Are you ready to drop a few pounds? Here are 4 weight-loss strategies that scientists say really work:

  • Avoid high fructose corn syrup. Sugar and corn syrup both are made up of glucose and fructose. Princeton University neuroscientist Dr. Bartley Hoebel says it takes an extra step to metabolize sugar molecules because they’re tightly bound together. But with corn syrup, the molecules are already separated, so they’re absorbed faster. And one study found that rats with drinks sweetened with corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those who drank drinks made with real sugar. Even when they both contained the same number of calories.
  • Eat at the same times every day. Levels of hunger hormones spike at our usual mealtimes – even if we’ve just eaten. That means, if you eat an early lunch, you’re still likely to make your usual 2 o’clock vending machine run.
  • Eat a high-protein breakfast. This can shave off almost a pound a week. People who eat a breakfast that combines protein and fiber – like yogurt and fruit – consume an average of 400 fewer calories during the day. That’s compared to those who eat a carb-heavy breakfast, like a bagel.
  • Change the way you eat. Dr. Brian Wansink has run hundreds of studies in Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab. And his data shows that changing your “food environment” is more effective than swearing off sweets and fried foods. His advice? Use smaller plates, keep seconds out of reach and, most importantly, turn off the TV and eat at the table with your family. Dr. Wansink says that those 3 tricks alone will save you about 300 calories per meal, which could help you lose a pound a week.