The best kept secret to losing weight is to eat. For decades we have thought to lose weight you had to eat less. That is a bad idea. If it worked everyone would be thin because everyone has tried cutting calories at least once right? The real secret is not how much you eat but what you eat and when you eat it. We are designed to eat and be lean. Here are a few foods that are particularly good at helping you do just that. I think you might be pleasantly surprised.
A grapefruit a day in addition to your regular meals can speed weight loss. The fruit’s acidity slows digestion, meaning it takes longer to move through your system, and you’ll end up feeling fuller, and more satisfied, for longer. People who are deficient in vitamin C cling more stubbornly to fat. And the vitamin C-packed grapefruit also works to lower cholesterol and decrease risk of stroke, heart disease, and some types of cancer. My favorite breakfast is scrambled eggs with vegetables and a whole grapefruit.
This delicious spice slows the passage of food through your stomach. It also lowers your blood sugar levels by stimulating glucose metabolism. You can also sprinkle this spice in your oatmeal, stews or coffee.
Chia may prove to be your best weapon in the battle for weight loss as well as improved health and even a higher level of fitness. Chia seeds curb cravings, attacks “middle fat”, and gives you a full and satisfied feeling. It is also very high in omega-3’s, (which reduce inflammation, risk of heart disease, cancer, mood swings, dry skin, poor circulation and arthritis), high in protein, contains all eight essential amino acids, high in anti-oxidants, high in calcium, increases endurance and lubricates joints. You can buy it online, at the Co-op, at Natural Grocers on Milwaukee or Bob’s Red Mill has it at Fred Meyer sometimes. Eat it plain, put it in any food or beverage or find recipes online. It has little taste and a long storage life. There is no need to grind it. When I eat one tablespoon in the morning I am not hungry for hours but eat anyway! For more information go to http://www.azchia.com/
Anytime you choose a whole-grain product over one made from nutrient-stripped white flour, you wage war against belly fat. Penn State researchers found that dieters who ate whole-grains lost twice as much belly fat as those who stuck to white-flour products—even though they’d consumed the same number of calories. What’s more, quinoa contains twice the protein as regular cereal grains, fewer glucose-raising carbohydrates, and even a handful of healthy fats. So start your day off with a cup of cooked quinoa combined with a ½ cup of milk and ½ cup of blueberries—microwave for 60 seconds, and you have a delicious (and slimming) alternative to your traditional oatmeal. Bob’s Red Mill Organic Quinoa won “Best Grain” in Men’s Health’s Best Foods Awards 2009.
First of all, calcium in any typical form helps control hunger but when consumed in dairy products it is markedly more effective. It appears that the other ingredients in dairy act synergistically with the calcium. In a study by University of Tennessee researchers showed that eating three servings of dairy significantly reduced body fat in obese subjects. And if subjects restricted calories while consuming dairy, fat and weight loss accelerated. Consuming dairy immediately after a whole-body resistance training and again one hour later can also increase fat loss and allow greater muscle gains. Check out the BSU Bronco’s endorsement of milk at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5NOZ2VrPLY&feature=fvst
You might increase the benefits of dairy again by drinking kefir. Think of kefir as drinkable yogurt, or an extra-thick, protein-packed smoothie. In either case, this delicious dairy product is a belly blasting essential. Beyond the satiety-inducing protein, the probiotics in kefir may also speed weight loss. British scientists found that these active organisms boosted the breakdown of fat molecules in mice, preventing the rodents from gaining weight. The researchers still need to prove the finding in humans, but there’s no danger in downing probiotic-packed products.
Never fear this full-fat Mediterranean-diet staple: It’s teeming with healthy monounsaturated fats (also found in olive oil), which have been linked to lowered LDL cholesterol levels and weight loss. In fact, a recent longitudinal study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that the healthy-fat Mediterranean diet was more effective than a diet that avoided fats altogether – so go ahead and indulge!
A British study found that people who increased the percentage of protein-based calories in their diet burned 71 more calories a day (that’s 7.4 pounds a year!). More studies support the growing body of research on the nutritional benefit of egg consumption including that eggs promote weight loss and aid brain and memory function. A randomized study at Louisiana State University found that overweight and obese women who consumed a breakfast of 2 eggs a day for 5 or more days a week for 8 weeks, lost 65% more weight, had an 83% greater reduction in waist circumference and reported greater improvements in energy levels than the women who consumed a bagel breakfast with the same number of calories. Jump start your metabolism as soon as you wake up with a protein-rich breakfast of scrambled eggs. Please don’t dump the yolk. That’s where all the nutrition is!
The old weight loss paradigm of “fat makes you fat” just won’t go away. Fats are necessary for absorption of many nutrients, protect organs, improve skin and leaves us feeling more satisfied. Coconut oil is sweet and rich and was shown to do some great things for abdominally obese women in a study out of Brazil, including decreasing waist circumference and improving cholesterol. One study in the International Journal of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders found that the MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides) in coconut increased fat burning and calorie expenditure in obese men, and also led to diminished fat storage. Another study in the same journal found that consumption of coconut oil fats over the course of 27 days increased both fat burning and calorie expenditure in women as well. All the results are not yet in, but there seems to be something to the idea that coconut oil, with its rich concentration of MCTs, may increase fat burning and calorie expenditure, especially if MCTs replace other fats in the diet such as safflower oil, soybean oil and other typical high omega-6 vegetable oils.
Comprised of fructose and glucose, honey is different from sugar in its sweetness and flavor complexity. Honey is a delicious and sweet product that has gained notoriety for being a health food and preferable choice to sugar and artificial sweeteners. It provides minerals and vitamins not found in sugar, and it is touted as causing weight loss, although the mechanisms are not explained. Honey is a food as opposed to table sugar, which is a chemical devoid of any nutrient. Honey is known to be antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal has a wide range of health benefits and may improve blood sugar control and immunity. Local, raw honey is always best but don’t feed it to babies.
Muscle building, blood pressure lowering, mitochondria revving, blues-chasing, antiviral, anti-allergic, anti-platelet, anti-tumor, and anti Alzheimer’s. Reduces heart disease by 37%, diabetes by 31% and stroke by 29% and might even make you smarter. Best of all for dieters is it is very satisfying and curbs appetite. Eat chocolate that is at least 70% cocoa. My favorite is Green & Blacks 85%. Available at Fred Meyers, Walgreen’s and now in some Albertson’s stores. Theo is also a great brand. Both use whole sugars and better quality ingredients.
Pepitas is the Spanish word for pumpkin or squash seeds. High in omega-3 fatty acids, these seeds have been shown to decrease the body’s ability to store fat. They’re also high in protein and magnesium which helps curb cravings and strengthen muscles. Try eating them either by roasting them or sprinkling them on meals.
Apples are the perfect pre-dinner snack. Soluble fiber in apples, called pectin, reduces the amount of sugar and calories that’s absorbed into the bloodstream after a meal. That’s good news for folks who want to prevent type 2 diabetes, but it also makes apples one of the best snacks for dieters. Apple pectin prevents spikes in blood sugar that lead to increased fat storage. It will help you avoid the blood sugar “crash” that leaves you craving more food and can keep you satiated for up to two hours.
Just a handful of pine nuts every day can help suppress hunger. Pine nuts contain pinolenic acid, a naturally occurring fat that stimulates cholecystokinin (CCK) and glucagon-like peptide (GLP-1), both powerful hormones that alert the brain that the stomach is full. In one study, women who consumed pinolenic acid reported a decreased desire to eat and also reduced their food intake by 36%. These small nuts also contain the highest protein content of any nut, so they’re a great two-for-one deal!
A recent study showed that women who ate water-rich foods lost 33% more weight in the first 6 months than women on a low-fat diet. Watermelon also contains vitamins A and C, as well as the “mother of all antioxidants,” glutathione, which is known to help strengthen the immune system.
Squash morning hunger pangs by drinking fennel tea before bed. Fennel is known for its cleansing, clarifying flavor that helps reset taste buds and reduce cravings. It also boosts digestion, facilitating the absorption of nutrients, and reducing fat storage in the body. You do not need to buy a special tea. Just look for fennel seed in the bulk section of most health food stores. Winco usually carries it as well.
Capsaicin, the compound that gives these spicy peppers their zing, also curbs your appetite while you eat. Not only that, it raises your body temperature, which may boost your metabolism. Add some chili sauce to omelets, soups, sauces or burgers.
And you thought losing weight was about eating celery sticks!