Food and drink for weight loss has never been more popular in the UK. Weight loss and health experts have always recommended eating a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruit, vegetables and water, but now that there are so many celebrity-endorsed pre-made meal plans available, it’s not surprising finding out how to lose weight has never been more confusing! Here at Drinks & More we believe you should take as much inspiration from nutritionists and top chefs who are passionate about healthy eating as you do celebrities and TV personalities.
Best Weight Loss Drinks
Apple Cider Vinegar Drinks
It’s tangy and puckery, but many people like to incorporate a little apple cider vinegar (ACV) into a daily drink or sip on a ready-made bottled version, which are easier to find in grocery stores now. “ACV is linked to many health benefits, such as aiding in blood sugar regulation and helping with weight management by enhancing fullness,” explains New York City-based Marissa Meshulam, RD. In addition, raw, unfiltered ACV (the kind where you can see the cloudy-looking “mother” in the bottle) is a source of probiotics, which can benefit immune and gut health, she says.
A 2018 study published in the Journal of Functional Foods found that ACV along with a restricted calorie diet can be considered an effective strategy for reducing appetite in overweight or obese individuals.
However, Donelan notes the key is the amount of ACV you use. “Studies have shown that taking two tablespoons daily is necessary to get the benefits, but it is difficult to know if these marketed apple cider drinks have enough apple cider in them, and even if they did, you would need to have one a day to get the benefits,” she adds.
A more cost-effective approach would be to buy the apple cider vinegar itself and take it as a shot or a shooter with a splash of juice. You could also mix it into a smoothie to soften the taste.
almonds and milk bottle on table
“Nut milks are super low calorie and depending on the milk you choose, can be a great source of iron, vitamin E, and antioxidants,” says Berkow. If fortified, nut milks also provide calcium and vitamin D. “They’re also lactose-free, gluten-free, and vegan.” Your best option is unsweetened nut milks. Sweetened varieties are loaded with extra sugar.
Plant-based beverages generally contain fewer calories than regular dairy milk, according to a 2020 study, so for people aiming to reduce their calorie intake, switching to nut-based milk, like almond milk, may support that overall health goal of weight loss. For instance, just one cup of whole milk contains 149 calories, while only one cup of almond milk has 60 calories.
“Not only that, the American Institute of Cancer Research recommends limiting animal products as much as possible to reduce cancer risk,” says Donelan.
There’s nothing like sipping a fresh coconut on a beach somewhere, right? Okay, you’re probably sipping yours from a single-serve box you bought at the store, but that can be just as refreshing, too.
Coconut water is full of electrolytes, which is great for rehydrating the body, says Meshulam. “Coconut water is a good source of vitamin C, magnesium, manganese, and potassium,” she explains. These vitamins and minerals play a role in immunity and collagen production in the skin (vitamin C, we’re looking at you), manage blood pressure (hats off you to, potassium), and provide disease-fighting antioxidants (thanks, manganese). Coconut water does contain some sugar though, so be sure to balance out coconut water consumption with regular plain water.
When combined with vinegar, coconut water may help with weight loss. In a 2017 study in the journal Food & Nutrition Research conducted in mice, ten weeks of coconut water and vinegar treatment led to weight reductions of 17.9 percent compared to 8.7 percent for the untreated mice. But that’s an animal study, so it’s not clear if the benefits translate to humans.
“Overall if you are looking for something different than water to stay hydrated throughout the day coconut water could be a good choice in comparison to higher calorie juice and sports drinks,” says Wilson. “Just be careful to read labels and find the option with the lowest sugar content.”
homemade fermented kombucha tea
“Kombucha is a fermented tea,” explains Meshulam. “During the fermentation process, health-promoting probiotics are formed, plus it’s made from tea, so it contains antioxidants from the tea leaves.”
In a 2021 article published in Current Developments in Nutrition, kombucha consumption led to a decrease in overall caloric and macronutrient intake. This may be because kombucha suppressing appetite or making participants feel fuller due to the fluid volume, says Donelan.
However, kombucha naturally contains sugar, so read the label and purchase those that have less than 15 g of sugar per bottle. When poured into a fancy glass, it can make a nice substitute for an alcoholic bev.
Ginger tea is one of several teas that show up on this list. “Ginger is known to ease stomach upset, specifically nausea, and reduce gas/bloating,” says Meshulam. That can help you feel good throughout the day. Ginger tea contains almost no calories and can add variety to your drink rotation. Try it as a mid-day sip instead of running out to get a sugary coffee drink as a pick-me-up.
A 2018 current meta-analysis demonstrated that ginger intake reduced body weight and waist-to-hip ratio. However, it is important to remember no one drink or food item is going to make or break your weight loss.
For weight loss, Berkow recommends consuming at least one gram of protein per pound of body weight. That can be a tall order for the day, but protein shakes can help you get there. (Or, at the very least, get your protein intake up if it’s lagging.) She recommends a protein drink made from a protein powder (supplying 20 grams of protein) mixed with water, a non-dairy milk, or skim/low-fat milk. However, pre-made protein shakes can also work, provided you examine their calorie and sugar content before sipping. Berkow recommends Core Power Fusion for a dairy option, and Owyn for a non-dairy option.
In a 2022 study published in The Journal of Nutrition, it was found that a multi-ingredient high-protein, high-fiber nutritional supplement shake consumed as a preload before breakfast and lunch positively influenced weight management in overweight adults compared with a placebo.
“The benefits of protein in weight loss are best seen when the drink is also high in fiber,” notes Donelan. “You can add a supplement alongside your shake, such as psyllium husk, or you can use whole foods that add minimal flavor while bulking up the fiber, such as avocados, cauliflower, chia seeds, prunes, tofu, and white beans.”
Surprising Things You Should Never Eat if You’re Trying to Lose Weight
Lots of experts say it’s stupid to forbid yourself from eating certain foods – that denying yourself something you really want to eat can ultimately lead to binge eating and eventual weight gain. So dessert isn’t on this list – it’s OK to indulge sometimes! But some foods really do deserve the ax – especially if you are trying to lose weight. In which case, avoid these foods (when you can!) to fend off cravings and hunger, and support your efforts to slim down.
- Any snack that only contains carbs
When you eat crackers, dry cereal, bread, or rice cakes alone, your body converts the carbs to simple sugars and sends it directly into your blood stream. In response to the sugar rush, your body produces extra insulin, which helps your body absorb the sugar ASAP. The problem: You end up with low blood sugar and the same hunger pangs that led you to carb it up in the first place. You then may be inclined to reach for sugary foods with no nutritional value to satisfy your need for instant energy, says Charlie Seltzer, M.D., a weight-loss specialist based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Eat This Instead: Snacks that contain a combination of carbs, healthy fats, and protein. They take longer to digest, and will, therefore, tide you over for longer. (Another thing: When you treat snacks as balanced mini meals, they contribute to a balanced diet instead of just holding you over between meals.) Try a slice of bread with nut butter, or whole grain crackers with low-fat cheese, suggests Rachel Harvest, a registered dietitian affiliated with Tournesol Wellness in New York.
- Frozen meals
To make fresh ingredients last extra long in your freezer, food manufacturers often load frozen meals with sodium, a natural preservative, Harvest says. Sodium makes you retain water, which bloats you up – so you won’t look and feel your best regardless of how much weight you want to lose.
Also: When food manufacturers try to squeeze a meal’s worth of calories into a teeny-tiny box, every bite ends up containing lots of calories by design, Harvest adds. While large portions trick your brain into thinking your body is full, the measly portions found in freezer meals are inherently unsatisfying, even though they contain plenty of calories.
Eat This Instead: Pre-frozen leftovers. Just double up on ingredients the next time you cook dinner, then cool and toss leftovers in a microwave-safe container to keep in your freezer for one to six months depending on what you’re cooking. Or stock your freezer with frozen veggies and your protein of choice (like chicken breast tenders, which cook faster than full breasts, or veggie burgers) to whip up a meal in the same amount of time it takes to cook a premade microwave dinner.
- High-fiber snack bars
Yes, everyone needs fiber – it keeps your digestive system churning and keeps you feeling full, even when you’re cutting back on calories. What you don’t need: Nearly one day’s worth of fiber (about 25 grams) in one snack bar, with a diet that’s otherwise devoid of it, Harvest says. “Fiber intake has to be consistent throughout the day to stave off hunger, improve digestive health, and not cause stomach upset.”
Eat This Instead: Produce that’s naturally rich in fiber – any fruit or veggie will do. Make produce a part of every snack and meal you eat throughout the day, and you’ll get your daily dose of filling fiber, no problem.
- “Low-fat” foods
Research suggests that people tend to eat upward of 30 percent more when they know they’re eating a food that’s low in fat. The problem (besides overeating, which can quickly thwart your weight loss goals) is that when food makers remove fat from food, they inevitably remove some of the flavor. To compensate, they often add sugar, which makes the product even worse for you.
Eat This Instead: Healthy fats in moderation. That means dipping your baby carrots in guacamole (which is rich in monounsaturated fats) or hummus (often made with olive oil, another good source of the same healthy fats) instead of fat-free ranch.
It takes several oranges to make one 6-ounce glass of OJ, but when you drink juice, you consume all the calories from those oranges without the natural fruit fibers that fill you up. It’s why “even 100 percent juice is just empty calories and another blood sugar spike,” Harvest says.
Another thing: Fructose, the natural fruit sugar that makes fruit and fruit juice taste sweet, tricks your body into gaining weight by blunting your body’s ability to recognize when it’s full, says Melissa Rifkin, a registered dietitian at Montefiore Medical Center in New York and a Rise nutrition coach. This makes you eat more, and increases your risk of developing insulin resistance and diabetes.
Drink This Instead: Water! Aaall the water – plus unsweetened tea or coffee when water just doesn’t do it.
Scientifically-Proven Ways To Lose Weight Without Exercise
A healthy weight for your body type reduces your risk for serious illness. Healthy eating habits also impact your energy levels throughout the day. While exercise in the form of aerobic activity and strength training is recommended by the Department of Health and Human Services for most adults, there are certain situations where opportunities to exercise may be scarce.
- Plan When To Eat
Having set meal times a day can help you know when to eat and keep you from mindlessly grabbing for food, said Dr. Charlie Seltzer, MD, a Philadelphia-based weight-loss specialist. Along with planning when to eat, nutritionist Keri Glassman, RD, recommended tracking what you eat, including the smaller random portions you have throughout the day.
A bite here and there may still account for calories adding to your weight when left untracked. Review what you have monitored and be familiar with your habits, such as grazing or stress eating.
- Serve Food In Smaller Portions
Over time, plates have seen an increase in size. A study with adult participants found that doubling the size of a dinner appetizer resulted in 30% more calorie intake.
It is worth decreasing the size of your plate, especially when consuming unhealthy foods, to lose weight without exercise. A smaller plate can trick your brain into thinking you are eating more, according to studies. This is in contrast to bigger plates that make you want to add more food because a portion looks smaller.
- Eat Protein First
Protein makes you feel satiated with fewer calories since it affects ghrelin and GLP-1 – hormones that play a role in hunger and fullness. When you eat more protein and eat them first, you will have less room for carbohydrates and other unhealthy food options. A study found that increasing the protein intake from 15% to 30% resulted in participants eating 441 calories fewer, leading to a weight loss of 11 pounds over 12 weeks.
- Fill Up Your Breakfast Plate With Veggies
Fruits and vegetables contain more water compared to other food groups. This means they have more volume but fewer calories to fill you up. You may also opt to flip the ratio of your meals to have more low-calorie vegetables rather than carbohydrates to avoid overeating refined carbs. This tricks your brain into thinking you are eating more because you have a full plate and eating a larger volume of food, affirmed Dr. Seltzer.
- Load Up On Fiber
Lentils are very rich in protein (about 26%), folic acid, and both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. Lentils are also very high in Vitamin C and the B vitamins, and contain eight of the essential amino acids. It provides both carbohydrates and protein which make them a great source of good energy meal. And they’re low in fat and high in calories. If you don’t eat beans often, start with a small portion or you’ll experience the flatulence factor and end up dining alone. IBTimes
According to registered dietitian Heidi Katte, the recommended daily serving of fiber is 25 grams for women and around 38 grams for men. However, most Americans get fewer than 10 grams daily.
Studies showed that viscous fiber, in particular, helps in weight loss by reducing food intake and increasing fullness. This fiber is only found in plant foods such as beans, oats, Brussel sprouts, flax seeds, asparagus and oranges. When in contact with water, viscous fiber forms a gel, increasing nutrient absorption time and slowing down digestion. That said, drinking lots of water is necessary when eating more fiber.