Think weight loss is all about sacrifice? These super healthy, super tasty foods can help you shed the pounds.
What to look for
- Low calorie density. Your body doesn't count calories – instead, it responds to the volume of food in your stomach. Fool your brain into satiety by choosing foods that have a lot of bulk but few calories like fruits, vegetables and popcorn.
This principle doesn't just apply to snacks – a piece of fruit, a leafy green salad or a cup of soup before a meal will help you eat less during that meal too.
- Fibre. In addition to keeping you regular, dietary fibre also curbs your appetite. Fibre helps slow the absorption of sugar into the blood stream and prevents blood sugar spikes -- plus it keeps you feeling fuller longer, like that bowl of porridge that "sticks with you". In addition, high fibre foods typically require lots of chewing, which also helps the brain recognize you're getting nourishment.
- Protein. It's an important component of muscles, but skimp on this nutrient and you'll lose muscle, not fat. Protein takes a lot energy to use up, and it tends to stick around the digestive tract for a while – also helping you feel satisfied longer.
- Calcium. Don't shun dairy! Not only does calcium help support bones and teeth, it also helps burn fat. Many studies have established that calcium helps stimulate the body to break down fat – especially the fat stored around the abdomen. However, the best weight loss benefits come from low fat dairy sources rather than supplements. High fat dairy should only be an occasional treat.
What about "negative calorie foods"? Unfortunately, experts say there is little or no scientific evidence proving foods like celery, grapefruit and broccoli take more calories to digest than they provide. While they are healthy foods to include in your diet, experts warn they aren't a surefire strategy to lose weight.
NEXT: 10 foods to boost your diet
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