You probably think it’s what you don’t eat that helps you lose weight. And for the most part, that’s true. You do have to scale back the amount you eat, but simple weight loss is mainly achieved by adding certain foods to your diet. There are, in fact, a variety of foods to lose weight with.
Their secret? In scientific speak, it’s satiety. In layman’s terms, these foods promote a feeling of fullness, which can prevent you from having seconds (and sometimes even finishing firsts, never mind reaching for dessert). This is the key to losing weight fast.
Simple weight loss starts with adding these secret ingredients to your daily plan:
Eggs for breakfast, beans at lunch, lean meat for dinner equals less hunger. Studies have found that adding more protein to the weight loss diet makes people feel fuller and less likely to overindulge. And now we know why. Researchers at several university centers in England and Australia, who published their findings in the journal Cell Biology in 2014, found that increasing protein in the diet food you eat can increase the amount of a hunger-fighting protein called peptide YY (PYY) in the body. When people were given an injection of PYY, they automatically reduced their food intake by a third. Your body takes a longer time to process protein than it does to absorb carbohydrates, which may account for some of its appetite-suppressing effects. Also, a 2015 study in the International Journal of Obesity suggests that l-cysteine, an amino acid found in protein, may be driving appetite control by suppressing ghrelin, the so-called “hunger hormone,” In the body.
So how do you work more protein into your diet plan? If you’re on the Nutrisystem weight loss program, make sure you’re not skimping on your PowerFuels each day. Sure, lean fish and poultry are great sources of protein, but they aren’t the only options (Don’t believe us? Click here for a list of 7 High Protein Foods That Aren’t Chicken >).
Eggs are a great option for PowerFuels since they’re packed with protein and other nutrients, but they won’t break the calorie bank. Click here for 8 Easy Egg Recipes You’re Sure to Love >
Greek yogurt is another great protein option. Click here for our popular Berry Delight Yogurt Parfait recipe >
Studies done at Penn State University have found that having a low-calorie soup course before the main event can help reduce your subsequent calorie intake by as much as 20 percent! In these studies, the soups, which were broth-based with plenty of vegetables, only added about 100 to 150 calories but plenty of belly-filling fiber. Other studies by Penn State researchers found that a pre-meal salad is also a good choice, as long as it’s not loaded with fatty ingredients like cheese and meat and drenched in high-fat dressing. While the fatty additions should slow you down-fat promotes fullness, too—the Penn State studies found that people who chose them didn’t compensate for the extra calories at their meals.
Because they’re high in fat and calorie-dense, nuts used to be on every diet no-no list. Not anymore. They’re high in protein and dietary fiber, two key appetite-tamping ingredients. They also contain healthy monounsaturated fat. Penn State researchers found that dieters who were allowed to eat nuts while losing weight stayed on their eating plan longer because they didn’t feel like they were dieting. A study from Harvard recommended nuts as a healthful replacement for other snacks because in their studies, people who ate them regularly weighed less, lost weight faster, and had a lower risk of type 2 diabetes than people who ate them infrequently or not at all.
A meta-analysis of all the clinical studies done on eating beans published in 2014 in the journal Obesity found that just one serving of beans, peas, lentils or chickpeas left people feeling 31 percent fuller that those who didn’t eat these high-fiber foods. As a bonus, regularly eating beans can lower cholesterol by about five percent.
Click here for our bean-packed Chunky Veggie Chili Recipe > Or, click here to check out our Black Bean & Quinoa Pumpkin Soup > Sick of soup? Try this Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad recipe > Or these Veggie & Rice Stuffed Peppers >
The thick stems of spinach and other similar leafy greens contains class of chemicals called thylakoids, which are being studied for their appetite-curbing effects. In one multi-center study, 60 overweight or obese people who were given an extract of this spinach ingredient experienced reduced appetite and hunger for more than two hours. It may work by slowing the digestion of fat in the diet and by suppressing ghrelin in the stomach. So if you’re having a pre-meal salad, it’s a good idea to make it spinach.
Ready to pump up the spinach in your weight losss diet? We’ve got plenty of healthy recipes for you, including: