For Weight Loss What To Eat
For weight loss, diet is just as important as exercise. Many people try to lose weight quickly, but if the weight is lost improperly it will come back! When trying to lose weight you should aim for a healthy rate of 1-2 pounds a week. This can be achieved by exercising more and eating less. However, eating less means that you are getting healthier with your food choices too. The diets you can go on can either limit the calories you eat or limit the types of foods you consume. There are several good diets out there but no one style of diet stands out as being the best at helping people lose weight.
Weight loss doesn’t have to be difficult — you can lose weight without having to pop pills or cut carbs. The key is what foods you eat and which exercises you do.
Simple ways to cut calories and eat more fruits and vegetables throughout the day
Breakfast: Start the Day Right
- Substitute spinach, onions, or mushrooms for one egg or half the cheese in your morning omelet. The vegetables will add volume and flavor to the dish with fewer calories than the egg or cheese.
- Cut back on the amount of cereal in your bowl to make room for some cut-up bananas, peaches, or strawberries. You can still eat a full bowl, but with fewer calories.
Lighten Up Your Lunch
- Substitute vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, or onions for 2 ounces of the cheese and 2 ounces of the meat in your sandwich, wrap, or burrito. The new version will fill you up with fewer calories than the original.
- Replace 2 ounces of meat or 1 cup of noodles in broth-based soup with 1 cup of chopped vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots, beans, or red peppers. The vegetables will help fill you up, so you won’t miss those extra calories.
- Add in 1 cup of chopped vegetables such as broccoli, tomatoes, squash, onions, or peppers, while removing 1 cup of the rice or pasta in your favorite dish. The dish with the vegetables will be just as satisfying but have fewer calories than the same amount of the original version.
- Take a good look at your dinner plate. Vegetables, fruit, and whole grains should take up the largest portion of your plate. If they do not, replace some of the meat, cheese, white pasta, or rice with legumes, steamed broccoli, asparagus, greens, or another favorite vegetable. This will reduce the total calories in your meal without reducing the amount of food you eat. BUT remember to use a normal- or small-size plate — not a platter. The total number of calories that you eat counts, even if a good proportion of them come from fruits and vegetables.
- Most healthy eating plans allow for one or two small snacks a day. Choosing most fruits and vegetables will allow you to eat a snack with only 100 calories.
10 of the best fat burning foods for weight loss:
A simple salmon dinner(opens in new tab) can help you lose weight fast, as this delicious lean fish packed with protein and omega-3s.
“Salmon is a fantastic source of high-quality protein which is beneficial for weight and fat loss as the body must work harder to digest it,” explains David Weiner, a Nutritionist and Training Specialist at AI-based fitness and lifestyle coaching app Freeletics(opens in new tab). “In addition, salmon is a great source of omega 3 fatty acids which are shown to reduce inflammation and promote fat burning, with studies showing that fish oil supplementation can help to reduce weight and the stress hormone cortisol, which is also linked to fat storage.”
Indeed, one 2015 study(opens in new tab) into omega-3 found these friendly fats helped with a “reduction in abdominal fat”. Whilst another study(opens in new tab) found that salmon – compared against cod and fish oil capsules – was the most effective for weight loss overall.
There’s further good news too. As one serving of salmon contains around two thirds of the nutrient selenium – which your body needs for a healthy thyroid. This is especially important, as your thyroid holds the key to an efficient metabolism.
With this in mind, make sure to stock up on salmon on the weekly supermarket shop.
2. Greek Yogurt
Not only is Greek yogurt good for you(opens in new tab) and delicious. It’s also scientifically proven to help burn body fat too.
“Greek yogurt can really help with fat burning but it needs to be the full fat variety,” says Suzie, a clinical nutritionist from Feel Alive UK(opens in new tab).
“Firstly, full fat Greek yogurt contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which promotes fat burning. And secondly, probiotics naturally found in the yogurt support the good gut bacteria which is key to any weight loss programme.”
This is important, Suzie notes, as the more overweight the person, the more imbalanced the bacteria in their gut. And it’s this imbalance that makes it harder to lose fat overall.
As for Greek Yogurt’s fat-burning qualities – researchers in Journal of Nutrition study(opens in new tab) reported that the amino acids, vitamin D and calcium it contains speed ups fat burning. And this was certainly proven by one University of Tennessee study(opens in new tab). Participants who cut calories and ate just over 500g of yogurt daily lost an incredible 81% more belly fat than their counterparts.
Suffice to say we’ll be drizzling over our granola and adding to our morning smoothies in the hopes of reaping the same rewards.
3. Dark Chocolate
It seems that dark chocolate is good for you(opens in new tab), your body AND your waistline. Win-win!
According to nutritionist David, it reduces sugar cravings, leaves you feeling full and fires up your metabolism.
“Dark chocolate is packed with monounsaturated fatty acids which help boost your metabolism,” says David. “And as a result you will burn calories faster.
“However, when choosing dark chocolate make sure you check the ingredients as many are still packed full of sugar.”
What’s more, science has shown that giving in to the evening chocolate munchies might actually work in our favour. In one 2021 study(opens in new tab), women who ate chocolate at night (compared to those during the day) had a better metabolism and lost weight from around their middle after two weeks.
But be warned: whilst there was evident weight loss, researchers advised against regularly overindulging in chocolate due to its overall high calorie content.
Our experts have given these cute tiny trees the green light as one of the best fat burning foods for weight loss.
“Broccoli and its counterparts – like cauliflower and Brussels sprouts – are super high in fibre and nutrients that keep your body burning fat,” says registered dietician Claire Muszalski of MyProtein(opens in new tab).
Broccoli contains calcium, which is good for both healthy joints(opens in new tab) and weight loss, according to researchers. One University of Tennessee study(opens in new tab) found that calcium in fact controls how fat is processed and stored in the body. And that the more calcium in a fat cell, the more fat that cell will burn.
Meanwhile, Scientists at Kanazawa University(opens in new tab) in Japan delved into the science of broccoli further. And credited the chemical Sulforaphane, found in this mighty green veg, as the key to fighting flab.
They discovered this chemical not only encourages brown fat cells to speed up your metabolism, but it also helps to beat the bloat after a particularly salty meal.
A word to the wise though – steaming this green superfood is the best way to reap the full fat-burning effects. This is because steaming broccoli gives you the best chance of absorbing it’s nutrients. And of course frying broccoli carries extra calories if seasoned and brushed with olive oil.
Nibbling nuts on the regular has a number of nutritional benefits to our bodies, says nutritionist David.
“Nuts, specifically almonds, are a great source of magnesium and healthy fats. These healthy fats also provide antioxidants, which both fight and repair the damage caused by inflammation,” he tells us.
Indeed, almonds in particular are something of a fat burning superfood, according to one US study(opens in new tab). With overweight participants who enjoyed almonds as part of a low-calorie diet losing 50 percent more fat overall and around their weight compared to the other test group.
“They’re also a good source of protein, and as such they require the body to use more energy during the digestive process which can boost your metabolism and help burn more calories,” he adds.
And this was certainly the case with one European Journal of Nutrition study(opens in new tab) which find those who included nuts in their diet were at less risk of gaining weight or becoming obese.
So far, so good. But Suzie notes that whilst peanuts may be tasty, these are not the nuts in question when discussing fat-burning foods.
“Though nuts are really healthy, they are high in fats (although mainly healthy fats) but they do need to be eaten in moderation in order for any benefits to be noticed,” she adds.
6. Green Tea
Glugging a mug of green tea can do wonders for your waistline. With this herbal tea hailed as on of the best fat-burning foods out there.
“Green tea is known to be thermogenic, or a fat-burner,” Suzie tells us. “It’s loaded with antioxidants called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) which helps speed up metabolism. Plus green tea also contains a small amount of caffeine, and research has found it to speed up metabolic rate and increase fat-burning if drunk before exercise.”
She’s not wrong either, with one German study finding that the antioxidants in green tea promoted fat breakdown. Then there’s the University of Birmingham study(opens in new tab) which reported that men who took a green tea extract before a workout burned 17 percent more fat than those who didn’t. So be sure to sip some regularly before a gym session for maximum potential.
Mind you, dietician Claire adds that you don’t necessarily have to drink green tea to get the goodness. “This nootropic tea can be used in its beverage form or found as a supplement to support a healthy metabolism,” she says.
Starting the day off with some hearty eggs – as part of a high-protein breakfast(opens in new tab) – is great for weight loss.
One 2010 study(opens in new tab) gave one male group an egg breakfast and the other a bagel breakfast which contained the same calories. And they found that those who enjoyed eggs in the morning ate less during the remainder of the day. Which is great news if you’re making a conscious efforts to watch the calories
Another study(opens in new tab) with a similar egg vs bagel diet found that after eight weeks, those on the egg diet lost over 30% round their waists and saw a decrease in overall body fat percentage too.
The reason eggs are good for you(opens in new tab) and your weight loss goals? It’s all down to protein says Suzie:
“Eggs are one high-protein food(opens in new tab) that can promote fat-burning,” she says. “Protein speeds up metabolic rate in any case, which can be as much as 30% after eating high quality protein. Furthermore, protein is essential for building and maintaining muscle mass and the more muscle you have, the more metabolically active you’ll be.”
As Suzie rightly states: “With around 234 calories and 20 grams of fat per fruit, avocados would not be a natural ‘go-to’ when trying to burn fat and lose weight. However, research says otherwise.”
One 2019 study(opens in new tab) found that eating an avocado daily, as part of a calorie-controlled diet, aided weight loss in participants.
And the benefits of avocado(opens in new tab) don’t stop there, with another study(opens in new tab) finding that those who ate this fat burning food for breakfast or lunch were less likely to over-eat during the rest of the day.
Nutritionist Suzie links this to research that avocados helps stimulate leptin – our appetite suppressing hormone – which helps us feel fuller and satisfied.
She does share a word of warning though not to combine your avocado munching with other high-fat foods.
“If you’re including avos frequently into your diet (and they are nutritional powerhouses), but you eat too much additional fat or calories from other foods, then your fat may be stubborn to shift,” she adds.
As the saying goes – little and often is the mantra to follow in this instance.
Sadly the verdict is out on our beloved Heinz baked beans. But did you know that other beans, particularly cannellini beans are a common fat-burning food?
50 obese adults were given a white bean extract twice a day for eight weeks whilst on a low-fat diet in one 2011 study. And scientists found that those in the bean research group lost more weight and had a better control of their blood sugar levels.
As David explains: “White beans such as cannellini beans act as alpha amylase inhibitors, which simply means they can slow down the absorption of carbohydrates by blocking the enzymes needed for their digestion.
“This means you do not get a high blood sugar spike after eating them, which can result in the laying down of more fat around the body.”
Add into your stews and soups or scatter over a salad to get your lean bean fix.
Be it a breast, a thigh or a good old chicken drumstick – Chicken has earnt a spot on our fat burning foods round-up. With research showing that this popular poultry can aid weight loss.
A study by the University of Navarra(opens in new tab) found that those who frequently ate chicken as part of a balanced diet, experienced a “significant weight reduction mainly due to the loss of fat mass”.
Dietician Claire explains that this is due to chicken’s high protein nature:
“Lean protein sources, like chicken, actually take more energy (or calories) to digest than simple carbs do,” she tells us. “Eating lean protein also protects your muscle mass when you’re in a calorie deficit, and lean mass burns more calories than fat.”
Another study(opens in new tab) found that chicken is also effective in making us feel full after a meal. As the amino acids in it makes our brains recognise that we are full afterwards.
Just of course be aware that sadly deep fried chicken does not carry the same nutritional benefits. And is best avoided or eaten as a rare treat.
Foods to Avoid for Weight Loss
Consuming certain kinds of food can lead to unnecessary weight gain. It is ideal to avoid foods that have too many calories and can be harmful to one’s health. Here’s a list of foods that one must avoid in their weight loss journey.
1. Sweetened Drinks
Most of the aerated beverages available in the market have been doused with sugars and preservatives. Sugar has no nutritional value and is added only for taste.
Liquid calories also increase your appetite, making you consume more food than usual. This study proves the aforementioned claims about the relation between sugary drinks and weight gain. Cut out sweetened beverages from your diet and drink plenty of water to see proper weight loss results.
2. Processed Foods
Avoid eating processed foods like biscuits, chips, pastries, candies, ice cream and other quick snacks. These processed foods are packed with preservatives, refined flour and unhealthy ingredients.
There’s documented evidence that links processed foods and obesity. Choose to eat healthy snacks like fruits and nuts as alternatives. Processed foods have an undesirable amount of sodium present in them and high sodium intake leads to an elevated risk of obesity.
3. Refined Flour
Refined flour or maida lacks nutritional value. As it has been subjected to a heavy manufacturing process, it loses its health benefits and is packed with empty calories. Research indicates that the degree of food processing has an effect on its consumer’s body weight. It has been known to cause health problems when consumed in excess.
Another research has proven that heavily processed foods cause overeating and subsequent weight gain. Choose healthier options like whole wheat flour or healthy grains instead of refined flour.
4. Junk Foods
Although junk food is delicious, it only has that taste due to the number of artificial ingredients added to it. Junk food contains large amounts of fats, sugar, salt and carbohydrates and negligible to no minerals and vitamins that cause weight gain.
In addition, you tend to eat more junk food because even large amounts can keep you unsatiated. It leads to binge eating and becomes another cause of abnormal weight gain. Junk food uses artificial colour and flavouring and is known to increase cholesterol substantially. Cut out junk food from your diet to see a significant weight loss.
5. Chocolates and Candies
Chocolates and candies are known to be packed with sugars and other sweetening agents. Excessive consumption of chocolates and candies can lead to increased blood sugar and diabetes in the long run.
A healthier alternative is to consume pure dark chocolate, as it is known to not have sugars and is also significantly lower in calories. Consuming a small piece of dark chocolate a day has been known to be good for heart health.
The fallouts of alcohol consumption are exponentially high as proven by studies. One way alcohol negatively impacts your body is by increasing the risk of abdominal obesity. Beer, in particular, is filled with carbohydrates and is known to cause an increase in weight over time. Alcohol consumption causes greater hunger and less satiety further pushing one to make poor food choices.
It further causes stress on the stomach and the intestines. This leads to a decrease in digestive secretions through the tract which is essential for healthy digestion. Alcohol intake of all levels can lead to impaired digestion and absorption of these nutrients.
This can greatly affect the metabolism of organs that play a role in weight management. Interestingly, most people consume lots of snacks when they are drinking. Combining fatty and processed foods with alcohol can lead to a significant increase in weight. Most people add some aerated or sugary beverage with their drink, which can unknowingly lead them to consume much more calories than needed.
7. Breakfast Cereals
Although most breakfast cereals have been advertised as a healthy and nutritious way to start the day, academic probes have proven that they are not as healthy as one may expect. These cereals undergo a multi-step manufacturing method and lose a majority of their nutritional value in the process.
They are also filled with added sugars and artificial flavours to appeal to the masses, kids in particular. Foods that are advertised as ‘fat-free’ are also filled with artificial sweeteners to make up for the lost taste. Choose to eat healthy and fresh home-cooked food for breakfast to start your day on the right note.