown of fat (only 0-3% of its calorific value). In contrast, protein has a high thermogenic effect (20-30%), which means that the body burns a significant share of the calories provided by a protein-rich meal in the process of breaking down and digesting the meal.

That said, it is important not to completely eliminate all fats from diet. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) — found in large quantities in such foods as nuts, seeds, fatty fish and unrefined whole grains—are absolutely necessary for the proper functioning of the body. These fats cannot be synthesized by the body and must therefore be obtained through diet.

In contrast, saturated fats—found in foods from animal sources like meat and dairy—should be avoided. These fats have been shown to promote fat accumulation and weight gain more than the unsaturated EFAs. The body does need saturated fats in very small amounts for some particular purposes, but the body is able to synthesize its own saturated fatty acids when needed.

Trans fats, yet another type of fat, should be completely eliminated from diet. These fats are formed in a chemical process that food manufacturers use to turn liquid oils into solid fats and to increase the shelf life of foods. They are most often found in fried foods, vegetable shortenings, hard margarine, cookies, crackers, chips, and baked goods. In addition to their other detrimental effects on health, trans fats can lead to a higher overall body weight, even when the total caloric intake is controlled. In one animal study, male monkeys were fed either a western-style diet containing trans fats or a diet that contained monounsaturated fats such as olive oil. All monkeys received the same, modest amount of calories. The monkeys who ate trans fats had a 7.2% increase in body weight, compared to a 1.8 percent increase in monkeys that were fed monounsaturated fats.

#14: Drink Plenty of Water

Drinking plenty of water is one of the cornerstones of an anti-cellulite diet. Water helps flush out toxins that can contribute to the build-up of cellulite. Also, an inadequate supply of water may lead to water retention as the body retains water to compensate, aggravating the appearance of cellulite.

Water flushes out toxins that can aggravate cellulite.

Furthermore, a high consumption of water can contribute to fat loss in a couple of ways. First, water provides no calories but can increase the feeling of fullness. In fact, it has been suggested that drinking large volumes of ice-cold water could actually burn calories. This is because ice water needs to be warmed to body temperature when it enters the body, which requires energy (calories). Consuming 2 liters of ice water a day would result in roughly 70 extra calories burned.

Second, staying well hydrated encourages the body to use the kidneys, rather than the liver, for eliminating waste products. One of the liver's main functions is the conversion of energy from stored body fat. If the liver does not have to focus on eliminating waste products, it can concentrate on mobilizing body fat.

#15: Limit Consumption of Simple Carbohydrates and Sugar

Simple carbohydrates, classified either as single or double sugars, and starches are the primary source of energy for the human body. An anti-cellulite diet should focus on starchy foods and limit the amount of sugars consumed. In one study, researchers gave 14 healthy subjects a drink containing 75 grams of glucose—the simplest form of sugar. This amount is roughly equivalent to the sugar content of two cans of a cola drink. The control group were given a drink composed of water and the artificial sweetener saccharin. Blood samples revealed that free radical generation increased significantly in the test subjects while there was no change in free radical formation in the control group. Free radicals can aggrevate the appearance of cellulite by damaging healthy collagen and elastin.

In addition to contributing to cellulite by damaging connective tissue, a diet high in simple sugars can worsen the appearance of cellulite by increasing fat accumulation in the body. This is because simple sugars and refined carbohydrates generally lead to a quick rise in blood sugar levels, which in turn causes more fat being stored in the body. Excess sugar in the blood can also cause blood vessel damage, which may hamper blood circulation to cellulite-prone areas.

Additionally, sugar may aggravate cellulite by depleting the body of some important cellulite-fighting nutrients, including vitamin E, vitamin C, and potassium.

#16: Ensure Sufficient Intake of Protein

A sufficient intake of lean protein is crucial for fighting cellulite as it contains amino acids that are essential for the production of collagen and elastin in the connective tissue. The most important amino acids for collagen and elastin production include glycine, proline, and lycine. These three amino acids are plentiful in a number of foods, including fish, eggs, meat, beans, nuts and seeds. In order to form strong collagen, proline and lysine need certain cofactors such as vitamin C, iron and manganese.

In addition to supporting the formation of strong connective tissue, protein helps build muscle, and the more muscle you have the more calories you burn—even at rest. Furthermore, an adequate intake of protein also helps fight water retention.

#17: Increase Your Intake of Dietary Fiber

Fiber is the part of plant foods that the enzymes in your body are not able to digest and that is therefore not absorbed into the bloodstream. Consequently, dietary fiber provides no calories. What's more, fiber-rich foods typically require more chewing, which gives the body time to realize it is full (the brain is about 10 minutes behind the stomach). This can in turn prevent overeating. High fiber foods also tend to make meals linger longer, leaving you feel full for a greater amount of time. In addition, soluble fiber—a type of fiber that forms a gel in the digestive tract—flushes waste and toxins that could contribute to the formation of cellulite.

#18: Burn Calories with Capsaicin

Research suggests that capsaicin, a pungent compound present in cayenne peppers, can significantly raise the body's heat production (thermogenesis). This in turn increases the rate at which the body burns carbohydrates and fats. One study found that capsaicin in hot chillies could increase the resting metabolic rate (the rate at which the body expends energy while at rest) by up to 25%. The effects on the metabolic rate peaked at 75 to 90 minutes after the consumption of the capsaicin and lasted for up to 3 hours.

According to studies, capsaicin can also suppress appetite and reduce the amount of calories consumed during meals: In one trial, half of the subjects were given tomato juice with chili powder, while the rest drank it plain. Those who received the drink containing the capsaicin consumed 16% fewer calories on average.

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