19 Weight-Loss Secrets From Around the World

Nutritionists and Reader's Digest editors divulge the top diet tricks of the French, Brazilians, and more.

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Try fasting once in a while

Islam, this country's leading religion, encourages periodic fasting—no food or drink from dawn to dusk. Others in Indonesia practice mutih, which allows only water and white rice.

Although experts don't recommend fasting for weight control, fasting in moderation can break patterns of mindless eating, says Hill, of the American Society for Nutrition. "Most Americans never get hungry," he points out. "We've eaten the next meal before we've entirely digested the last one." No need for strict abstinence to get these psychological benefits—try just cutting your calories in half for a day.

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