Exercising on a regular basis can help you lose weight. It’s proven.
But if you want to lose weight quickly and permanently, what you eat matters.
That’s because the foods you eat can directly impact the hormones that control how many calories your body burns and how often you eat.
The right foods will nourish your body, satisfy cravings, and boost your metabolism. They leave a positive metabolic impact on your body.
All that supports fast and permanent weight loss.
Therefore, the types of foods you base your diet around are just as important as the amount of calories you take in.
These are the foods nutritionists call "best weight loss foods".
They help you start losing weight and burning fat by making metabolism work for you.
There are many foods like that, but these five foods are the best weight loss friendly foods proven by science.
Protein is essential for your body's metabolism.
Make sure each one of your meals, "breakfast", "lunch" and "dinner" includes a clean and lean protein source.
Protein is an important macronutrient for weight loss. It affects your appetite and calories you burn.
According to a university study, protein can significantly boost your metabolic rate. This can cause you to burn more calories and reduce your appetite, which further helps you limit your calories intake (1).
It's an efficient and effortless way to create a calorie deficit.
Studies have also found that it takes more calories to digest protein than other food groups. In fact, 20 to 30% of total calories in protein eaten go to digesting it. So, if you eat 100 calories from protein, your body uses 20 to 30 calories to metabolize and absorb the protein.
After that, you're left with a net of 70 to 80 calories. If you are watching calories, that's a real help.
But that's not all the contributions protein makes to your weight loss. Protein is much satiating than both carbs and fat. It means protein gives you a feeling of fullness after eating more so than other foods. It's another way protein reduces your appetite and causes a reduction in your calorie intake (2).
In one study, obese men saw a 50% reduction in their desire for late-night snacking and 60% decrease in obsessive thoughts about food by eating a diet composed of 25% protein (3).
In another study, women who increased their protein intake to 30% of calories ended up eating 441 fewer calories per day. They also lost an average of 11 lbs in a 12-week period (4).
But that's not all. Protein can not only help you lose weight but also prevent you from gaining weight.
In one study, just a small increase in protein from 15% of calories to 18% of calories reduced the amount of fat people regained after weight loss by 50% (5).
Now the question is:
How much protein should you eat per day?
- 56 grams per day for the average sedentary man.
- 46 grams per day for the average sedentary woman.
There are many sources of protein, but here are the best protein picks.
Best Protein Sources:
- Meat – Beef, chicken, pork, lamb, bacon, etc.
- Fish and Seafood – Salmon, trout, shrimps, lobsters, etc.
- Eggs – Omega-3 enriched or pastured eggs are best.
The importance of eating plenty of protein can not be overstated.
Takeaway: The takeaway here is, when it comes to losing weight, protein is the king of nutrients. Make sure you get plenty of it.
2. Eat more vegetables
Eating vegetables can actually put your weight loss on an auto pilot. You’ll be losing weight very fast.
Leafy greens like kale, spinach, collard, swiss chards and a few others have several properties in them that can help you lose weight.
First, they are low in calories and carbohydrates but high in fiber.
Eating them is a great way to increase the volume of your meals without increasing the calories. Several reputable studies show that meals and diets with a low energy density make people eat fewer calories overall (6).
Not only leafy greens are low in calories and carbs, but they’re nutritious and very high in all sorts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. For example, kale has more iron than beef, more calcium than milk and more vitamin C than oranges.
How much veggies do you need per day?
The American Heart Association recommends that you aim 3-4 servings of vegetables per day. Eat a variety of colors and types (10). Check below for the best vegetables for weight loss.
Best Low-Carb Vegetables for weight loss:
- Brussels Sprouts
- Swiss Chard
Grab the full list here.
3. Whole grains
Whole grains offer a wealth of health benefits, including heart health, blood sugar management and weight loss (11).
But don't confuse whole grains with refined grains which are void of valuable nutrients due to the refining process. Whole grains are the holy grail of grains.
They are loaded with fiber, and some even contain a decent amount of protein.
Quinoa, oats and brown rice are amongst those with protein content.
Oats for example are high in beta-glucan, soluble fibers which have been shown to increase satiety (12).
Oats also contain B vitamins, magnesium, potassium, iron, and even calcium. Each of these nutrients works to improve metabolic function in the body (13).
Those they offer many merits, be mindful of its serving sizes. They are high in carbohydrates. Limit your daily intake to 6 servings (based on a 1,600 calories per day).
Also be aware that some refined grains are labeled as whole grains and marketed as such. When going for whole grains, stick to the ones below to avoid over-processed harmful and fattening junks.
List of Whole grains:
- Wild rice
4. Eat more fruits
Fruits are not only delicious but contain a lot of fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Fruits provides an array of nutrients vital for health and maintenance of your body.
Adding fruits to your overall diet has shown to help people lose weight and reduce the risk of chronic diseases (14).
Most fruits are low in carbohydrates, fat, sodium, and calories. They contain zero cholesterol.
Fruits are also an excellent source of many essential nutrients that are often under consumed, which includes potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin C, and folate (folic acid).
Fiber, especially soluble fiber, has many health benefits. Dietary fiber from fruits, have been shown to help reduce blood cholesterol levels and may help lower risk of heart disease (15).
Fiber containing foods such as fruits help provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories, which can lead to a deficit in your overall calorie intake and cause you to lose weight (16).
How much fruits to eat per day?
It’s recommended that you eat 4 to 5 servings of fruits per day based on a 1,600 to 2,00-calories meal plan (17).
5. Drink water
Water is essential to health. It's nothing new.
But did you also know that water is one of the best "weight loss drinks" there is? Drinking water can actually help you lose weight.
Water raises your resting energy expenditure, which increases the amount of calories you burn.
Yes, that’s right. Drinking water can help you burn more calories. And since burning calories is how weight loss happens, it's the best weight loss drink ever.
One study shows that drinking 17 fl oz of water can boost your metabolism by 30% within 10 minutes and reached a maximum over the course of 30-40 minutes (18).
In the study, middle-aged and older adults who drank 500 ml (17 oz) water before every meal enjoyed a 44% increase in weight loss in 12 weeks. Water does this by making you feel full and cause you to eat less or consume unnecessary calories (19).
What’s even more impressive in these studies is that the participants didn’t make any other lifestyle changes. They only drank more water.
Take away here is water is the best weight loss drink, and it can help you lose weight naturally even if you don’t do anything else. Now that’s impressive.
There you have it!
You don’t need to exercise nor diet to lose weight. Eating a healthy diet with these 5 foods should help you lose weight naturally.
Not only you’ll lose weight and slim down, but your body will be healthier with nutritious foods full of minerals and vitamins. Also with that, your body will naturally come to the place of a healthy weight.
Grab the weight loss foods chart below!
What are your favorite weight loss foods? Let us know.