Losing weight doesn’t have to be boring and bland. But when the word “diet” has negative vibes, what else would you think? Thankfully, it’s possible to enjoy meals and shed pounds, if you know which foods help you lose weight.
To start, focus on fiber and protein. Fiber is slowly digested, so you’ll stay full for a long time. It even heightens the endocrine responses that control satiety.1 Meanwhile, protein also heightens the satiety signals, adding to overall fullness.2
Other foods have nutrients that increase metabolism and burn fat. Top that with fresh spices and herbs, and it won’t even feel like you’re on a diet.
Ready to shed pounds? Here are seven foods that will aid your weight loss journey.
No, this isn’t about the infamous Grapefruit Diet. Instead, eat half a grapefruit before a meal, three times a day. A 2006 study found that this technique helped people lose 3.5 pounds over 12 weeks.3
When part of a healthy diet, grapefruit makes weight loss a breeze.
Beans are the complete package. They have lean protein, fiber, and are budget-friendly! A 2016 study even found that they promote weight loss without severely restricting calories.
Lentils and dry peas have the same effect, so you have lots of options.4
3. Spicy Peppers
If you can take the heat, spice up your meals with peppers! Capsaicin, the compound that makes them spicy, reduces appetite and energy intake.5 It also promotes thermogenesis through the central nervous system.6
4. Sweet Peppers
Do spicy peppers mess with your stomach? Here’s some good news: sweet peppers have the same effect. They contain dihydrocapsiate (DCT), a non-spicy compound similar to capsaicin. DCT also causes thermogenesis but without the gastrointestinal side effects.7
5. Dark Chocolate
Your sweet tooth will be happy to know that dark chocolate aids weight loss. In a 2012 study, researchers found that those who ate it twice a week had a lower BMI.
As a fermented food, kimchi is a rich source of probiotics. These “good” bacteria restore gut balance and keep things in check. This will lower the risk of weight gain and obesity, according to a 2014 study in Cell.10
Oatmeal is a high-fiber food linked to satiety. So later during the day, your lunchtime energy intake will be lower.11
Don’t love the flavor? Oatmeal is easy to customize, so pile on the fruits for extra fiber. You can even add dark chocolate for a sweet weight loss meal.
|↑1||Burton-Freeman, Britt, Dhanesh Liyanage, Sajida Rahman, and Indika Edirisinghe. “Ratios of soluble and insoluble dietary fibers on satiety and energy intake in overweight pre-and Postmenopausal women1.” Nutrition and Healthy Aging Preprint (2017): 1-11.|
|↑2||Li, Siying S., Cyril WC Kendall, Russell J. Souza, Viranda H. Jayalath, Adrian I. Cozma, Vanessa Ha, Arash Mirrahimi et al. “Dietary pulses, satiety and food intake: A systematic review and meta‐analysis of acute feeding trials.” Obesity 22, no. 8 (2014): 1773-1780.|
|↑3||Fujioka, Ken, Frank Greenway, Judy Sheard, and Yu Ying. “The effects of grapefruit on weight and insulin resistance: relationship to the metabolic syndrome.” Journal of medicinal food 9, no. 1 (2006): 49-54.|
|↑4||Kim, Shana J., Russell J. de Souza, Vivian L. Choo, Vanessa Ha, Adrian I. Cozma, Laura Chiavaroli, Arash Mirrahimi et al. “Effects of dietary pulse consumption on body weight: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 103, no. 5 (2016): 1213-1223.|
|↑5||Reinbach, Helene Christine, A. Smeets, Torben Martinussen, Per Møller, and M. S. Westerterp-Plantenga. “Effects of capsaicin, green tea and CH-19 sweet pepper on appetite and energy intake in humans in negative and positive energy balance.” Clinical nutrition 28, no. 3 (2009): 260-265.|
|↑6, ↑7||Lee, TszYing Amy, Zhaoping Li, Alona Zerlin, and David Heber. “Effects of dihydrocapsiate on adaptive and diet-induced thermogenesis with a high protein very low calorie diet: a randomized control trial.” Nutrition & metabolism 7, no. 1 (2010): 78.|
|↑8||Golomb, Beatrice A., Sabrina Koperski, and Halbert L. White. “Association between more frequent chocolate consumption and lower body mass index.” Archives of internal medicine 172, no. 6 (2012): 519-521.|
|↑9||Mursu, Jaakko, Sari Voutilainen, Tarja Nurmi, Tiina H. Rissanen, Jyrki K. Virtanen, Jari Kaikkonen, Kristiina Nyyssönen, and Jukka T. Salonen. “Dark chocolate consumption increases HDL cholesterol concentration and chocolate fatty acids may inhibit lipid peroxidation in healthy humans.” Free Radical Biology and Medicine 37, no. 9 (2004): 1351-1359.|
|↑10||Goodrich, Julia K., Jillian L. Waters, Angela C. Poole, Jessica L. Sutter, Omry Koren, Ran Blekhman, Michelle Beaumont et al. “Human genetics shape the gut microbiome.” Cell 159, no. 4 (2014): 789-799.|
|↑11||Rebello, Candida J., William D. Johnson, Corby K. Martin, Hongmei Han, Yi-Fang Chu, Nicolas Bordenave, B. Jan Willem van Klinken, Marianne O’Shea, and Frank L. Greenway. “Instant oatmeal increases satiety and reduces energy intake compared to a ready-to-eat oat-based breakfast cereal: a randomized crossover trial.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition 35, no. 1 (2016): 41-49.|