Quit Smoking—Without Growing a Gut

Smoking

Can a little extra pudge protect your pump? In a new study in the Journal of American Medical Association, people gained about 3kg after quitting smoking—but also reduced their risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) by 53 per cent after kicking the habit.

Obesity is a key risk factor for CVD, but smoking is an even bigger one—so ditching your nicotine fix significantly slashes your CVD risk, regardless if you gain weight, the study authors say.

Of course, no one wants to carry around an extra three to six kilos—the average amount of weight an American tacks on within 6 months of quitting, per JAMA—even if that trade-off appears to help your health. The problem is, nicotine suppresses your appetite, so when you give up cigarettes, your cravings intensify.

Here's one way to keep your gut in check while you rehab your lungs: take 2 teaspoons of olive oil before meals. Like cigarette smoke, this Mediterranean wonder slows your stomach contractions and keeps you feeling full longer. It also triggers your body's release of CCK, a hormone with appetite-reducing properties, says Marshall Goldberg, M.D., a professor of medicine at Thomas Jefferson University. The catch? You need a concentrated hit of the stuff for it to work. If you don't want to take your 2 teaspoons straight, pour the oil on a plate and mop it all up with a piece of Italian bread.

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