More and more research continues to suggest that the types of foods we eat play a significant role in helping to maintain a healthy weight. In other words, some foods may be able to help promote weight loss, while others are likely culprits for encouraging weight gain. That’s not to say that we can eat endless amounts of foods that have been identified as “weight-loss-friendly” without increasing our waistlines; paying attention to portion sizes is crucial no matter how nutritious a food may be. Rather, it means that calories aren’t the only thing that matter when it comes to weight loss. Want to know what foods might help make the weight loss process a little bit easier? The following nutritious whole foods have been shown to help promote weight loss and healthy weight maintenance.
A recent study from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy at Tufts University published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that the types of carbohydrate- and protein-rich foods we eat may have an effect on long-term weight gain. While the results found that those who consumed more refined grains, sugars, starches, and red and “processed” meat products were more likely to gain weight, they also found that yogurt consumption was associated with weight loss. However, be sure to choose yogurts that don’t contain excessive amounts of added sugar. Instead, try purchasing unflavored varieties and adding your own sweeteners, like fruit or honey.
The same study published in in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that found an association between eating yogurt and weight loss also found the same was true for seafood. Fish like salmon, tuna and shrimp are high in protein, which means they’ll help keep you feeling full and satiated, and also contain heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
Another protein-rich food, the study from Tufts also found that skinless chicken (like grilled chicken breast) was associated with weight loss.
Additionally, the Tufts researchers found that eating nuts, which contain protein and healthy fats, was associated with losing weight. Just be sure to keep your caloric intake in check by measuring out appropriate portion sizes, as nuts are typically a higher-calorie food.
A 2011 report published by Harvard researchers in The New England Journal of Medicine, which examined how small changes in behaviors like sleep habits, TV-watching, exercising and eating habits can effect long-term weight gain, found that what we eat is one of the most important factors when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight. In fact, the results were able to identify how much weight loss (or gain) can be attributed to a daily serving of specific foods, and vegetables were at the top of the list of foods that helped to promote weight loss.
As part of that same report, the researchers at Harvard identified whole grains, like barley, oats, quinoa, rye and brown rice, as the second best type of food for promoting weight loss.
In third place and right behind whole grains, fruits came in as the number three food that helped to aid with losing weight, according to the report from Harvard researchers. Nuts and yogurt also made their list of weight-loss-friendly foods.
Several studies have suggested that green tea may be able to help prevent weight gain by aiding the body’s fat-burning process and boosting the metabolism. However, many studies involving green tea examine its effects in high-dosages (like four or more cups per day), so not all scientists and nutritionists are entirely convinced of its weight loss powers. Either way, one or two cups a day is likely still helpful and can offer several other health benefits, too.
Chick peas, as well as other beans and lentils, are also touted for their high-fiber contents as well as for being rich in protein, both nutrients that help keep us feeling full and satiated.