Along with physical fitness, diet plays a vital role in weight loss. Healthy food choices that aid weight loss efforts include snacks and meals that are high in protein and fibre, and low in sugar, calories, and fats from meat and dairy, according to the National Health Service. A healthy weight loss plan includes foods of every food group: produce, grains, animal and plant proteins, and a moderate amount of healthy fats.
Beans are an ideal food for weight loss because they are high in protein and fibre, supporting muscle growth and feelings of fullness. Beans are rich in nutrients and minerals and low in calories. They may even help you lose weight if eaten alongside less-healthy foods: A 2007 UCLA study found a digestive enzyme in white kidney beans which, when ingested with white bread, inhibits the rise in blood glucose that normally occurs after eating a high-glycemic food like white bread. According to the study, low-glycemic diets are proven to delay the return of hunger after eating.
Fish is also a healthy weight-loss food. Like beans, fish is a good substitute for fatty meats like beef and pork because it is high in protein while low in saturated fat, according to Discovery Health. Furthermore, fish contains omega-3 fatty acids, which offer a number of health benefits, including helping to control weight, says Discovery Health. According to "Fitness" magazine, salmon is an especially weight loss-friendly fish because of its high omega-3 content. To maximize your waist-shrinking omega-3 intake, choose wild salmon, which, while more expensive, contains more omega-3s than farm-raised salmon.
Fruit, high in dietary fibre and nutrients, is another weight loss superfood. According to "Fitness," most berries are "loaded with fibre" as well as antioxidants, which, in addition to preventing cancer, may help you achieve better results from your workouts. Antioxidants help improve blood flow, which can help muscles contract more efficiently. To keep the weight off, eat at least half a cup of berries daily.
Despite their high calorie count, almonds are also high in nutrients, protein, fibre and "good" fats -- polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats -- making them a terrific food for losing weight. Moreover, a 2006 clinical trial published in the journal "Metabolism" found that, similar to the enzyme UCLA researchers found in beans, almonds have a special property which regulates blood glucose levels when eaten alongside high-glycemic foods like white bread, preventing the spikes in blood sugar that cause cravings.
Lowfat or nonfat dairy products promote weight loss because they are filling but low in saturated fat and calories. Low-fat yoghurt is a particularly effective weight-loss food from the dairy aisle. A study published in the April 2005 issue of "International Journal of Obesity" determined that obese subjects placed on a 12-week yoghurt diet lost significantly more weight, especially around the waist, than obese subjects placed on a balanced, reduced-calorie diet that did not include yoghurt. The designers of the study attribute the results to the anti-obesity properties of dietary calcium found in dairy products.
- "Fitness": The 10 best foods for flat abs
- Metabolism: Almonds and postprandial glycemia—a dose-response study
- The World's Healthiest Foods: Almonds
- Nutrition Journal: Lowering the glycemic index of white bread using a white bean extract
- International Journal of Obesity: Dairy augmentation of total and central fat loss in obese subjects