When it comes to weight loss, what you eat can be just as important as how much you eat. Certain foods can help keep you full, boost your metabolism, and even reduce your cravings for unhealthy foods.
Conversely, some foods can make weight loss harder by increasing your cravings and making you feel less satisfied.
Let’s break down some of the best and worst foods for weight loss, using evidence from research.
Best Foods for Weight Loss
Whole grains are a fantastic food for weight loss. Foods like oatmeal, brown rice, and whole grain bread are high in fiber. Fiber can help you feel full longer, which means you’re less likely to overeat.
A 2012 study published in the “Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism” found that people who ate a diet high in whole grains lost more weight than those who ate refined grains.
Lean proteins, like chicken, turkey, fish, and tofu, are excellent for weight loss. Protein takes longer to digest than carbs, so it can help you feel full longer.
A 2013 research published in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” found that eating a diet high in protein helped participants consume fewer calories and lose weight.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber and water, so they can help you feel full without a lot of calories. Plus, they’re packed with vitamins and minerals.
A 2015 research study in the “PLOS Medicine” journal showed that people who ate more servings of fruits and vegetables lost more weight compared to those who ate fewer servings.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are high in healthy fats and protein, which can help you feel satisfied. Plus, they’re a great source of essential nutrients.
A 2019 study in the “BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health” journal found that people who regularly ate nuts had a lower risk of weight gain and obesity over time.
Worst Foods for Weight Loss
Sugary drinks, like soda, sweet tea, and fruit juice, can make weight loss harder. These drinks are high in calories but often don’t make you feel full.
A 2016 study in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” found that people who drank more sugary beverages had a higher risk of weight gain and obesity.
Processed foods, like chips, cookies, and ready meals, are often high in unhealthy fats and added sugars. They’re also usually low in nutrients.
Research published in “Cell Metabolism” in 2019 found that people who ate a diet high in processed foods ate more calories and gained more weight than those who ate a diet high in unprocessed foods.
High-Calorie Coffee Drinks
While black coffee can potentially aid weight loss, coffee drinks that are high in calories and sugar can have the opposite effect.
A 2015 study published in the “Public Health” journal found that consumption of high-calorie coffee drinks was associated with higher total calorie intake, contributing to weight gain.
Alcohol provides extra calories that your body doesn’t need, and it can also make you feel hungrier.
A review in the “Current Obesity Reports” journal in 2015 suggested that alcohol intake may lead to weight gain due to its high energy density and potential to increase appetite and encourage overeating.
The Bottom Line
If you’re trying to lose weight, focusing on whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins is a great strategy.
On the other hand, try to limit sugary drinks, processed foods, high-calorie coffee drinks, and alcohol.
Remember, it’s not just about single foods; it’s about your whole diet pattern. Regular physical activity and good sleep are also crucial for weight loss.
Always consider consulting with a registered dietitian or a healthcare provider to create a personalized diet plan that fits your lifestyle and health goals.
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