Different foods go through different metabolic pathways in the body.
They can have vastly different effects on hunger, hormones and how many calories we burn.
Here are the 20 most weight loss friendly foods on earth, that are supported by science.
Once feared for being high in cholesterol, whole eggs have been making a comeback.
New studies show that they don’t adversely affect blood cholesterol and don’t cause heart attacks .
What’s more… they are among the best foods you can eat if you need to lose weight.
They’re high in protein, healthy fats, and can make you feel full with a very low amount of calories.
One study of 30 overweight women showed that eating eggs for breakfast, instead of bagels, increased satiety and made them eat less for the next 36 hours .
Another 8 week study found that eggs for breakfast increased weight loss on a calorie restricted diet compared to bagels .
Eggs are also incredibly nutrient dense and can help you get all the nutrients you need on a calorie restricted diet. Almost all the nutrients are found in the yolks.
Leafy greens include kale, spinach, collards, swiss chards and a few others.
They have several properties that make them perfect for a weight loss diet.
They are low in both calories and carbohydrates, but loaded with fiber.
Eating leafy greens is a great way to increase the volume of your meals, without increasing the calories. Numerous studies show that meals and diets with a low energy density make people eat fewer calories overall .
Leafy greens are also incredibly nutritious and very high in all sorts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. This includes calcium, which has been shown to aid fat burning in some studies .
Oily fish like salmon is incredibly healthy.
It is also very satisfying, keeping you full for many hours with relatively few calories.
Salmon is loaded with high quality protein, healthy fats and also contains all sorts of important nutrients.
Fish, and seafood in general, supplies a significant amount of iodine.
This nutrient is necessary for proper function of the thyroid, which is important to keep the metabolism running optimally .
Studies show that a huge number of people in the world aren’t getting all the iodine they need .
Salmon is also loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to help reduce inflammation, which is known to play a major role in obesity and metabolic disease .
Mackerel, trout, sardines, herring and other types of oily fish are also excellent.
Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and brussels sprouts.
Like other vegetables, they are high in fiber and tend to be incredibly fulfilling.
What’s more… these types of veggies also tend to contain decent amounts of protein.
They’re not as high in protein as animal foods or legumes, but they’re high compared to most vegetables.
A combination of protein, fiber and low energy density makes cruciferous vegetables the perfect foods to include in your meals if you need to lose weight.
They are also highly nutritious, and contain cancer fighting substances .
Lean Beef and Chicken Breast
Meat has been unfairly demonized.
It has been blamed for all sorts of health problems, despite no good evidence to back it up.
Although processed meat is unhealthy, studies show that unprocessed red meat does NOT raise the risk of heart disease or diabetes .
According to two big review studies, red meat has only a very weak correlation with cancer in men, and no correlation at all in women .
The truth is… meat is a weight loss friendly food, because it’s high in protein.
Protein is the most fulfilling nutrient, by far, and eating a high protein diet can make you burn up to 80 to 100 more calories per day .
Studies have shown that increasing your protein intake to 25-30% of calories can cut cravings by 60%, reduce desire for late-night snacking by half, and cause weight loss of almost a pound per week… just by adding protein to the diet .
If you’re on a low-carb diet, then feel free to eat fatty meats. But if you’re on a moderate- to high carbohydrate diet, then choosing lean meats may be more appropriate.
White potatoes seem to have fallen out of favour for some reason.
However… they have several properties that make them a perfect food, both for weight loss and optimal health.
They contain an incredibly diverse range of nutrients, a little bit of almost everything we need.
There have even been accounts of people living on nothing but potatoes alone for extended periods of time.
They are particularly high in potassium, a nutrient that most people don’t get enough of and plays an important role in blood pressure control..
What this means is that by eating white, boiled potatoes, you will naturally feel full and eat less of other foods instead.
If you boil the potatoes, then allow them to cool for a while, then they will form large amounts of resistant starch, a fiber-like substance that has been shown to have all sorts of health benefits… including weight loss .
Sweet potatoes, turnips and other root vegetables are also excellent.
Tuna is another low-calorie, high protein food.
It is lean fish… so there isn’t much fat in it.
Tuna is popular among bodybuilders and fitness models who are on a cut, because it’s a great way to keep protein high, with total calories and fat low.
If you’re trying to emphasize protein intake, then make sure to choose tuna canned in water, but not oil.
Beans and Legumes
Protein Payout: 1/2 cup, 109-148 calories, 7-10 grams of protein
Beans are good for more than just your heart. They’re loaded with proteins, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that can benefit your brain and muscles, too. Not to mention, they digest very slowly, which can help you feel fuller, longer, and fuel weight loss efforts without causing feelings of deprivation. Look for easy-to-use, pre-cooked BPA-free varieties that come in a pouch or a box.
Protein Payout: 1 cup, 230 calories, 18 g protein
Here are some pretty amazing proportions: One cup of lentils has the protein of three eggs, with less than one gram of fat! Their high fiber content makes them extremely satiating, and studies have shown that they speed fat loss: Spanish researchers found that people whose diets included four weekly servings of legumes lost more weight and improved their cholesterol more than people who didn’t. Eat them on their own as a side or simmer them into a soup.
Protein Payout: 2 tablespoons, 191 calories, 7 grams of protein
This creamy spread is downright addictive. While eating too much peanut butter can wreak havoc on your waistline, a standard two-tablespoon serving provides a solid dose of muscle-building protein and healthy fats. According to a 2014 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, consuming peanuts can prevent both cardiovascular and coronary artery disease — the most common type of heart condition.
As mentioned above, meals and diets with a low energy density tend to make people eat fewer calories.
Most foods with a low energy density are those that contain lots of water, such as vegetables and fruits.
But you can also just add water to your food… by making a soup.
Some studies have shown that eating the exact same food, except made in a soup instead of as solid food, makes people feel more satiated and eat significantly fewer calories .
Dairy products tend to be high in protein.
One of the best ones is cottage cheese… calorie for calorie, it is mostly just protein with very little carbohydrate and fat.
Eating plenty of cottage cheese is a great way to boost your protein intake. It is also very satiating, making you feel full with a relatively low amount of calories.
Dairy products are also high in calcium, which has been shown to aid in the fat burning process .
Avocados are a unique type of fruit.
Whereas most fruit is high in carbs, avocados are loaded with healthy fats.
They are particularly high in monounsaturated oleic acid, the same type of fat found in olive oil.
Despite being mostly fat, they also contain a lot of water, so they aren’t as energy dense as you may think.
Avocados are perfect as additions to salad, because studies show that the fats in them can increase the nutrient uptake from the vegetables 2.6 to 15-fold .
They also contain many important nutrients, including fiber and potassium.
Protein Payout: 1/4 cup, 180 calories, 7 grams of protein
This nutty-flavored gluten-free grain may be small, but it packs a mighty nutritional punch. It’s loaded with fiber, essential amino acids, calcium and vitamin C — a nutrient not typically found in grains. To reap the benefits, trade your morning oatmeal in for a protein-packed teff porridge. Combine a half cup of teff with one a half cups of water and a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan. Let it come to a boil before turning the heat down to low and letting it simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and top with apples, cinnamon and a dollop of natural peanut butter.
Protein Payout: 1/4 cup, 161 calories, 6 grams of protein
While you may have never heard of this hearty whole grain before, it may become your new favorite. This wheat-rye hybrid packs 12 grams of protein per half cup and is also rich in brain-boosting iron, bloat-busting potassium, magnesium and heart-healthy fiber. Use triticale berries in place of rice and mix it with soy sauce, fresh ginger, cloves, shiitake mushrooms and edamame to make a healthy, Asian-inspired dish. If you prefer to firing up the oven to using the stove, use triticale flour in place of traditional flour in your baking.
Protein Payout: 1 oz, 117 calories, 8 g protein
Here’s an excuse for a wine-and-cheese hour: The schmancy Swiss cheese contains 30 percent more protein than an egg in one slice, plus one-third of your RDA of vitamin A. If you’re looking to indulge, keep your serving to the size of four dice, and moderate your vino to one glass for women, two glasses for men, to get the bad-cholesterol-lowering benefits of the antioxidant resveratrol. And better yet, stick to the.
Protein Payout: 7 oz, 150 calories, 20 g protein
Yogurt may be one of your key allies in weight-loss efforts. A study printed in the Journal of Nutrition found that probiotics like the ones found in creamy, delicious yogurt helped obese women lose nearly twice the weight compared to those who did not consume probiotics. Both sets of subjects were on low-calorie diets, but after 12 weeks, the probiotic poppers lost an average of 9.7 pounds, while those on placebos lost only 5.7. Bonus: the subjects who were given the good bacteria continued to lose weight even after an additional 12 weeks, an average of 11.5 pounds to be accurate! The group that didn’t get the probiotic boost? They maintained their 5.7-pound initial loss but didn’t trim down further.
Protein Payout: 8 oz, 110 calories, 8 g protein
Organically raised cows are not subject to the same hormones and antibiotics that conventional cows are; no antibiotics for them means no antibiotics for you. Grass fed cows have been shown to have higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids (good) and two to five times more CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) than their corn and grain fed counterparts.
Protein Payout: 1 oz, 138 calories, 5 g protein
One of the hallmarks of a balanced diet is to have a good ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3s. A 4:1 ratio would be ideal, but the modern American diet is more like 20:1. That leads to inflammation, which can trigger weight gain. But while eating a serving of salmon every day isn’t exactly convenient, sprinkling chia seeds—among the most highly concentrated sources of omega-3s in the food world—into smoothies, salads, cereals, pancakes or even desserts is as easy a diet upgrade as you can get.
Protein Payout: 1 oz, 158 calories, 9 g protein
Dr. Lindsey Duncan, a nutritionist who’s worked with Tony Dorsett and Reggie Bush, is a big fan of pumpkin seeds. “A handful of raw pepitas or dry roasted pumpkin seeds can give you a natural jolt to power through a workout,” he says. “They’re a good source of protein, healthy fats, and fiber, keeping you feeling full and energized longer, and contain manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc, which provide additional energy support to maximize gym time.”
Protein Payout: 1 oz, 164 calories, 6 g protein
Think of each almond as a natural weight-loss pill. Combined with a calorie-restricted diet, consuming a little more than a quarter-cup of the nuts can decrease weight more effectively than a snack comprised of complex carbohydrates and safflower oil—after just two weeks! (And in this study of overweight and obese patients, after 24 weeks, those who ate the nuts experienced a 62 percent greater reduction in weight and BMI!) For optimal results, eat your daily serving before you hit the gym. Almonds, rich in the amino acid L-arginine, can actually help you burn more fat and carbs during workouts, a study printed in The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found.
Protein Payout: 1 oz, 157 calories, 5 g protein
Cashews are a good source of protein, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium and copper, and shouldn’t be overlooked as one of your go-to nuts. Magnesium boasts a myriad of health benefits such as helping your body relieve various conditions like constipation, insomnia, headaches and muscle cramps, as well as regulating the immune system and supporting brain function. They also contain a good amount of biotin, which will help keep your locks shiny and lustrous.
Despite being high in fat, nuts are not inherently fattening.
They’re an excellent snack, containing balanced amounts of protein, fiber and healthy fats.
Studies have shown that eating nuts can improve metabolic health and even cause weight loss .
Population studies have also shown that people who eat nuts tend to be healthier, and leaner, than the people who don’t .
Just make sure not to go overboard, as they are still pretty high in calories. If you tend to binge and eat massive amounts of nuts, then it may be best to avoid them.
Some Whole Grains
Despite grains having gotten a bad rap in recent years, there are some types that are definitely healthy.
This includes some whole grains that are loaded with fiber and contain a decent amount of protein as well.
Oats are loaded with beta-glucans, soluble fibers that have been shown to increase satiety and improve metabolic health .
Rice, both brown and white, can also contain significant amounts of resistant starch, especially if cooked and then allowed to cool afterwards .
Keep in mind that refined grains are a disaster, and sometimes foods that have “whole grains” on the label are highly processed junk foods that are both harmful and fattening.
If you’re on a very low-carb diet then you’ll want to avoid grains, because they are high in carbohydrates. But there’s nothing wrong with eating some of the healthier grains if you can tolerate them and are not on a low-carb diet.
Eating chili peppers may be useful on a weight loss diet.
They contain a substance called capsaicin, which has been shown to help reduce appetite and increase fat burning in some studies .
This substance is even sold in supplement form and is a common ingredient in many commercial weight loss supplements.
One study showed that eating 1 gram of red chilli pepper reduced appetite and increased fat burning in people who didn’t regularly eat peppers .
However, there was no effect in people who were accustomed to eating spicy food, indicating that some sort of tolerance can build up.
Most health experts agree that fruit is healthy.
Numerous population studies have shown that people who eat the most fruit (and vegetables) tend to be healthier than people who don’t .
Of course… correlation does not equal causation, so those studies don’t prove anything, but fruit do have properties that make them weight loss friendly.
Even though they contain sugar, they have a low energy density and take a while to chew. Plus, the fiber helps prevent the sugar from being released too quickly into the bloodstream.
The only people who may want to avoid or minimize fruit are those who are on a very low-carb, ketogenic diet, or have some sort of intolerance to fructose.
For the rest of us, fruits can be an effective (and delicious) addition to a weight loss diet.
One fruit that deserves to be highlighted is grapefruit, because its effects on weight control have been studied directly.
In a study of 91 obese individuals, eating half a fresh grapefruit before meals caused weight loss of 3.5 pounds (1.6 kg) over a period of 12 weeks.
The grapefruit group also had reductions in insulin resistance, a metabolic abnormality that is implicated in various chronic diseases.
So… eating half a grapefruit about a half hour before some of your daily meals may help you feel more satiated and eat fewer overall calories.
Chia seeds are among the most nutritious foods on the planet.
They do contain 12 grams of carbohydrate per ounce, which is pretty high, but 11 of those grams are fiber.
This makes chia seeds a low-carb friendly food, and one of the best sources of fiberin the world .
Because of all the fiber, chia seeds can absorb up to 11-12 times their weight in water, turning gel-like and expanding in your stomach .
Although some studies have shown that chia seeds can help reduce appetite, they have not found a statistically significant effect on weight loss .
However, given their nutrient composition, it makes sense that chia seeds could be a useful part of a weight loss diet.
Not all fats are created equal.
Coconut oil is high in fatty acids of a medium length, called Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs).
These fatty acids have been shown to boost satiety compared to other fats, as well as increase the amount of calories burned .
There are also two studies, one in women and the other in men, showing that coconut oil led to reduced amounts of belly fat .
Of course… coconut oil still contains calories, so adding it on top of what you’re already eating is a bad idea.
So this is not about adding coconut oil to your diet, it is about replacing some of your other cooking fats with coconut oil.
Extra virgin olive oil is also worth mentioning here, because it is probably the healthiest fat on the planet.
Another excellent dairy food is yoghurt.
Yoghurt contains probiotic bacteria that can improve the function of your gut.
Having a healthy gut may potentially help protect against inflammation and leptin resistance, which is the main hormonal driver of obesity.
Just make sure to choose full-fat yoghurt… studies show that full-fat dairy, but not low-fat, is associated with a reduced risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes over time .
Low-fat yoghurt is usually loaded with sugar, so it is best to avoid that stuff like the plague.
Skip the apple juice and the applesauce and opt instead for a crunchy apple. Whole fruit blunts appetite in a way that fruit juices and sauces don’t.
One reason is that raw fruit has more fiber. Plus, chewing sends signals to your brain that you’ve eaten something substantial.
Whether you prefer Greek or traditional, yogurt can be good for your waistline.
A Harvard study followed more than 120,000 people for a decade or longer. Yogurt, of all the foods that were tracked, was most closely linked to weight loss.
Yes, grapefruit really can help you shed pounds, especially if you are at risk for diabetes.
Researchers at Scripps Clinic in San Diego found that when obese people ate half a grapefruit before each meal, they dropped an average of 3 ½ pounds over 12 weeks. Drinking grapefruit juice had the same results.
But grapefruit juice doesn’t have any proven “fat-burning” properties — it may just have helped people feel full.
Be careful: You cannot have grapefruit or grapefruit juice if you are on certain medications, so check the label on all your prescriptions, or ask your pharmacist or doctor.
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