What food will help you lose weight? Most people know that to lose weight, a calorie deficit is needed. That’s pretty much it.What food will help you lose weight? That’s where things get foggy. There are tons of diets out there, and it seems like they contradict each other on everything. Most diets will tell you things like “No carbs!”, “Don’t eat after 5pm” or “Eat 6 meals a day!”.
The Ultimate Guide from Nutrition
The search for the best weight loss foods can be quite a difficult task. With so many options in the market, people are often left confused and unmotivated.
Obesity has seen a rampant spike in the last decade. With easy access to processed foods and an unhealthy lifestyle, gaining unhealthy amounts of weight seems easier than ever. Obesity brings with it a long list of health complications. Long-term obesity can lead to the development of several health issues like diabetes and heart disease.
Switching to a healthy diet can work wonders for your health. Choosing to eat home-made, fresh and unprocessed food items can play a big role in averting chronic diseases.
8 Foods That Help You Lose Weight and Satisfy Your Stomach
Trying to lose a few pounds? Feeling full between meals can help. Here are eight foods to add to your shopping cart that are so satisfying, you won’t even realize you’re on a diet.
The secret to weight loss? Eating healthy foods that fill you up for longer periods of time.
Some weight-loss diets can leave you starving — and that’s not the goal. While eliminating processed foods from your grocery cart is a great way to lose weight and improve your health, especially ones that are high in empty calories, sugar, and unhealthy fats, what you add to your cart is just as important. Foods that are high in fiber and protein, for example, will satisfy you and help you avoid making unhealthy choices. Just remember, portion sizes are still key, says nutritionist Keith Kantor, PhD, of Suwanee, Georgia. Overeating — even if the food is healthy — won’t help you achieve weight-loss results. Here are eight foods that will help you slim down but also taste great and keep you full.
Eat Your Beans to Fill Up With Fiber
There are lots of reasons to put beans on your shopping list. Firstly, beans are an excellent source of fiber, and any food that’s high in fiber will be filling, says Christine Gerbstadt, MD, RD, author of Doctor’s Detox Diet: The Ultimate Weight Loss Prescription. One-half cup of black beans, for example, has 7 g of fiber, or 28 percent of your DV. One-cup of red kidney beans has 8 g of fiber, or 32 percent of your DV. And one-half cup of garbanzo beans has 6 g of fiber, or 24 percent of your DV.
Plus, fiber helps to fill you up without adding any calories to food (since our bodies can’t digest fiber), explains Kelly Kennedy, RD, staff nutritionist for Everyday Health. Fiber also takes longer to digest and adds bulk to food, she adds. A small study published in ISRN Obesity found that a high-fiber, bean-rich diet increased satiation and reduced hunger.
Beans also stimulate the production of the gut hormone cholecystokinin (CCK), which slows gastric emptying and can help to suppress appetite, Kennedy notes. All of these benefits may lead to weight loss. A study published in April 2014 the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics found that a high-fiber, bean-rich diet was as effective as a low-carbohydrate diet for losing weight.
Meal Prep Inspiration A veggie chili or a bean-based stew will fill you up without weighing you down, suggests Kennedy. She also loves the convenience of canned beans, which can be rinsed (to reduce the sodium content) and added to a rice dish or on top of a salad for more protein and fiber.
Savor Salmon to Feel Full, Longer
Why put salmon on your list of foods for weight loss? Among its many health benefits, salmon is a great source of protein — 3 ounces (oz) of wild Atlantic salmon has about 22 grams of protein. In a small study published in the journal Obesity, researchers at Purdue University found that men who were trying to lose weight felt full longer when they ate higher amounts of protein at each meal. The participants, who were put on a low-calorie, high-protein diet, also reported fewer food cravings throughout the day and didn’t crave unhealthy snacks late at night.
Protein-rich foods are filling foods because “protein is metabolized more slowly than fats or carbohydrates,” explains Dr. Gerbstadt. Salmon is also one of the best sources of heart-healthy fats known as omega-3 fatty acids, adds Kennedy.
Meal Prep Inspiration Try baking or grilling salmon — you can have a 3-oz portion for dinner and flake the leftovers over salad greens for lunch the next day, says Kennedy.
Enjoy Eggs for a Protein-Rich Breakfast
In an eight-week study published in the International Journal of Obesity, overweight men and women who ate two eggs for breakfast lost more weight than those who ate bagels. Eggs may help with weight loss because they are high in protein (one large egg has about 6 g), and it requires more energy to break down a protein than it does a starch, which many breakfast foods, including bagels, cereals, and muffins, are made up of, Dr. Kantor suggests.
If you’re worried about high cholesterol, you may want to consider eating more egg whites than yolks, but odds are you don’t have to worry too much. Some people are considered “hyper-responders” to dietary cholesterol (cholesterol in the foods we eat), but it’s a small percentage of the population, says Kennedy. For the majority of people, eating foods with cholesterol does not significantly affect their blood cholesterol levels. The current recommendation from the American Heart Association is that most people should eat seven yolks or less per week.
Meal Prep Inspiration Add hard-boiled eggs to your salad for a low-calorie protein, or try egg whites and cucumber with salt and pepper for a snack, says Kennedy.
Nosh on Nuts to Decrease Your Appetite
Nuts pack in protein and fiber, according to the Mayo Clinic, which makes them filling foods. A daily serving may also help you lose weight, according to a preliminary study presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2018 in Chicago. Another study published in the Journal of Proteome Research found that people on a 12-week diet that included a handful of mixed nuts daily had higher levels of serotonin, which is a hormone that can decrease appetite, than those who didn’t eat nuts.
However, the calories from nuts and nut butters can add up quickly because they are such a rich source of healthy fats, says Kennedy. While this fat is not a bad thing and is actually good for you, it’s important to keep an eye on portion size when consuming nuts. Kennedy recommends keeping your portion size to 1.5 oz, or a small handful of nuts, each day. (The amount of fat differs from nut to nut; for example, 1.5 oz of whole almonds have about 21 g of fat). If you find that you’re not losing weight, take a look at your portion of nuts again and see if you need to make adjustments. It’s also important to choose nuts without any added fat, sugar, or salt, which can decrease the overall healthfulness of the nuts, Kennedy advises.
Smart Snacking Tip Thinly spread 1 tablespoon of peanut butter or almond butter on a piece of whole-wheat toast for breakfast and add a sprinkle of slivered almonds on steamed green beans at dinner, says Kennedy.
Pop Some Popcorn for a Guilt-Free Snack
Your stomach lags behind your brain — it takes about 20 minutes for digestive hormones to send the signal to your brain that you’re filling up, says Kennedy. That’s one reason popcorn is high on Gerbstadt’s list of foods that can help you lose weight: It takes a long time to eat popcorn, and the more slowly you eat, the more likely you are to start feeling full before you overdo it.
Popcorn is also a good source of fiber, making it a filling food, too, says Kennedy. One cup of air-popped popcorn has 1.2 g of fiber, but since a serving of popcorn is usually considered to be more than 1 cup, the fiber adds up. To be considered a good source of fiber, a food has to contain just 2.5 g of fiber — this can be reached at just (about) 2 cups of popcorn.
Smart Snacking Tip Use a hot-air popper and you’ll save on fat and calories, Gerbstadt says. Or pop your corn on the stove with a minimal amount of oil, suggests Kennedy.
Go for Greek Yogurt for More Protein and Less Sugar
Greek yogurt is another chart-topper on the list of smart foods for weight loss, says Kantor. It’s a great choice because it has more protein and less sugar than most other yogurts. While the amount of protein can vary from brand to brand, one 7-oz container of plain, lowfat Greek yogurt has about 20 g of protein and 7 g of sugar (this sugar is naturally occurring from the lactose in the milk and not added sugar).
Greek yogurt is also a good source of calcium, with about 230 millgrams per 7-oz container (about 18 percent of your DV). A study published in the journal Diabetes Care found that a diet rich in dairy calcium intake enhances weight reduction in people with type 2 diabetes.
Meal Prep Inspiration Make a parfait of Greek yogurt and fresh fruit for breakfast or as a dessert, or use Greek yogurt as a base for thick and creamy smoothies, suggests Kennedy, who recommends using plain Greek yogurt without any added sugars.
Choose Chili Peppers to Boost Your Metabolism
The higher your metabolism, the more calories you burn, even when you’re at rest, says Kennedy. Various studies, such as one published in June 2017 in the journal Bioscience Reports, have suggested that capsaicin, the active ingredient in chilies and other peppers that makes them spicy, may help boost metabolism (although no individual food has been proven to increase metabolism to the point of leading to weight loss, Kennedy notes). One small study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that people who added capsaicin to their high-fat and high-carb breakfasts decreased protein and fat intake at lunch, and felt more satisfied and less hungry.
Meal Prep Inspiration Try spicing up your morning eggs with chili peppers, fixing a breakfast burrito or tacos with chilies, or making yourself a bowl of piping hot chili with red beans for an early lunch, says Kennedy.
Drink More Water to Avoid Overeating
Water should be a staple on your list of foods for weight loss, even though it isn’t a “food” per se. A study published in 2014 the Journal of Natural Science, Biology, and Medicine found that drinking more water (more than the usual intake) reduced weight and body fat and suppressed appetite in overweight female participants. Another study, published in the July–August 2016 issue of Annals of Family Medicine, found a significant association between inadequate hydration and elevated body mass index (BMI), and inadequate hydration and obesity.
“I recommend you drink a glass of water before you eat and between servings,” Kantor says. And if you’re drinking alcohol, he suggests having a glass of plain water between drinks. “Your intestines can only hold so much volume,” Kantor says. “Water will fill you up quickly and prevent you from overdoing it on foods and drinks that don’t help with weight loss.”
Also, some people overeat because they mistake thirst for hunger. The parts of the brain where the body assesses hunger and thirst are very close together, explains Kennedy. For this reason, it’s very common for someone to feel hungry when they’re really just dehydrated. Staying well-hydrated is the best way to make sure than any hunger pangs are actually hunger.
Meet Your Daily Quota In general, people should drink a lot more water than they actually do, says Kennedy. If you feel thirsty, your body is already dehydrated. Fluid needs vary by age, gender, weight, and activity level. While the recommendation of at least eight 8-oz glasses is easy to remember, it isn’t the most accurate. The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (formerly the IOM) recommends 2.7 liters of total water for women and 3.7 liters of total water for men each day. This water comes from both beverages and food.
7 Top Fruits to Support Weight Loss
High-Fiber Apples Allow You to Get Your Sweet Fix on the Go
Atlanta-based Kristen Smith, RDN, spokesperson for Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and registered dietitian for Piedmont Healthcare, says apples are high in fiber but low in calories, which, like many fruits, makes them a wise food choice if you’re trying to lose weight.
“Foods with increased fiber can help slow digestion and keep you feeling satiated for longer periods of time,” Smith says. “For optimal satiety and fiber intake, keep the skin on.”
One medium-sized apple provides 4.37 grams (g) of fiber, which offers 16 percent of the daily value (DV), along with 96.4 calories, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Past research established the connection between consuming fiber-rich foods and managing weight.
How to Enjoy
Smith recommends topping your favorite salad with apple slices, dipping them in Greek yogurt as a snack, or adding them to oatmeal for natural sweetness.
Protein-rich Greek yogurt provides a whopping 14.9 g in each 150-g container of the plain, low-fat variety, according to the USDA. What’s more, thanks in part to its protein, Greek yogurt can make for a good weight loss companion, noted a review published in July 2015 in Nutrition Reviews. And pairing your apple with oats is also smart for your waistline, considering they offer an extra helping of fiber. According to the USDA, each ½ cup of oats serving provides 4 g, which is 14 percent of the DV.
If you prefer a no-frills snack, simply grab an apple and go. Their portability is part of their appeal.
Raspberries Are One of the Best Sources of Fiber
iStock; Everyday Health
Because of their sweetness, raspberries can help satisfy a sugar craving, Smith says. These offer fiber as well as antioxidants, which combat harmful substances called free radicals in the body, research has shown. According to the USDA, 1 cup of raspberries has 8 g of fiber, offering 28 percent of the DV and making them an excellent source.
Berries, in particular, are often categorized as superfoods because their high levels of vitamin C and vitamin E, which are antioxidants that help fend off chronic disease, according to a March 2018 article in Frontiers in Pharmacology. A cup of raspberries gives you 32 mg of vitamin C — 35 percent of your DV — and 1.07 mg of vitamin E, 7 percent of your DV, according to the USDA.
How to Enjoy
Though raspberries make good additions to salads and yogurts, too, Smith points out that these make a great snack on their own. Take a break, have a handful, and eat them slowly. You’ll boost your mindful eating, plus get your sweetness.
Whole Oranges, Not Juice, Are Weight Loss-Friendly
iStock; Everyday Health
A medium-sized orange provides 3.14 g of fiber, or 11 percent of your DV, per the USDA. But that only applies if you’re eating the fruit itself, so keep this in mind if you’re eating to trim your waistline.
“Avoid orange juice and eat a whole or cut-up orange instead,” she says. “Also, oranges are packed with vitamin C, which offer several health benefits, like boosting your immune system, helping your body make collagen, and aiding with iron absorption.” According to the USDA, a medium-sized orange has 69.7 mg of vitamin C, 77 percent of your DV.
How to Enjoy
Whip up an orange salsa, Smith suggests, and use it to top chicken breast or fish to get your vitamin C and protein fix. Making sure you keep up on your protein requirements is a good strategy for weight loss, according to a June 2015 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, because it helps you feel full for longer. Harvard University notes you need 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight, so a 150-pound person would need 54 g of protein daily.
Mangoes Are a Metabolism-Boosting Treat
Talk about a major sweetness superhero — mangoes offer that no-sugar fix you want, and they can even help improve your metabolism and lower inflammation, says Lawder. A small, short-term study published in April 2017 in The FASEB Journal found that mango lowered blood pressure and helped with blood sugar regulation, both of which play a role in metabolism. It also improved inflammation markers, the research noted.
And of course, they offer a nice helping of weight-supportive fiber. In one mango, you get 3.31 g of fiber, which is about 12 percent of the DV, per the USDA.
How to Enjoy
After cutting into slices or pieces, sprinkle a little chili powder and lime juice on top, Lawder says. This will provide a flavorful snack; plus, the kick may boost this snack’s weight loss potential. A review published in June 2017 in the International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition found that the active ingredient in chile peppers, capsaicin, may accelerate weight loss efforts.
How To Cut It: Mango
Mangos are full of key nutrients including vitamin C, but do you know how to cut them? The Millennial Chef shows you how…see more
Avocados Have Good Fats to Help You Feel Full Longer
iStock; Everyday Health
Like tomatoes, you may not think of avocados as a fruit. But while they may look odd in a fruit bowl, avocados can be a top addition when it comes to weight loss goals, says Lawder. That’s because they’re one of the fattiest plant foods available, and the USDA notes that about 77 percent of an avocado’s calories come from fat — the good kind.
“The monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids in avocados have been linked to better heart health, and they increase your satiation level by a large degree,” Lawder says. Fiber also contributes to avocados’ satiating effect: One-half an avocado provides 4.55 g fiber, or nearly 16 percent of the DV, notes the USDA.
A study published in April 2019 in Nutrients showed that overweight and obese participants who ate avocados as part of a meal felt less hungry after six hours compared with those who’d eaten a low-fat, high-carb meal.
How to Enjoy
After cutting a ripe fruit carefully, throw the pieces into a blender for a green smoothie, Lawder suggests, The texture of the avocado creates a creamy, thicker drink, like a milkshake, and you can add in all sorts of nutritious standouts, like banana, kale, chard, and Greek yogurt.