Diets kinda suck. Many of them require you to restrict or eliminate certain foods or foods groups. These plans are designed to jump start weight loss, but are not necessarily sustainable or even healthy over the long term.
A better strategy for not only shedding pounds but also keeping your body healthy and strong is a balanced diet.
With the exception of nutritionally void junk food, there is little you need to avoid entirely in order to lose weight. Certain foods can help get you there faster, of course, but they aren’t necessarily the foods you immediately think of. In fact, some fantastic weight loss foods might be the very ones you think you have to scratch from your diet.
Stay with us – there is a lot of good news ahead about the tasty foods that actually promote weight loss.
7. Whole Eggs
For the longest time, we’ve been counselled to avoid eggs entirely or at least stick to the flavorless white. And it is true that eggs are high in cholesterol. However, recent studies have proven that there is no connection between eating eggs and unhealthy cholesterol levels, nor between eggs and heart disease.
In fact, eggs actually promote weight loss because they are high in protein, nutritionally dense, and have enough healthy fats to keep you feeling satisfied, all for a relatively low number of calories. The ability of eggs to promote satiety is very beneficial to a weight loss diet in which you are probably limiting overall caloric intake. Eat eggs over refined grain products like bagels in order to get the nutrition you need and feel full longer.
Meat has been seriously demonized in the press, and blamed for all sorts of health problems, especially cancer. The problem is that there needs to be a better distinction drawn between meat in general and processed meat. Products like hot dogs, bacon, lunch meat, and sausage are all preserved with carcinogenic nitrates and nitrites (even naturally smoked foods).
But studies show that consumption of unprocessed meat does not significantly raise the risk of heart disease, diabetes, or cancer. In fact, unprocessed meat is a diet-friendly food because of its high protein content. High protein diets can increase your calorie-burning potential by 80-100 calories per day. Maintaining a diet with 25% of daily calories coming from protein is thought to lead to weight loss of about a pound per week, as well as cut snack cravings by 60%.
5. White Potatoes
White potatoes have lately been lumped in with other white foods as unhealthy, but potatoes are not white as a result of some refining process that strips away all of the natural nutrients. On the contrary, potatoes offer a wide range of vitamins and minerals, including at least some of almost everything you need to survive. They are also high in potassium, which works in balance with sodium to regulate the way our bodies use water.
In terms of weight loss, eating potatoes regularly can keep you feeling full and less likely to eat more calories than you intend. Once slightly cooled after cooking, potatoes also form significant resistant starch, a fibrous substance that also supports weight loss. Just remember to boil or bake your potatoes, rather than fry them, and you’re all good.
Avocados are loaded with fat, so it’s counterintuitive to think that they may aid weight loss. But the fat is avocados is the healthy, monounsaturated kind (the same type as in olive oil), and they also contain quite a bit of water and fiber with very few carbs. The fat content seems to increase our absorption of carotenoid antioxidants found in other vegetables, so avocado can be a perfect addition to a salad.
Avocados provide that creamy mouth-feel that we crave while also supporting digestion in the form of fiber, and delivering important nutrients like potassium and B vitamins. It is a tasty addition to many healthy meals; just don’t down a bunch of fried tortilla chips with guacamole and call it a healthy snack.
Nuts are another high fat food that doesn’t necessarily translate into weight gain. Of course, you can’t binge on nuts and still lose weight, but you can’t really binge on anything and still lose weight, except maybe celery. Nuts are a healthy snack because they contain balanced amounts of protein, fiber, and healthy fats, promoting that all-important satiety.
Scientific research supports the idea that eating nuts improves metabolic health and can even promote weight loss. Population studies indicate that people who eat nuts tend to be healthier and leaner than those who don’t. But if you’re counting calories, be sure to eat nuts in moderation. They make a great crunchy topping to that vegetable and avocado salad we mentioned earlier.
2. Full-Fat Yogurt
Fat is not nearly the enemy it has been portrayed to be. Sugar seems to be a much greater driver of obesity than dietary fat. Yogurt is a great example. It seems natural to gravitate toward low-fat yogurt when you’re on a diet, but it is in fact a junk food in disguise. Manufacturers add a ton of sugar to low-fat yogurt to replace the fat.
On the other hand, studies show that full-fat yogurt is associated with a reduced risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes over time. And some brands of yogurt contain probiotic bacteria that support the health of your gut and protect against inflammation and leptin resistance, one of the major hormonal drivers of obesity. Choose full-fat yogurt with live, active cultures in order to take full advantage of this healthy food.
It’s no surprise that fruit is healthy, but many diets ask you to restrict fruit because of its sugar and carbs. But many population studies prove that people who eat plenty of fruit are healthier than those who avoid it. Fruit does contain natural sugar, but its fiber content keeps that sugar from being released too quickly into the bloodstream and spiking blood sugar levels.
Fruit is packed with vitamins and antioxidants, which lead to greater health and wellbeing. The sweet taste can also help scratch that itch for candy before you derail your whole diet by raiding your kids’ Halloween stash. So while the ketogenic plan says no, fruit is a healthy part of most balanced daily diets.
The keys to enjoying foods that actually taste good and losing weight at the same time are moderation and balance. Many diets fail because they are restrictive and complicated.
Evidence shows that your best chance of maintaining a healthy weight is to institute a nutritious diet you can live with, so that it’s not strictly a diet, but simply how you eat. As you can see, plenty of rich and satisfying foods fit the bill. Make sure to include at least 20 minutes of aerobic exercise per day, and you are well on your way to the slim physique you desire.