Invisalign is a popular alternative to traditional metal braces that uses clear, removable aligners to gradually straighten teeth over time. Many people wonder if wearing Invisalign can also help them lose weight during treatment.
Can Invisalign make you lose weight?
Invisalign alone does not directly cause weight loss. However, there are several potential reasons why some patients lose weight while wearing Invisalign aligners:
- The aligners may make it more difficult to snack mindlessly throughout the day, as you need to remove them to eat or drink anything besides water.
- Having to remove aligners to eat requires more planning around mealtimes instead of casual snacking.
- Some report they snack less because of the extra time and effort to brush after eating with Invisalign in place.
- Aligners can occasionally irritate the tongue or alter taste, making some foods less appealing.
- Patients may be more motivated to make healthy lifestyle changes like diet and exercise during Invisalign treatment.
So while Invisalign itself does not directly make you lose weight, the lifestyle changes required for Invisalign treatment may promote weight loss for some patients.
How much weight loss is typical with Invisalign?
Most patients do not lose a significant amount of weight from Invisalign alone. However, some studies have found that minor weight loss is common during treatment:
- One study found patients lost an average of 2.6 pounds over 6 months of Invisalign treatment.
- Another study reported an average weight loss of 5 pounds over the course of treatment.
- Patients under 20 years old may lose slightly more weight, around 6 pounds on average.
Keep in mind, results vary a lot between individuals based on factors like diet, activity level, age, lifestyle habits, and more. Some people lose no weight at all with Invisalign, while others may lose 10 pounds or more if they make other lifestyle changes as well.
Tips for losing weight with Invisalign
If your goal is to lose weight during Invisalign treatment, here are some helpful tips:
Watch snacking and your daily calories
Be mindful of unplanned snacking, graze eating, and liquid calories from beverages like soda, juices, coffee drinks, and alcohol. Use the inconvenience of removing aligners to curb mindless overeating. Track your calories to create a daily deficit.
Meal prep healthy options
Plan ahead by cooking nutritious meals and snacks for the week so you aren’t tempted by quick, unhealthy options when your aligners are out. Emphasize protein, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Drink more water
Drink water instead of caloric beverages. Staying hydrated may also help suppress appetite.
Choose nutrient-dense foods
Choose foods that are low in calorie density and high in nutrients like lean proteins, beans, vegetables, and some fruits. These promote fullness and control hunger.
When you take out your aligners to eat, focus on your food. Slow down, chew thoroughly, and savor the textures and flavors. This helps you feel satisfied eating less.
Regular exercise supports weight loss and overall health. Aim for 150-300 minutes of moderate activity per week while wearing Invisalign.
Get enough sleep
Lack of sleep is linked to increased hunger and overeating. Aim for 7-9 hours per night for healthy weight management.
Consider intermittent fasting
Some find intermittent fasting easier with Invisalign since you’re only supposed to eat with aligners out. Consult your doctor before trying any fasting diet.
Foods to eat and avoid with Invisalign
Here are some of the best and worst foods for weight loss when wearing Invisalign aligners:
Foods to Enjoy
|Lean protein||Promotes fullness, preserves muscle when dieting|
|Non-starchy vegetables||Low in calories, high in nutrients|
|Fresh fruits||Provide natural sweetness and fiber|
|High-fiber grains||Slow digestion and control blood sugar|
|Bone broth||May support appetite control and metabolism|
|Healthy fats||Improve satiety and nutrient absorption|
|Herbs and spices||Boost flavor of foods without added calories|
Foods to Limit
|Processed carbs||Can spike blood sugar and increase hunger|
|Fried foods||High in calories, unhealthy fats|
|Sugary drinks||Empty calories and cause weight gain|
|Alcohol||High in calories, impairs judgment around food|
|Frozen/fast foods||Often high in fat, calories, sodium|
|Candy and baked goods||Contain added sugar, unhealthy fats|
How Invisalign impacts eating habits
Wearing Invisalign aligners frequently impacts a person’s eating habits in various ways that can influence weight changes:
- Aligners must be removed for all eating and drinking besides water.
- Most are advised to remove aligners for 20-30 minutes per meal or snack.
- Frequent snacking or sipping on drinks throughout the day is discouraged.
- Thorough brushing and flossing is required after eating before reinserting aligners.
- Some report slight pain or discomfort eating with new aligners.
- Aligners may temporarily alter taste sensations or irritate oral tissues.
Due to these factors, many Invisalign patients report they snack less, are more mindful when eating, drink fewer calories, and plan their meals more carefully during treatment. These habits can lead to eating fewer calories and subsequent weight loss.
Lifestyle changes for weight loss with Invisalign
To maximize weight loss results during Invisalign treatment, incorporate these healthy lifestyle changes:
Track your calorie intake to ensure you maintain a daily calorie deficit for weight loss. Apps like MyFitnessPal or Lose It can help.
Eat more fiber and protein
Choose foods high in fiber like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Get ample lean protein from foods like fish, poultry, Greek yogurt, and eggs.
Hydration supports weight loss. Carry a reusable water bottle and drink water instead of high-calorie beverages.
Limit liquid calories
Cut out unnecessary liquid calories from juices, soft drinks, coffees, and alcohol. Stick to water, unsweetened tea, and black coffee.
Prepare healthy meals and snacks for the week ahead of time so you always have portion-controlled options available.
Increase your physical activity with cardio, strength training, and walking more throughout the day. Exercise boosts metabolism and burns extra calories.
Get enough sleep
Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night. Lack of sleep disrupts appetite-regulating hormones.
Find healthy stress relief through yoga, meditation, massage, relaxation techniques, or talking to a therapist. Stress can trigger emotional eating.
Pros of losing weight with Invisalign
Some potential benefits of losing weight while undergoing Invisalign treatment include:
- Improved self-confidence and body image
- Better fitness and energy levels
- Reduced risk for obesity-related diseases like diabetes and heart disease
- Potentially faster treatment time (less risk of loose aligners)
- Healthier overall lifestyle habits
- Pride and motivation to keep weight off long-term
Cons of losing weight with Invisalign
Some possible downsides of weight loss during Invisalign include:
- Potentially more visits to adjust aligners with weight fluctuations
- Possibility of nutrient deficiencies if diet is too restrictive
- Increased risk of gallstones if losing weight very rapidly
- Losing muscle instead of fat if not strength training and eating enough protein
- Regaining weight after treatment if lifestyle habits aren’t maintained
Maintaining weight loss after Invisalign
To keep weight off after completing Invisalign treatment, it is essential to maintain the healthy habits established during the process. Helpful tips include:
- Continue tracking calories and macronutrients to avoid overeating
- Meal prep and planning healthy meals and snacks
- Keeping nutritious, portion-controlled foods stocked at home
- Exercising regularly for at least 150 minutes per week
- Getting adequate sleep and managing stress well
- Staying accountable through apps, social support, or professionals
- Stepping on the scale weekly to catch any weight regain early
Making healthy lifestyle changes sustainable is key to keeping lost weight off long after finishing orthodontic treatment. Consistency and accountability help cement new habits.
Invisalign can help motivate patients to lose weight due to the eating restrictions required during treatment. While Invisalign itself does not directly cause weight loss, many people lose 2-6 pounds on average because the aligners encourage more mindful eating habits and less snacking throughout the day. Losing weight is possible with Invisalign but requires paying close attention to your calorie intake, meal planning, physical activity, and creating a calorie deficit. Maintaining healthy habits after treatment is also crucial for keeping weight off long-term.