There are as many so-called ‘best ways to lose weight’ articles as there are weight loss enthusiasts. However, why waste time on these unproven methods when time and again, science has shown that eating healthy and regular exercise is the way to lose weight?
Having said that, eating healthy’ is a broad term and mean different things to different people. To more accurately define the meaning of eating healthy’, we show you 22 foods that will aid you in your weight loss journey.
Do you love bagels in the morning? Replace them with eggs if you want to lose weight.
Research shows that eggs in the morning keep your tummy full for longer. In the study, researchers noted that participants who ate two scrambled eggs, plus two slices of toast and low-sugar fruit spread, consumed fewer calories over the next 36 hours than participants who consumed a bagel breakfast with the same number of calories as the first meal.
Eggs are a rich source of protein, an important nutrient for you if you want to lose weight. The reasons are two-fold.
One, protein prevents spikes in blood sugar levels. The sharp rise and then fall in blood sugar levels lead to food cravings for calorie-rich foods. So, in effect protein helps reduce food cravings.
Two, gram for gram, protein keeps you full for more time than carbohydrates – read ‘bagels’.
There is so much to weight loss that many of us do not know about. Take for instance cholecystokinin. Do you know what it is, or do you know that it is a great weight-loss pal to have?
Cholecystokinin is a digestive hormone that plays a key role in the digestion of fat and protein. It also acts as an appetite suppressant.
One way to have more cholecystokinin is by eating beans. Researchers found that levels of this hormone increased two times after a meal of having beans in it than after a low-fiber meal.
Great news for salad lovers: you can eat as much salad as you want without worrying about your calorie intake, as long as you steer clear of those creamy dressings!
A research done by researchers at Penn State University showed that women who consumed salad ate 12% less pasta than women who were not offered salad.
You can have salad as a meal, or as an appetizer before a main course so that you eat less of the main course and more greens!
4 Green Tea
Some claim green tea to be the healthiest beverage, and a look at the benefits it provides can probably justify the claims.
Green tea is loaded with powerful antioxidants known as catechins which provide many health benefits, one of which is increased metabolism. Several studies have shown that drinking green tea helps one to burn up to 3-4 percent more calories daily.
In a Japanese study, participants who drank tea mixed with catechins (found in green tea) reported higher metabolism, weight loss and an overall reduction in their body mass index (BMI).
No other fruit contains as much fiber as pears. A medium-sized pear provides you with six grams of fiber. Furthermore, the fiber derived from pears contains pectin, which helps reduce the levels of sugar in our blood and thereby prevents between-meal snacking. Apples are also rich in pectin-fiber but contain less fiber than pears.
Consider adding pears or apples to your daily diet. In a Brazilian study, women who consumed 3 small apples or pears daily lost more weight than participants who were on the same diet but ate 3 oat cookies instead.
Researchers found that a cup of delicious chicken soup blunts appetite just as effectively as a piece of chicken.
Why is a simple soup so filling? Experts believe our brain perceives soup (probably due to solid chicken chunks in it) and other solid ingredients to be just as filling as a piece of chicken.
7 Olive Oil
Extra virgin oil is another great choice to fight off extra pounds. In an Australian study, participants who consumed a cereal meal dressed with skim milk and half an ounce of extra virgin olive meal for breakfast lost more weight than participants who ate a cereal meal dressed with skim milk and cream.
In case the idea of dressing oatmeal with olive oil does not appeal to you, do not worry. Olive oil works equally well in salad dressing, so remember to replace your salad dressing with some olive oil!
8 Cruciferous Vegetables
Much like other vegetables, cruciferous vegetables are a great source of fiber and extremely filling. They also contain good amounts of protein when compared to other types of vegetable.
Because of its low-energy-density, high fiber and protein, cruciferous vegetables are a good choice for anyone looking for healthy, filling foods that are not high in calories.
Cruciferous vegetables contain many cancer-fighting substances and have a high nutritional value as well, two more reasons why you would want to eat more of these.
9 Chicken Breast And Lean Beef
In the past few decades, meat has been given a bad name without good reason. Many health problems have been linked to it, even in the absence of any reliable evidence.
Processed meat as we know now, of course, is not good for health, but that holds true for other processed foods too. On the other hand, unprocessed red meat, contrary to what many believe, is not linked to any increased risk of diabetes or heart disease.
Another health problem commonly linked to red meat is cancer. However, studies show that there is absolutely no correlation between red meat consumption and cancer in women, and an extremely low correlation between the two in men to make the findings noteworthy.
The fact of the matter is that meat is a good weight-loss food because of its high protein content. No other nutrient is as filling as protein and that explains why studies report that consuming a diet rich in protein can help you burn as many as 80-100 calories more on a daily basis.
Eating half a grapefruit half an hour before every meal can help you lose 3 pounds or more over 3 months! Drinking a serving of grapefruit juice three times daily also has the same effect.
The weight-loss abilities of grapefruit are attributed to phytochemicals present in it. Phytochemicals lower the levels of insulin in the blood, as a result of which the body starts converting calories into energy instead of fat.
11 Chili Pepper
Chili peppers contain capsaicin, an ingredient that some studies have shown to be linked to reduced appetite and improved fat burning. In fact, capsaicin is used in many weight-loss supplements.
According to a study, for people who do not normally eat red chili pepper and subsequently consume 1 gram of it, they experienced a reduction in appetite and an increase in fat burning.
Do note however that this effect was observed only in people who had never eaten chili pepper before. Those who commonly ate spicy food did not experience the same results.
12 Apple Cider Vinegar
Vinegar provides many health benefits. It lowers insulin levels and blood pressure and can help with weight loss too.
Apple cider vinegar promotes satiety. In other words, it helps you consume fewer calories, and this, in turn, helps you maintain or lose weight. According to a Swedish study, people who consumed bread dipped in vinegar reported better satiety than people who ate plain bread slices.
Vinegar contains acetic acid which is believed to slow the speed with which food passes from the stomach to the small intestine, resulting in you feeling full for a longer time.
Tofu feels light, but that does not mean it is not filling. Researchers pinned tofu against chicken to find which of the two is a better pre-meal appetizer. Participants who had tofu ate less amounts of food during the meal than those who consumed chicken!
14 Chia Seeds
Nutrient labels can sometimes be misleading. Take the case of chia seeds, for instance. They offer 12g of carbohydrates per ounce which is regarded as moderately high. However, what the nutrient label may not tell you is that 11 of those 12g of carbs are fiber. That is why chia seeds are among the best sources of fiber and a great option for someone wanting to lose weight naturally.
Thanks to its high fiber content, chia seeds have the capacity to absorb 10 times their weight in water. As a result, they turn into a gel-like substance in the stomach and promote a feeling of fullness. Try this yourself!
15 Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is one of the most protein-rich dairy products. Most of its calories are from protein, with very little from fat and carbohydrates. You can easily increase your intake of protein by eating a lot of cottage cheese.
Cottage cheese is extremely filling, and as it is not a calorie-rich food, you feel full by consuming relatively fewer calories.
Avocados are unlike most other fruits. Almost every other fruit is loaded with sugars but not Avocados. Instead, they are rich in healthy fats.
Avocados are extremely rich in monounsaturated oleic acid. This is the same fat that is present in olive oil. In spite of high-fat content in avocados, they are not energy-dense as many think because they also have a high water content.
Add avocados to your salads or make it into a milkshake. Studies reveal that fats found in avocados help absorb nutrients from vegetables many times better.
17 Boiled Potatoes
Potatoes have more than one property that make them a good food to have for optimal health and weight loss. They contain a little bit of most of the nutrients that we need.
In a study done, it was found that boiled potatoes got the highest rating among all other foods tested on the satiety index (an index which measures the filling-ness of a food). The best way to consume potatoes is to boil it. Let them cool for a while, as they then turn into a fiber-like substance, ideal for weight loss as it will definitely keep you feeling full!
A favorite food of fitness models and bodybuilders, tuna is a great choice for anyone looking to up their protein intake. Tuna is a great source of pure protein and gram for gram contains fewer calories when compared to many other foods.
Looking for a healthy, satiating on-the-go snack? Try almonds for they are rich in monounsaturated fat, protein, and fiber, and promote a feeling of fullness too.
Numerous studies have revealed that eating almonds as a snack help one to consume lesser amounts of food during mealtimes. The key is to eat a handful of almonds at a time, equivalent to 1 ounce (or no more than 22 almonds).
20 Cacao Nibs
Many of us know that dark chocolate is good for the heart owing to its high antioxidant content, but have you ever wondered why exactly chocolate is so satisfying?
Dark chocolate contains ingredients that improve the levels of serotonin, a chemical messenger that helps regulate our mood. Much of the health benefits associated with dark chocolate come from cacao beans. As dark chocolate also contains sugar, many weight-loss experts recommend eating cacao beans directly in the form of cacao nibs, which contain as much as 9g of fiber in an ounce in comparison to 0 fiber in one ounce of a regular chocolate bar. Little wonder why one does not lose weight by eating chocolate bars!
21 Hot Oatmeal
Your mom was right when she told you to have oats. Just remember to have them cooked.
According to a study, people who ate oatmeal cooked with non-fat milk felt full for a longer time than those who ate oat cereal with non-fat milk. The total calorie count of both meals were exactly the same.
This is because beta-glucan found in oatmeal that has been cooked has better viscosity, which in turn keep dieters full for a longer period of time.
In addition to influencing metabolism, our gut health plays a key role in regulating satiety and mood. New studies show that gut health is closely linked to the diversity of the microbiome (gut bacteria).
To flourish, gut bacteria need dietary fiber. However, much of the fiber we consume does not last until the GI tract. Only cellulose and fructan fibers are long-chain. Leeks have one of the best fructan fiber density (eating 1 leek gives you 10 grams of fructan fiber).
Leeks are best eaten raw or lightly sautéed to ensure the fibers are not broken down before they enter our mouth!