In a modern world dominated by high-fat foods and sedentary lifestyles, weight loss is on the minds of many. Prospective dieters can receive advice from all quarters, with dozens of diets and exercise programs competing for the public’s time, money and attention.
Here at Diet Pills Watchdog, we think all this noise can actually be pretty unhelpful. When looking to lose weight, the most effective, long-term solutions can often be found in small changes to behaviour. Why spend huge chunks of your salary on an impossible-to-maintain crash diet, when you could learn more sensible habits that can last a lifetime?
In the spirit of this, we’ve decided to publish a list of the twelve most common foods that can help us to lose weight quickly. Rather than just focusing on expensive superfoods or unpalatable vegetables (we’re looking at you celery), we’ve decided to pick out good, diet-friendly foods that anyone can find and digest easily. Turbo-charge your diet and look out for these weight loss-friendly foods on your next shopping trip!
Most of us adore eggs; they’re cheap, easy to prepare and can be enjoyed in a multitude of different ways. They’re also one of the healthiest foods imaginable and are an essential ingredient in any weight loss diet plan.
Eggs are packed with proteins and nutrients, and rank unusually high on the Satiety Index; this means that eggs have been proven to make consumers feel fuller and more satisfied for longer. A normal-sized egg contains just 80 calories, meaning that dieters can enjoy a full and satisfying portion for a relatively small calorie cost.
Research backs up the usefulness of eggs in diet programs. Numerous studies have been conducted to measure the effects of eating eggs for breakfast, with all showing that dieters felt fuller for longer and consequently ate fewer calories in other meals of the day. A 2008 study actually found that egg breakfasts can contribute to a 65% greater increase in weight-loss over just 8 weeks!
Old fears of eggs raising the odds of heart disease due to their cholesterol content has also recently been proven false. In the last 5 years or so, several studies (including a landmark paper published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition) have shown that the dietary cholesterol in eggs does not raise the risk of heart disease whatsoever, with eggs containing a good for you type of fat that counteracts high cholesterol. (http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2016/02/10/ajcn.115.122317.abstract). Most global nutritionists now do not recommend limiting your intake of eggs, so enjoy!
Although typically missing from most of our shopping lists, grapefruit has unusual qualities that help it remain a very diet-friendly food.
An interesting study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that eating half a grapefruit daily caused noticeable weight loss over 3 months (Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16579728). The apparent reason for this was grapefruit’s natural ability to lower insulin, a hormone that encourages the body to store fat.
Even without this ability, grapefruit is a great source of protein and vitamins, and its high water content allows consumers to feel full for relatively few calories (a quality it shares with other great citrus fruits like oranges or nectarines). Like many fruits, grapefruit can also be made into a tasty juice or smoothie.
The major downside of eating grapefruit is its reported bitter taste. However, few seem to realise that grapefruit should actually be peeled more thoroughly than something like an orange. To unlock the fruit’s true sweet taste, it’s necessary to peel the skin and the membrane that makes up each “segment” as well, eating only the juicy bits inside.
Salmon is nutrient-dense and packed with protein, making it indispensable when choosing food items for your diet. Although slightly pricier than some of the other items on this list, fresh salmon is also versatile and easy to pair with salads, snacks or suppers.
The range of nutrients found in salmon is impressive. Most varieties of salmon are packed with niacin, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, and the rarely-found Vitamin D. It’s also full of filling and nutritious protein, with a small 3oz serving containing 40% of your RDA for protein with very little fat as extra baggage.
Salmon (and other fish like tuna or mackerel) also contain an excellent weight loss-aid in the form of omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats can increase the pace of weight loss experienced when following a sensible diet and exercise plan – think of them as a way to boost already-strong results!
Peppers are perhaps not a vegetable that is typically associated with weight loss, although they actually have some interesting properties that make them excellent candidates for a healthy diet.
Bell peppers of any colour contain some of the largest doses of vitamin C you’re likely to find per serving. Although vitamin C doesn’t cause weight loss directly, studies have found that deficiencies in vitamin C are associated with obesity. It’s thought that having sufficient vitamin C stores help us to oxidise fat whilst exercising; without it, dieters may lose out on as much as 30% of the weight loss they would have experienced through workouts.
Incidentally, spicy chilli peppers are also known for their weight loss effects. Chilli peppers contain a chemical called capsaicin (the part that makes them spicy). This chemical is known to create a thermogenic reaction in the body that reduces appetite, raises your metabolism and actively burns fat – some readers may recognise this as the effect that most fat burner supplements claim to mimic!
Chilli peppers are of course far cheaper than most supplements, so try going straight to the source with some hot and spicy food.
This listing is slightly broader in definition than some of the others on this list, covering beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas. Although slightly different from one another in terms of nutritional value, these foods are worth grouping together due to their shared ability to reduce cholesterol and boost weight loss outcomes.
One recent study found that adding 130g of beans, pulses or legumes to a daily diet caused modest rates of weight loss, even when other eating habits remained totally unchanged (Source: http://www.stmichaelshospital.com/media/detail.php?source=hospital_news/2016/0330). The reason behind this? As with many other great foods on this list, beans and legumes ultimately make people feel fuller and help dieters to consume less overall.
Beans, pulses and legumes are often extremely cheap and versatile, and can be easily added to a variety of main meals as a substitute for fatty ingredients like minced meat.
Spinach (and other leafy greens like kale and collards) are astonishingly low in calories – a cup of raw spinach contains a measly 7 calories. As weight loss is often little more than consuming fewer calories than you spend exerting energy, eating proportionally more vegetables like spinach virtually guarantees that you will lose weight.
Spinach also contains huge doses of useful nutrients like iron, calcium, and Vitamins A, K, C and E. Most usefully, it also contains green leaf membranes called thylakoids, which are known to decrease hunger and massively contribute to weight loss; one Swedish study found that a special spinach extract with thylakoids caused 43% more weight loss than a placebo.
Yoghurts come in many forms and flavours, from Greek yoghurt to kefir. Depending on the form you opt for, yoghurt can stand in as a handy standalone snack or as an accompaniment to a main meal or pudding.
It’s also a clear weight loss program staple. All forms of yoghurt contain probiotic bacteria that help our digestive systems to function properly. It is now thought that the healthy, balanced guts created by probiotic regimes protect against a damaging phenomenon known as leptin resistance (which affects our perception of how full we are, leading to weight gain).
The available scientific evidence also clearly shows yoghurt’s potential for big results. A huge study examining 120,000 people recently identified yoghurt as the food most likely to lead to weight loss, a finding that is thought to be linked to its ability to stave off hunger.
Plenty of dieters want to enjoy eating meat as part of their diet, but find this to be one arena when calorie numbers start to accelerate a lot. To keep things sensible, try to substitute calorific red meats with more weight-loss friendly meats like chicken or turkey.
The main factor that would lead us to recommend skinless chicken is its incredibly high protein content, with very little fat. 100g of boneless, lean chicken contains a whopping 31g of protein, which can help us to feel fuller for longer. In fact, a 2015 paper published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition definitively stated that meals containing 25g of protein or more help dieters to manage their weight and stave off hunger – including a lean chicken breast with a main meal can therefore make a lot of difference to your overall results.
OK, so this entry is less about one specific food, and more about how we consume food on a diet. Meals like soups have great potential as weight loss tools due to their ability to make relatively small portions feel much bigger and more filling than they are.
The trick behind this is really just water. Studies have shown that incorporating water into a food (not serving it next to the plate in a glass) makes a huge difference to how satisfied it leaves people. Put simply, those who ate the same meal in the form of a soup were far less likely to eat more at lunch.
One theme you may have noticed from this list is that good weight loss foods are often low-calorie and highly filling, helping dieters to avoid overeating at other meals. One of the best examples of this is the slow-release carbohydrates found in oatmeal.
Oatmeal is low in calories and high in fibre, making it a perfect and filling way to start the day. A cup of plain oats has just 159 calories and tends to pass slowly through the digestive system, meaning that it has been proven to keep you fuller for longer. Add in some berries or other tasty fruit for flavour and you have an almost perfectly healthy breakfast!
For those who are interested, there are of course studies to back up oatmeal’s good reputation as a weight loss food. One 2015 study found that oatmeal helped thin and obese participants to lose more weight compared to cornflakes, mainly because the former helped the dieters to eat less at lunchtime.
Broccoli is another vegetable that’s high in weight loss potential, whilst also being cheap, easy-to-find and easy-to-use in meals.
The balance of nutrients found in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables (like cauliflower or cabbage) is as perfect as can be. Broccoli is high in filling fibre, whilst also containing far more protein than the average vegetable. Like other greens, broccoli is extremely low in calories, meaning that dieters can eat cups and cups of it without putting on much weight.
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli are also known to contain an interesting substance called sulforaphane, which has been found to stimulate fat-burning processes.
One of the most important lessons to learn whilst losing weight is the importance of sticking to low-calorie foods. More than anything, this trick is the one that can really guarantee weight loss at the end of the day.
Cucumbers are a great example of an extremely-low calorie food. With just 14 calories per cup, this watery vegetable can be eaten by the almost at will without putting on weight. Like most vegetables, it is rich in vitamins (particularly vitamin C and vitamin K), and has no fat or other unwanted nutritional properties. Cucumber is also mostly water, helping you to stay hydrated throughout the day. Try using cucumber sticks to dip into hummus or yoghurt for a tasty mid-afternoon snack!
Disclaimer: Our reviews and investigations are based on extensive research from the information publicly available to us and consumers at the time of first publishing the post. Information is based on our personal opinion and whilst we endeavour to ensure information is up-to-date, manufacturers do from time to time change their products and future research may disagree with our findings. If you feel any of the information is inaccurate, please contact us and we will review the information provided.