When someone is looking for the best nutrition for losing weight, what should they do? Follow fads or do basic research? Weight loss is the goal of most people who exercise. With a proper diet and exercise, one can lose weight effectively. Here are some simple nutrition tips to consider for losing weight fast and easy.
Nutrition and Diet for Weight Loss
Weight decreases when the number of calories burned by the body far exceeds the number of calories consumed, over a long period of time. Nutritional insights can help both ends of the metabolic balance and tip the scales toward significant weight loss.
Ways to Use Food to Burn Fat
The best diet plans take advantage of foods known to help convert white adipose tissue (stored fat) into brown adipose tissue (active fat). These foods encourage fat cells to produce heat and release stored energy.
Components of foods that help lose weight include1:
- Menthol. Menthol essence can be extracted from peppermint or spearmint or produced in a lab. This compound is often found in foods and drinks that are mint-flavored.
In large amounts, menthol can decrease breastmilk supply.
- Curcumin. Turmeric and ginger contain curcumin, which provides a yellow color and flavor to various dishes such as curry. Curcumin is not recommended for individuals with blood clotting disorders, gallstones, kidney stones, or gout.
It is recommended to avoid curcumin supplements, raw turmeric, or raw ginger when pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Capsaicin. Varieties of spicy peppers that contain capsaicin include Habanero peppers, jalapeno peppers, serrano peppers, cayenne peppers, and tabasco peppers.
Individuals with gastrointestinal disorders and easily irritable stomachs need to take caution and try small amounts of capsaicin, if any.
- Resveratrol. Resveratrol can be found in mulberries, peanuts, pistachios, and red grapes.
These foods and resveratrol supplements are not intended for individuals who have a blood clotting disorder, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids, or certain cancers. It is important to discontinue these foods before surgery.
Weight Loss-Friendly Foods, According to Experts
The following foods can support weight loss and boost your overall health in a variety of ways.
1. Lean Protein
Lean protein sources like chicken, turkey and grass-fed lean beef help keep you full, decrease cravings and stabilize blood sugar, says Feit. Plant-based proteins like legumes, beans and lentils have the same benefits, and they’re high in fiber as well, so they promote satiety.
Eggs contain almost every essential vitamin (with the exception of Vitamin C), plus minerals like phosphorus, calcium and potassium. Along with being a source of complete protein, eggs are also adaptable for different tastes, says Feit.
Vegetables of all kinds can assist with weight loss, says Feit. For example, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and cabbage are high in fiber and vitamins and help reduce digestive issues. Meanwhile, dark green leafy vegetables contain protein and are a good source of vitamins, minerals and fiber. And crunchy vegetables like celery and jicama are great low-calorie options for snacking.
Avocados are totally underrated, says Feit. The fruit is high in fiber and is a quality source of healthy fat, making it a great food for decreasing hunger. But since it is a fat source, avocado is calorically dense, so it’s important to remain mindful of portion size.
Apples are high in fiber and antioxidants, says Feit. The fruit also has anti-inflammatory properties and contains phytochemicals and vitamin C.
Berries are high in fiber, antioxidants and vitamin C—all things that your body needs to function optimally, says Feit.
7. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds have different health benefits, says Feit. All nuts are a good source of fiber, protein and healthy fat, and they help decrease hunger. Meanwhile, seeds are a great source of minerals and healthy fat. Watch your portions here, too. One serving of nuts and seeds is equivalent to a quarter cup.
Salmon is high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, says Rima Kleiner, registered dietitian nutritionist and founder of wellness coaching company Smart Mouth Nutrition in Greensboro, North Carolina. Research suggests omega-3 fatty acids may help people with weight classified as overweight or obesity feel fuller. And fish in general may help you feel satisfied and fuller longer than other proteins like eggs and beef, says Kleiner.
Shrimp promotes increased feelings of satiety, says Kleiner. Eating shrimp appears to decrease appetite by stimulating the production of cholecystokinin, or CCK, a hormone that signals to your stomach that you’re satisfied. Plus, shrimp and other shellfish contain zinc and selenium, two important minerals for immune health and increased energy.
10. Lupini Beans
Lupini beans are high in prebiotic fiber that feeds the beneficial bacteria in your gut, says Landau. “When your gut bacteria is well nourished, the number and type of bacteria present multiplies. A well-populated and diverse microbiome improves gut health, which makes your cells more responsive to insulin, helping to remove fat stored around the waist,” she says.
What are the best foods for weight loss?
The best foods for weight loss include options that are high in nutrition and low in calories – supporting good health and helping you stick to your calorie limit.
Other great options are foods that help reduce hunger or cravings, helping to keep you on track, which is typically includes options that are rich in heart-healthy fats, protein, and fiber, along with options that are basically calorie-free!
The easiest way to decrease your calories and increase your nutrition intake is by choosing more nutrient-dense foods. These are the foods that have the most nutrition per calorie, compared to other options that may be higher in empty calories, added fat, and sugar.
Many of the most nutritious low-calorie foods you can find tend to be non-starchy vegetables – this includes nearly all veggies, except peas, corn, potatoes, and winter squash. Other great sources of nutrient-dense foods include whole grains, fruits, and lean proteins.
The best nutrient-dense foods to stack your plate with include:
Arugula has only 20 calories for every 2 cups (85g).
And it’s a good source of calcium and an excellent source of vitamin C, folate, and vitamin A.
Four spears of asparagus contain only 17 calories.
Plus it’s a source of iron and folate and is high in vitamin K.
3. Bell Peppers
One-half cup of bell pepper is 26 calories and provides vitamin A, along with twice the daily value of vitamin C.
4. Bok Choy
Each cup of bok choy is only 10 calories, and contains folate, vitamin A, and high amounts of vitamin K.
With only 30 calories per cup, broccoli provides a good source of folate, 100% of the daily value for vitamin C, and 75% of your vitamin K needs.
6. Brussels Sprouts
One cup of Brussels sprouts has 40 calories and is a great source of fiber, folate, vitamin C, and vitamin K.
A cup of carrots is 45 calories, and packed with vitamin A, along with fiber and vitamin C.
8. Collard Greens
For only 25 calories, 2 cups of collards provide fiber, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A, and folate.
9. Greek Yogurt
A 5oz standard serving of Greek yogurt is about 110 calories and packs high amounts of protein, riboflavin, and phosphorus, calcium, and vitamin B12.
Fat is both flavorful and satiating, helping you feel more satisfied with your meals. In fact, some research suggests that cutting your fat intake too low can cause you to have a harder time sticking to your diet (3,4).
Of course, fat is also the most calorie-dense macro—packing more calories in a smaller portion, so portion control is key.
The top sources of healthy fats for weight loss are:
1. Peanut Butter
Peanut butter or any nutter butter is a favorite high-fat food for many. It also packs a decent amount of protein and nutrients like vitamin E and magnesium, and pairs well with just about any fruit or veggie.
Similar to nut butter, nuts like almonds are a great high-fat snack or topping to add a small boost of nutrition while keeping you satisfied.
Plus, almonds are the highest-fiber nut, giving them even more staying power.
Avocados are a high-fat fruit that packs a good amount of heart-healthy fats, fiber, and nutrition, like vitamin C and potassium. And it pairs well with just about any dish you can think of, including salads, sandwiches, soups, eggs, and more!
4. Fatty Fish
Salmon isn’t the only fish that provides high amounts of omega-3s. Other types of fatty fish and seafood like herring, mackerel, and sardines are also worth including.
High Fiber Foods
Eating more fiber is a great way to control appetite and promote health (8). There are two types of fiber found in plant foods – soluble and insoluble, and both hold unique benefits.
Insoluble fiber is a type of carb that is not easily absorbed by the body, and because what goes in must come out, it still needs to be pushed through your system – which is exactly how this type of fiber helps keep things moving along.
Soluble fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like substance. When you eat it, water gets drawn into your gut and allows the fiber to expand, helping you feel more full. This process is also thought to help draw out cholesterol from the body providing heart health benefits to you (9)!
Some of the best high fiber foods include:
A popular plant-based protein, beans are high in nutrition and provide 7 grams of fiber per ½ cup.
Artichokes are one of the highest-fiber veggies you can find, providing 6.5 grams of fiber for one medium-sized artichoke.
Lentils are also a source of plant-based protein and pack around 6.5 grams of fiber for each serving.
One medium apple contains vitamin C and up to 6 grams of fiber for less than 100 calories.
5. Whole Wheat Pasta
Pasta may seem like an anti-diet food, but it’s naturally rich in protein and fiber, along with many key nutrients – a single serving has about 6 grams of fiber.
6. Dried Figs
Often used as a natural sweetener, dried figs can help curb sugar cravings and provide about 5 grams of fiber per serving.
7. Green Peas
Peas contain some protein and essential nutrients along with 4.5 grams of fiber for every ½ cup serving.
Most berries, including blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and cherries, are high in nutrition and provide a decent amount of fiber – roughly 4 grams per serving.
A complete plant-based protein and popular diet food, quinoa has four grams of fiber for every ½ cup serving.