Can Pickles Help You Lose Weight?

You wake up one morning, excited about your big plan—getting fit, losing some weight, feeling fabulous. You’ve got a personal trainer session with one of your favorite celebs lined up, and you’re feeling confident enough to wear a bikini on the beach. Unfortunately, the morning of your big event turns out to be one of the worst days of your life. You bust a lung diving for your phone to take a selfie for Instagram, and the muscle in your hip acts up again. It’s been two weeks since your last hit of caffeine, and you’re exhausted, discouraged, and craving that cup of joe. Sound familiar? If so, you’re in luck because we’ve got good news for you. There’s such a thing as “peak season,” and right now it’s in the middle of summer. For decades, scientists have been investigating the link between caloric intake and hormonal changes in the body. What they’ve discovered is that during certain seasons, your body’s metabolism changes, and that means you burn calories more efficiently than you normally do. That’s why we’re blessed with “metabolic rates up to 14% higher than those of men and women during the winter,’” as the Mayo Clinic website shares. The bottom line is that now isn’t the best time to be trying to lose weight. If you take this into consideration, you might want to scrap your whole ‘grammatically correct’ weight loss program and try a different method instead. How about trying out a pickle diet? We bet you’ve never heard of it, and that’s probably because it hasn’t been around for long. But if you’re looking for a way to slim down and get back on track, pickles might be able to help. Here are some interesting stats about the food trend that’s been around for a while but has mostly remained underground:

Pickles Have Been Around For a While

You might be surprised to learn that pickles have been around for centuries and were originally made to preserve food during times of scarcity. In 17th century England, people commonly found ways to use all the food their farms produced despite the harsh winters. Bellyachers, as they were called, would often get together in groups to preserve the harvest through cold storage. There is even evidence that the British Navy used to be filled with obese sailors because of the high caloric content of their regular meals. Modern-day pickles have largely maintained the same purpose, but with some added twists. These days, you’ll often find them in restaurants alongside other trendy fast food items such as fish tacos and chicken tikka samosas. It’s considered a “modern” eating style to incorporate these healthy condiments into your diet, and for good reason. Not only do they add some zing to your food, but they also happen to be packed with nutrients. It’s easy to see why some people might consider pickles to be a “clean” food—they’re high in fiber and low in calories. A medium order of fries and a small order of chicken tikka samosas have the same amount of calories as a small order of French fries and a small order of chicken tikka samosas, respectively. So if you want to eat tasty food without hurting your waistline too much, pickles might be the answer. You’d need to eat a lot of them to lose weight, though. A typical side of beef is about 500 calories, and that’s assuming you choose the healthier option, which is what most people do. So that’s a whole lot of pickles. In fact, a study from the United Kingdom found that consuming just one half of a cucumber a day for five days could help you lose almost a pound a week without feeling hungry or deprived. You’d probably have to eat about ten of these a day to see similar results. If that’s too much of a stretch for you, maybe try cutting back a little? As for portions, it’s recommended that you have a couple of grams of fiber for every teaspoonful of flour. In case that doesn’t seem like enough, you could add in some bran or whole wheat flour to bump up the fiber content. You’re better off not going too low in any one area though, because then you’re risking nutritional deficiencies. For instance, if you’re a lot of a cereal girl, but hate bran, than you might end up lacking in fiber. You could also end up with too much sugar if you’re a big chocolate fan, and vice versa if you love to bake but avoid sweets.

The Rise In Popularity

While pickles have been around for a while, the trend towards eating them hasn’t been as prevalent. One of the biggest contributing factors to their recent surge in popularity is that people are starting to catch on to the fact that they’re good for you. And who doesn’t like eating something that’s good for them? The key to making pickles popular again is by promoting them as a diet food rather than an “old-fashioned” food that people might not want to give up. The Mayo Clinic points out that when diets go bad, people are more likely to binge and fall off the wagon, but when diets are good, people are more likely to stick with them. If you want to make your pickles go down a treat, serve them with fish or chicken rather than beef, and try adding in some spicy mustard or relish to the mix. People with higher blood pressure might want to avoid eating fried food too, so be mindful of serving sizes and opting for steamed or grilled versions instead. While they might not be the most glamorous food to serve at your next dinner party, pickles are definitely worth the effort if you want to shed a few pounds.