17 Foods that Help You Lose Weight
You probably know exactly which foods helped you pile on the pounds, but what about foods that help you lose weight? Here's a rundown of 17 weight-loss wonders that may just help you shed some pounds.
Eat your eggs! In a 2007 weight loss study, researchers found that overweight women who ate eggs for breakfast felt more satisfied and went on to consume fewer calories during the day compared to women who chose a bagel for their morning meal. Why are eggs so egg-cellent when it comes to losing weight? Other research has shown that scrambled, baked, or poached, protein-packed eggs help stave off cravings by keeping blood sugar levels in balance. Need to eat breakfast on the run? Try a classic hard-boiled egg.
2. Steel Cut Oats
Give your weight loss efforts a rib-sticking kick start with a steamy bowl of steel cut oats, a “whole oat” cereal that is packed with plenty of filling fiber, vitamins and minerals, and just enough slow-burning carbohydrates to keep energy levels soaring all morning long. Including steel cut oats in your diet may also help you avoid diseases related to being overweight. As a study published in the
American Journal of Public Health found, eating one serving of oatmeal (1 cup cooked) five to six times per week reduced risk for developing type 2 diabetes by as much as 39 percent. Try this recipe for Overnight Irish Oatmeal and enjoy it in the morning!
3. Broth Soups
Soup fills you up, but don’t let it fill you out. Made with milk and butter, cream-based soups, even healthy sounding ones like “cream of broccoli,” can really pack in the calories and excess fat, just what you don’t need when you are trying to lose weight. Because broth is almost calorie-free (while still being full of flavor), opt instead for broth-based soups when you need is a quick, filling lunch or small dinner. Another trick for low-calorie soup? Use canned tomatoes, with their liquid, for a light, zesty broth. We like this savory, but still weight-loss friendly, recipe for Midwinter Vegetable Soup.
Turns out that eating grapefruit to lose weight might not be just another diet gimmick. According to research published in a 2006 issue of the Journal of Medicinal Food, a study of 100 obese men and women found that consuming half of a grapefruit before meals (and making no other dietary changes) resulted in an average weight loss of 3.6 pounds over the 12-week study period, with some participants losing up to 10 pounds. Researchers speculated that a plant compound in grapefruit led to lower insulin levels after meals, helping the body to more efficiently use food for energy rather than storing it as fat. For a festive spin on grapefruit, try lively Citrus Salad (skipping the added sugar).
It’s vinegar to the rescue! Acetic acid in vinegar appears to slow down the rate at which food passes from the stomach into the small intestine, meaning you get to feel full for a longer period of time when you add vinegar to the menu. Vinegar can also break the vicious cycle of rising and crashing blood sugar levels. In 2010, a study published in the
Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism found that ingesting 2 teaspoons of vinegar at meals reduced the body’s glycemic response (how high blood sugar levels rise after eating) by about 20 percent.
6. Olive Oil
Eating fat helps trigger feelings of satiety, the natural signals our brains look for to tell us we’re full. As always, the type of fat you eat matters. Trans fats, often found in processed snack foods and other unhealthy food picks, are still on the “do not eat” list—saturated fats, in meats and other animal products, are best eaten only in moderation. So what fat should your diet feature? Olive oil. Not only can the heart-healthy mono-unsaturated oil help control food cravings, but olive oil may actually help you burn fat. According to a study from Australia, women who laced their morning bowl of cereal with olive oil went on to burn more calories during the day. Oatmeal with olive oil sound gross? Try a lunchtime salad with a simple oil and vinegar dressing.
Eat a salad before your main meal and put the bulk principle to work for you! According to a study from Penn State University, women who ate large salads before a main course of pasta was served consumed 12 percent less pasta than women who skipped salad. The secret to the weight loss trick is simple. If you load up on salad made from low-calorie vegetables, the sheer volume of food already in your stomach will probably make it impossible to over-indulge in more calorie-laden foods. Just don’t sabotage your salad with creamy dressings. Instead, stick with plain oil and vinegar for zest, flavor and maybe even an extra boost for weight loss.
Naturally sweet and filled with fiber, take pleasure in eating pears when you are trying to lose weight. In a Brazilian study of 411 overweight women with high cholesterol, eating three pears (or three apples) every day increased weight loss 2.7 pounds over the study period, compared to a typical weight loss of 1.8 pounds for women with minimal fruit intake. Likewise, women who ate pears had a greater reduction in overall calorie intake. Researchers believe women may have been able to get by on fewer calories because pears fulfill the urge to indulge in sweet treats. Work pears—and a tummy-filling salad—into your diet by diving into Green Salad with Pears and Gorgonzola.
9. Green Tea
Sip your way to weight loss success! Health proponents of green tea point to studies that show plant-based substances in the tea, called catechins, trigger weight loss by stimulating the body to burn calories and decrease body fat. Caffeine in green tea may also keep your
energy levels afloat, even when you are eating less. To reap the weight loss benefits of green tea, you need to drink about four cups of tea a day.
But wait, there’s more! The soothing tea is also believed to contain anti-cancer properties and is rich in L-theanine, an amino acid that is a natural stress and anxiety reliever—a nice side bonus for stressed out moms.
10. Hot Peppers
Capsaicin, the compound in hot peppers that gives them their heat, can also add a little spice to your weight-loss efforts. According to a small study of Japanese women, those who ate breakfast foods made with red pepper ate less than they normally did at lunch, leading researchers to believe that capsaicin may act as a natural appetite suppressant. Want to test this theory out? It’s as easy as tossing in some diced hot pepper with your next order of morning eggs.
When it comes to weight loss, sometimes it’s OK to go a little nuts! According to a study from Purdue University, adults who ate 500 calories worth of peanuts compensated by cutting back on calories at other meals and snacks during the day, probably because fats and proteins in nuts kept participants feeling full. Even Harvard Medical School has jumped on the nut bandwagon, finding that eating peanuts and peanut butter as part of a Mediterranean, moderate-fat diet is more effective for weight loss than the typical low-fat diet. So start munching! Try a handful of peanuts and a small apple at your next snack. We like Asian-inspired Peanut Noodles and Shredded Chicken and Vegetables.
There’s nothing fishy about this weight loss food, even if it is… fish! Salmon is naturally rich in omega-3 fatty acids, “healthy fats” that appear to alter the levels of a hormone in your body called leptin. As some studies have found, lower leptin levels may be associated with higher caloric burn and steadier weight loss. Confused about cooking fish? Try safe, fast, and easy Roasted Salmon with Ginger Cilantro Vinaigrette. Just can’t stomach salmon? Non-fish lovers can still get the benefits of omega-3s by eating walnuts and flaxseed.
13. Lean Beef
In a 2004 Journal of Nutrition study comparing low-fat diets that were moderately high in protein with low-fat diets that were higher in carbohydrates, researchers found that adults who followed moderately high-protein diets did not complain of hunger and were much more satisfied than those on the higher-carbohydrate diet—two essential key for weight loss. Why lean beef as a source of protein? A 3-ounce serving of lean beef contains less than 200 calories, yet provides more than 10 essential nutrients, including iron, zinc, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, niacin, riboflavin, choline, selenium, phosphorous, and yes, protein. Another study found that beef contains relatively large amounts of leucine, a compound which helps the body to maintain muscle mass during weight loss. For lean beef with spicy flare, try Beef and Bean Chile Verde.
14. Whole Grains
Why choose whole grains over their refined counterparts? According to at least one study, obese adults who ate four to seven daily servings of whole-grain foods as part of a healthy weight-loss diet lost twice as much fat as those who continued to eat refined grains. Researchers speculate that fiber-filled whole grains keep blood sugar levels stable and insulin levels lower, both of which can make it easier for the body to burn fat. On the other hand, foods made with processed grains and flours (including most snack food favorites) can lead to a sudden influx of sugar, which often ends up as stored fat—and weight gain. Whole grains to try? Swap out the refined grains for brown rice, whole grain breads, and whole wheat pastas. Whole grains also provide key trace minerals for your good health, including zinc, selenium, and manganese.
An apple a day keeps extra calories at bay? According to a Penn State University study, people who ate an apple about 15 minutes before lunch consumed almost 190 fewer calories than when they didn’t have the apple. As reported by
USA Today, participants were given either nothing, one and a half medium peeled, cut-up apples (about 125 calories), a similar caloric amount of applesauce or apple juice. About 15 minutes later, participants were served an entree of cheese tortellini and tomato sauce. Those who had the raw apple consumed 187 fewer calories than at the meals when they had applesauce, juice or nothing. Researchers believe that when we crunch and chomp our way through an entire apple, our brains receive signals that we are becoming full.
Low in fat, beans provide your weight-loss diet with a quality source of vegetarian protein along with plenty of fiber, and a rich variety of vitamins and minerals, including iron. To help you stick with healthier food choices, beans also contain cholecystokinin, a digestive hormone that acts as a natural appetite suppressant. According to researchers from the University of California at Davis, a small study of eight men found that levels of cholecystokinin were twice as high after a meal containing beans than after a low-fiber meal containing rice and dry milk. So bulk up! We like this simple, yet still hearty Hurry-Up Black Bean Soup.
17. Umeboshi Plums
Is your sweet tooth thwarting your best efforts to lose weight? In certain branches of Eastern medicine, it is thought that a craving for one kind of food can best be cured by eating its opposite taste. Enter umeboshi plums, an extraordinarily sour and salty pickled fruit from Japan. Keep a jar of umeboshi plum paste handy (you can find umeboshi at most Asian grocery stores). The next time a sugar craving strikes, dip the spoon in the jar and then give it a lick. The sourness should shock your taste buds into submission. Whole umeboshi can also be served with rice for a light dinner.
It’s no secret that Hollywood moms have a few advantages when it comes to shedding post-baby pounds, namely, personal chefs, trainers, and often good old-fashioned genetics. But they’ve got a few weight loss tricks up their sleeves.view gallery
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