The Best Weight-Loss Foods According to Science
Not all calories are created equal. Different foods go through different metabolic pathways in your body. They can have vastly different effects on your hunger, hormones and the number of calories you burn.
Here are some most weight-loss-friendly foods on earth that are supported by science.
1. Whole Eggs
New studies show that they do not adversely affect blood cholesterol. What's more, they’re one of the best foods to eat if you need to lose weight, as they’re high in protein, healthy fats and can make you feel full with a very low amount of calories.
Eggs are also incredibly nutrient dense and can help you get all the nutrients you need on a calorie-restricted die, it can suppress appetite later in the day and may even promote weight loss. Interestingly, almost all the nutrients are found in the yolks.
2. Leafy Greens
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, such as being low in calories and carbohydrates and 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 many vitamins, antioxidants and minerals, including calcium, which has been shown to aid fat burning in some studies.
Fatty fish like salmon is incredibly healthy and very satisfying, keeping you full for many hours with relatively few calories.
Salmon is loaded with high-quality protein, healthy fats and various important nutrients. Fish — and seafood in general — may also supply a significant amount of iodine. This nutrient is necessary for proper thyroid function, which is important to keep your metabolism running optimally. Studies show that a significant number of people don’t fill their iodine needs.
Mackerel, trout, sardines, herring and other types of fatty fish are also excellent.
4. Cruciferous Vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts. Like other vegetables, they’re high in fiber and tend to be incredibly filling.
What's more, these types of veggies generally contain decent amounts of protein. They're not nearly as high in protein as animal foods or legumes but still 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’re also highly nutritious and contain cancer-fighting substances.
6. Boiled Potatoes
White potatoes seem to have fallen out of favor 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 you need.
They’re particularly high in potassium, a nutrient that most people don't get enough of and that plays an important role in blood pressure control. On a scale called the Satiety Index, which measures how filling different foods are, white, boiled potatoes scored the highest of all the foods tested. What this means is that by eating white, boiled potatoes, you will naturally feel full and eat less of other foods. If you allow potatoes to cool for a while after boiling, they will form high amounts of resistant starch, a fiber-like substance that has been shown to have various health benefits, including weight loss.
Sweet potatoes, turnips and other root vegetables are also excellent.
7. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is incredibly popular in the natural health community. It’s often used in condiments like dressings or vinaigrettes, and some people even dilute it in water and drink it.
Several human-based studies suggest that apple cider vinegar can be useful for weight loss. Taking vinegar at the same time as a high-carb meal can increase feelings of fullness and make people eat 200–275 fewer calories for the rest of the day. One 12-week study in obese individuals also showed that 15 or 30 ml of vinegar per day caused weight loss of 2.6–3.7 pounds, or 1.2–1.7 kilograms.
Vinegar has also been shown to reduce blood sugar spikes after meals, which may have various beneficial health effects in the long term.
One fruit that deserves to be highlighted is grapefruit. Its effects on weight control have been studied directly. In a 12-week study in 91 obese individuals, eating half a fresh grapefruit before meals led to weight loss of 3.5 pounds (1.6 kg).
The grapefruit group also had reduced insulin resistance, a metabolic abnormality that is implicated in various chronic diseases. Therefore, eating half a grapefruit about half an hour before some of your daily meals may help you feel more satiated and eat fewer overall calories.
9. Chili Pepper
Eating chili peppers may be useful on a weight loss diet. They contain capsaicin, a substance which can reduce appetite and increase fat burning. This substance is even sold in supplement form and a common ingredient in many commercial weight loss supplements.
One study showed that eating 1 gram of red chili 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 a certain level of tolerance can build up.
Despite being high in fat, nuts are not as fattening as you would expect. 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 promote weight loss. What’s more, population studies have shown that people who eat nuts tend to be healthier and leaner than those who don't.
Just make sure not to go overboard, as they’re still fairly high in calories. If you tend to binge and eat massive amounts of nuts, it may be best to avoid them.