13 Foods To Help You Lose Weight

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Peifen Chou RD

Medical reviewed by Peifen Chou, RD

Obstetrics and gynecology, lactation instructor, integrative medicine, aromatherapist, holistic nutritional consulting, functional medicine, and pet nutrition.

There are endless diets, supplements, and other strategies out there for weight loss that may need more foolproof evidence. But, experts focus on the right type and quantity of food to shape your overall fitness, which significantly aids in weight loss.

So, what foods help you to lose weight? Here is a breakdown of 13 foods that help you lose weight, backed by science. Keep on reading to discover these wonder foods and other important information.

What to Eat to Lose Weight?

There is so much miscellaneous information on the Internet, leading to much confusion regarding weight loss. The constant race of eating anything you want, counting calories, and then burning it is not a very healthy weight loss approach.

Instead, experts believe adding healthy food to your diet and having good physical activities is a great approach toward healthy and permanent weight goals.

So, what to eat to lose weight? To begin with, we have highlighted the most important categories of food. 

Unprocessed or Less Processed Foods

Unprocessed or less processed food refers to any food not altered from its natural state. It doesn’t go through additional processes like heating, canning, drying, dehydration, mixing, or packaging. 

According to a small study, eating processed foods can lead to weight gain (1). Moreover, this food may be addictive and has high amounts of saturated fats, added sugar, salt, and fewer essential nutrients, which are unhealthy for overall health (2, 3).

Sources of unprocessed and less-processed foods are:

  • Fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables
  • Fish and lean meats
  • Brown or wild rice
  • Whole-grain bread, rice, pasta, and tortillas 
  • Oats, quinoa, or bulgur
  • Low-fat dairy products
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Beans and legumes

Complex Carbohydrates

Simple carbohydrates like refined carbs or sugar obtained from white bread, donuts, sweet beverages, sugary cereals, etc., are simple carbs that instantly fuse and shoot glucose into the blood. 

On the other hand, complex carbohydrates have a great amount of nutrients like fiber and bran, which slowly and steadily release glucose in the body, which is healthy for weight loss and overall health.

This low release of sugar means a low Glycemic Index (GI). So, foods having low GI means you will feel fuller for more time which aids in weight loss (4). Also, a steady and gradual release of glucose is great for controlling type 2 diabetes (5). 

Some of the brilliant sources of complex carbohydrates are:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Chickpeas
  • Millets
  • Barley oatmeal
  • Beans and legumes
  • Quinoa
  • Corn

Healthy Fats

So, the answer to what foods help you to lose weight lies in carefully evaluating the food’s nutrients. Nutritionists say that you need fats to burn fats. Well, that’s correct, but you need to add healthy fats to your diet. 

Healthy fats have mono- and polyunsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids that are good for the heart (6). Also, it provides energy to absorb fat-soluble vitamins and minerals. Moreover, having healthy fats aids in maintaining weight (7).

Some sources of healthy fat are:

  • Avocados
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Fatty fish like salmon, cod, and mackerel
  • Low-fat cheese
  • Eggs (in moderation)
  • Olive, sunflower, peanut, coconut, and canola oils

Healthy Foods You Enjoy

The best foods for weight loss don’t always have to be those you dislike. You can enjoy many healthy foods that help maintain a healthy weight. It is a long journey and not an overnight battle. So, acknowledge your feelings, narrow your goals, and gradually add the right food to your diet.

So, now you know what foods help you to lose weight and how to add them to your diet. The unprocessed or less processed food has low to no sugar, sodium, and additives which is great for health and maintaining weight. Also, adding complex carbohydrates, which slowly release energy to the body, helps you not eat much food always. Finally, the essentials of good fats are great for maintaining great weight. So, include all these foods for a healthy weight goal.

13 Best Foods for Weight Loss, Scientifically-Proven

Here are the best 13 foods that are a blessing for the weight loss journey. So, check this scientifically beneficial food for weight loss.

1. Lean Protein Meats

Lean protein meats have less than 10 grams of total fat, 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat, and fewer than 95 milligrams of cholesterol in a 3.5-ounce portion (8). This nutrient punch is great for keeping you fuller for a longer time and for healthy weight loss (9, 10).

Some of its sources are:

  • Boneless skinless chicken breast
  • Whitefish
  • Tuna
  • Turkey etc. 

To have the maximum benefits, cook these meats slowly, add seasoning, and avoid oils. Also, don’t over-cook it. Having it in simple forms with adequate cooking with fresh herbs is great.

2. Beans and Legumes

Beans and legumes like lentils, black beans, kidney beans, etc., are great for weight loss. This is because they have high protein and fiber, which makes you full for a longer time and aids in weight loss (11, 12).

Some of the healthy ways in which you can add them to your diet are:

  • Sweet potato and black bean tacos
  • Bean and rice burritos
  • Beans and legume salads
  • Beans sandwich
  • Beans pot

3. Eggs

Eggs are one of the best foods for weight loss because they are high in fat and protein (13). This makes you full and resists the need for excessive munching and unhealthy eating. 

A study showed that 50 overweight people ate eggs and buttered toast for breakfast and witnessed feeling satiety (fullness) for the next 4 hours (14). The state of fullness and high nutrition do contribute to weight loss goals significantly.

You can try boiled egg salad, egg sandwiches, sunny side up, omelet sandwiches, or other recipes. But, of course, it’s great to be consumed for breakfast (14).

4. Salmon

Salmon is a fatty fish that is full of nutrients. It has high-quality protein, healthy fats, and important nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, iodine, etc (15).

The protein and healthy fats make you feel full for longer, which is great for weight loss (16). Also, omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation, which is usually a significant factor in causing weight gain (17).

5. Cruciferous Vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables are part of the Brassica genus of plants. They are popular due to their many health benefits (18, 19). Some of the most popular types of cruciferous vegetables are:

  • Kale  
  • Radishes
  • Turnips
  • Wasabi
  • Bok choy  
  • Broccoli 
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage 
  • Cauliflower 
  • Collard greens

The right amount of protein, fiber, and low energy density is perfect for losing weight (20, 21). Also, it leads to fulfillment which doesn’t make you hungry soon. They also have anticancer properties (22). 

You can use cruciferous vegetables in salads, steamed vegetables, vegetable stock, soups, and pasta to make delicious and healthy recipes.

Lean protein meats have the right amount of proteins and other nutrients, which are healthy and fulfilling. The rich protein and fiber in beans and legumes make you fuller for longer. Eggs have lots of proteins and fats. In some studies, eggs are great for breakfast. The presence of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and healthy fats in salmon is beneficial for metabolism, inflation, and weight loss. Cruciferous vegetables have protein, fiber, and low energy, which help to shed extra weight.

6. Nuts

Nuts are the power pack and instant dose of nutrients. They have protein, fiber, and other nutrients, which are great. Also, it improves metabolic health, which leads to weight loss (23).

Some of the excellent choices of nuts are almonds, pistachios, walnuts, cashews, pecans, etc. You can consume them correctly, add salt, roast, or soak them. Also, you can add them to shakes, smoothies, and other dishes.

7. Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are the king of nutrition, loaded with 12 grams of carbs per ounce (28 grams) and nearly 10 grams of fiber (24). In addition, its low carb has high fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, aiding in weight management (25, 26). 

You can add chia seeds to puddings, smoothies, and any food you like. Also, you can roast, and it’s to your nuts for great benefits (27). 

8. Avocados

Avocados are nature’s dose of goodness. They have high monounsaturated oleic acid, a lot of water, fiber, potassium, good fats, and more (28). 

With such great nutrient density, they don’t make you hungry for long hours, leading to weight management (29, 30). You can consume them raw or add them to vegetable salads, sandwiches, and other dishes to enjoy their taste and nutrients.

9. Berries

Berries are wonder fruit for weight management as they have high water, fiber, and antioxidants (31, 32). This makes them low-GI fruits. A low glycemic index means they slowly release sugar into the body, which is great for health and weight management (33). 

Some of the best sources of berries are blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, etc. You can consume them raw and add them to the fruit bowl, salads, and smoothies for a nutritious punch.

10. Dark Green Leafy Vegetables

Dark green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, collard greens, Swiss chard, and many others are a powerhouse of nutrients. In addition, they have thylakoids which may regulate appetite and aid in weight management (34).

Vitamin K, fiber, and other nutrients make you feel full, which is also great for weight management (35, 36). Add them to salads, soups, vegetable stock, and other sandwiches to add a healthy puck to your diet.

Nuts are fulfilling as they have protein and fiber and improve metabolic health leading to a healthy weight. Chia seeds are a wonder food with a high fiber dose, making them great for weight management. Avocados have a great nutrient density that may last your satiety for longer and maintain a healthy weight. Berries have the lowest GI among fruits, making them an excellent food for weight loss. Thylakoids in green leafy vegetables may maintain appetite leading to a healthy weight.

11. Whole Grains (Quinoa, Oats)

Whole grains like quinoa and oats may aid in weight loss (37, 38). They are packed with protein, fiber, and other important nutrients, which make them healthy (39). Moreover, the beta-glucans inside them may increase satiety and metabolic health (37). You can use quinoa and oats in breakfast cereals, smoothies, desserts, and lots of their dishes. 

12. Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt has many important nutrients that aid in weight management and a healthy body. For example, it has probiotics which may maintain intestinal barrier integrity, and beneficial bacteria, which regulate the hormonal reasons for obesity (40, 41).

The Greek yogurt can be consumed raw. Also, you can add it to salads, smoothies, and other dressings. 

13. Fruit (Apple, Grapefruit)

Fruits like apples and grapefruits are the best for healthily losing weight. For example, a study found that 91 individuals with obesity for 12 weeks ate half grapefruit before meals, leading to a weight loss of 3.5 pounds (42).

Also, apples have 86 percent water, great fibers, and nutrition, which may create fullness (43). Having low calories and rich nutrients is best for weight management. You can have them raw, make a salad, or have them with peanut butter. 

Whole grains have a great amount of fiber, beta-glucans, and protein, which is great for satiety and weight regulation. Greek yogurt has many gut-friendly bacteria, boosting the weight loss journey. Fruits like apples and grapefruits have great water content and fiber for weight loss.

What to eat for breakfast to lose weight?

A nutritious, big, and full breakfast usually stops unhealthy cravings and boosts healthy weight. Some best options for breakfast include eggs, bananas, oatmeal, yogurt, smoothies, berries, peanut butter, etc.

What to eat for lunch to lose weight fast?

You can add fruits and some light food for lunch. For example, fruits, whole grains, lettuce, veggie wraps, lentil soup, Tuna egg salad, stuffed peppers, etc., are great.

What to eat before bed to lose weight?

You can eat a small quantity of food with nutrient density. The food must be light. You can try yogurt and berries, low-fat and sugar-free protein shakes, cottage cheese and fruit, oatmeal, turkey sandwiches, egg wrap, etc.

What to eat after a workout to lose weight?

A good mix of protein and carbohydrates is essential after the workout. For example, you can try smoothies with berries and mangoes, bananas with peanut butter, baked sweet potato and egg, and mixed salad with sweet potato and avocado.

What to eat to lose weight and gain muscle?

Consume lean protein, complex carbs, and rich antioxidant food to lose weight and gain muscle. The must-eats are berries, yogurt, flax seeds, mixed nuts, broccoli, spinach, turkey, oats, green tea, fish oil, whole eggs, etc.

What foods help fight belly fat?

Though it depends on genetics whether a person loses fat in a particular part of the body, foods are rich in fiber, and anti-inflammatory properties may help fight belly fat. Such as chia seeds, green tea, salmon, whole grains, lettuce, edamame, bananas, broccoli, beans, etc.

Summary

So, the question of what foods help you to lose weight is finally answered and justified. These healthy options have loads of nutrients that aid in weight loss. These foods will help you gradually shed weight and maintain it without fluctuations. Also, these power-packed foods make some amazing, healthy, and delicious foods. So, try these scientifically proven foods for weight loss, and let us know what else we missed. Share your feedback and healthy weight journey here.

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Peifen Chou RD

Medical reviewed by Peifen Chou, RD

Obstetrics and gynecology, lactation instructor, integrative medicine, aromatherapist, holistic nutritional consulting, functional medicine, and pet nutrition.

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