The two most important aspects of losing weight that people should remember are: It’s not about deprivation, it’s about moderation; and think quality, not quantity. “You can eat as much as you want as long as it is the right food, and your body will be a fat burning machine,” Dr. Daryl Gioffre, Founder of Alkamind and celebrity nutritionist, says. When people think of shedding extra pounds, they think their diet needs be 100 percent perfect, and this is the quickest way to sabotage not only your weight loss, but your health, he adds. The right methods may take a little bit longer, but the weight loss will sustain, and that is the ultimate outcome.
“I am a big fan of spicy foods for weight loss because spicy foods such as jalapenos and hot sauce increase your thermogenesis, which allows your body to build heat and burn more calories,” Gastroenterologist Dr. Prem Chattoo, owner of The Warren in New York City, says. “They also increase your metabolism, which allows you to burn energy from food at a faster rate.”
These foods are excellent for nutritional input, weight concerns, and assistance with output, Dr. Karena Wu, healthcare expert and owner of ActiveCare Physical Therapy in New York City, says. “Dark, leafy greens have tons of vitamins and minerals which help do a body good. They are also low in calories, which helps anyone looking to lose weight.” They also have fiber, which helps move things along, she adds.
“Many peppers are highly alkaline and great for your metabolism,” Dr. Daryl Gioffre, Founder of Alkamind and celebrity nutritionist, says. Good options are red bell peppers, yellow and orange, shishito, jalapeno, cayenne (excellent for weight loss), and black pepper. “Avoid the green ones as they are acidic.”
Lemons have an acidic medium that helps to burn fat. “Try putting lemon in hot water each morning before each meal – you'll burn fat and have a suppressed appetite,” Dr. Chattoo says. Lemons are real superstars when it comes to vitamin C. Just one serving provides more than 180 percent of the daily value. They also provide, iron, potassium, fiber, and magnesium. The nutrients in lemons help prevent kidney stones, aid with weight loss by improving digestion, and balance pH levels.
“Hummus and other bean dips make satisfying alternatives to some other dips that offer few nutrition benefits,” Marisa Moore, registered dietitian nutritionist, says. Not only are beans high in protein and fiber, but bean dips are a blank canvas for other goodies like garlic and are perfect paired with fresh, crunchy vegetables, she adds. “Chickpeas in particular are high in fiber and pair well with a variety of different flavors and cooking methods from mashing to sautéing and roasting.”
Known as one of the “superfoods,” these vegetables contain cancer-fighting substances and are quite filling, Dr. Wu says. These vegetables are also powerful in fiber and nutrients. Broccoli is high in dietary fiber, low in calories and fat, and loaded with vitamins and minerals, Hamilton adds. “It'll fill you up while helping you to lose weight at the same time.”
Cucumbers are made up of 95 percent water and are extremely low in calories. “Water in itself can help boost metabolism, so with that plus all the nutrients in cucumbers, such as copper and potassium, filling you up, you'll be on the right weight loss track,” Hamilton says. Animal research has consistently shown that extracts from cucumbers may provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits as well.
When you are looking to lose weight, you want all hands on deck for your liver, Dr. Gioffre says. “One of my favorite detox protocols in my 7-Day Alkaline Cleanse to lose weight is the Detox Tea.” The black pepper will increase the potency of the turmeric by 2,000 percent, he adds. The tea is an acid fighter, an anti-oxidant, anti-carcinogenic, antifungal, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and very helpful in losing weight, because weight gain in ALL forms is an ACID problem, he adds. “Lose the acid, and you will lose the weight, Dr. Gioffre says.
“Mustard is high on flavor and light on calories making it an ideal salad dressing mix in and sandwich spread,” Moore says. “Spritz salad greens with a squeeze of citrus juice or apple cider, pomegranate or balsamic vinegar for extra flavor and pizzazz.” Nearly half of the carbs in mustard seed come from dietary fiber, which makes you feel full and is an important nutrient that supports digestive health.
“Celery is an age-old weight loss food because its net loss in calories is higher than its net gain in calories,” Dr. Chattoo says. “It takes more energy to break down celery, so when you eat it, you burn calories.” Celery is high in phytonutrient antioxidants, which have anti-inflammatory properties. Research has shown celery is a great source of flavonols and flavone antioxidants.
They are protein-rich, fiber-rich powerhouses that help in weight-loss, Dr. Wu says. “They can make you feel full quickly and are a healthy, non-meat source of protein. Beans are a fabulous source of vegetarian protein and fiber—two nutrients that help you stay full and satisfied. The protein and fiber in beans also stabilize the rise in blood sugar that occurs after eating. Moreover, as a meat substitute, they are a rich source of iron. Beans are low in fat and have high antioxidant content.
“I am a fan of carrots, but in moderation (no more than 2 to 3x per week) because they are 12 percent sugar,” Dr. Gioffre says. “In moderation they are a good food, because they are a high water content vegetable, loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.” They are high in fiber which is great for weight loss; and they are very slow-digesting, which is good when you are trying to shed the pounds as they keep you feeling fuller longer, he adds.
Melons such as watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew have high water contents, which will make you feel full faster, Hamilton says. “On top of that, they are low-density energy foods, which means you get few calories for larger volumes of food. They also contain lots of vitamin C and vitamin A which help to boost the immune system.”
Dehydration is a major cause of poor digestion. “Water washes out toxins,” Dr. Chattoo says. “If you drink twice the amount of water you're supposed to each day, around 15 or 16 glasses compared to 8 glasses, it’ll help you lose weight.” Thirst can masquerade as hunger and the body doesn’t know the difference. Avoid the confusion by drinking water before mealtime. You’ll also feel fuller so you won’t end up eating a lot of food.
They are great options you can add to a smoothie that help with weight loss, Dr. Gioffre says. “Use sunflower seeds in moderation as they have a high amount of omega 6 fatty acids which you need to avoid.” Some studies suggest that the anti-inflammatory benefits of flaxseeds might help prevent weight gain by reducing the risk for diseases like metabolic syndrome and diabetes. Just two tablespoons of ground flaxseed contain more than 140 percent of the daily value of the inflammation-reducing omega-3 fatty acids.
Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids which help in reducing inflammation, Dr. Wu says. “It also contains iodine which helps with thyroid function and metabolic health.” Salmon is a true year-round superfood. It’s a great source of protein as well. It is also a natural stress-reliever: Studies have shown that people who took omega-3 supplements had a 14 percent reduction in anxiety.
“With 3 cups per serving, popcorn can be a low calorie and fiber rich snack,” Moore says. And you can do a lot with it. “Skip the movie theater butter style popcorn for your own stovetop or air popped variety.” Punch up the flavor and crunch with bold spices as in my Smoked Paprika Almond Popcorn Bowl, she adds.
When it comes to fish, Dr. Gioffre recommends - other than salmon - sardines, anchovies, walleye, and trout. “All others are toxic, pro-inflammatory, and contain heavy metals and need to be avoided,” he adds. “Ideally try to source your fish from New Zealand and Spain.”
Egg yolk contains leucine which is an amino acid necessary for muscle health and many other important vitamins, Dr. Wu says. “Egg whites are all protein and very few calories; yet, in order to make a mixed meal you should consume a carbohydrate, protein, and fat,” Lisa Mikus, RD, CNSC, CDN, says. The yolk contains fats, fat-soluble vitamins, phosphorus, and choline. Recent research shows that dietary cholesterol actually does not correlate as strongly to cholesterol in the blood as previously thought. “It’s more important to focus on if you are consuming enough healthy fat,” she adds.
Limes are alkaline-forming to your body, Dr. Gioffre says. When deciphering if a food is alkaline (which is good) or acid (which is bad), there are 2 things you have to look at – the mineral content, and the sugar content, he adds. Limes are 2 percent sugar, where oranges are 12 percent. The oranges, due to their high sugar content, will ferment once consumed and turn top acid and alcohol. In addition, ALWAYS consume fruits by themselves. Dr. Gioffre says. “They have a much faster transit time through your digestive system compared to other foods like protein and starches. That is why one of the worst things you can do is have fruit for dessert after a meal – it will get stuck in your stomach and ferment and rot while the slow moving protein or starchy foods digest.”
Blueberries are super rich on antioxidants, potassium, and vitamin C, which can help protect our cells from damaging free radicals, and fiber, which can promote fullness and good digestive health,” Millie Wilson, Registered Dietitian for My Fit Foods, says. Research has suggested they are important for fighting cancer and Alzheimer’s. A 2010 study found that people with memory problems due to their age, who drank 2.5 cups of blueberry juice a day, made significant improvement in memory and learning. Blackberries, too, are very rich on antioxidants. They are powerhouses of essential amino acids, minerals, and vitamins, and provide a boost of energy and fiber which help regulate blood sugar levels and digestive health.
This delicious plant is a mild diuretic and helps in the removal of toxins, according to Monica Amsterdam, CHC, AADP, FDN-P, director of nutrition at the Medical and Wellness Center of New Jersey. In addition, artichokes purify and protect the liver; they are high in fiber, and consequently keep you less bloated because they promote regularity.
“Dairy can be part of a balanced diet,” Moore says. “Cultured dairy products like Greek yogurt and kefir are especially convenient sources of probiotics, protein, calcium, and other nutrients.” A study found that yogurt consumption was associated with weight loss. Researchers came to that conclusion after observing 120,000 people for 20 years. Be sure to choose yogurts that don’t contain excessive amounts of added sugar. Buy unflavored varieties and add your own sweeteners, like fresh fruit (for fiber).
“These are one of my favorite add-ins to yogurt and smoothies,” Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in Jersey City, NJ, says. “Strawberries are naturally sweet, so you can add them to your yogurt, smoothies, and more instead of adding additional sugar.” They’re also a good source of filling fiber—one cup of strawberry halves provides 12 percent of the daily value, she adds.
“This oil contains healthy fats, and a study in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology shows that it may be helpful for weight loss,” Gorin says. “In the study, older adults who had type 2 diabetes or high cardiovascular risk ate a Mediterranean diet, plus additional extra-virgin olive oil, a Mediterranean diet plus additional nuts, or a low-fat diet.” About five years later, all study subjects had lost weight, but the group eating extra olive oil lost the most weight, she adds.
“Choose broth-based soups, and have a cup before the start of your meal, Gorin says. “Research shows that doing so can help you eat less during the meal.”
This whole grain offers a good amount of satiating fiber. “Research in Annals of Internal Medicine shows that eating a high-fiber diet—one containing 30 or more grams daily—led to subjects losing about four pounds over the course of a year,” Gorin says. “My Creamy Rice with Parsnip, Onion & Pepper is one of my favorite ways to eat brown rice—and as a bonus, it includes fiber-rich veggies.”
“Quinoa is rich in vitamins and protein, but low in calories to make for a perfect food when looking to lose weight,” Michelle Roots, owner and personal trainer at CORE Conditioning, says. It is loaded with fiber and protein, both which aid in weight loss. According to livestrong, “the protein in quinoa helps stabilize your blood sugar and, because protein takes more energy to break down than carbs or fat, you'll actually burn more calories during digestion.” Tip: Make sure you practice portion control when eating quinoa; too much may result in too many calories.
“This low calorie, low glycemic fruit contains fat burning enzymes and lots of fiber to help boost metabolism and reduce appetite,” Roots says. Research has also concluded that the consumption of grapefruit, whether eaten as a whole fruit, half, juice or capsule form, led to more weight loss and lower blood sugar in 91 obese people, according to livestrong.com.
Nuts are rich in protein and fiber which help ward off hunger, Roots says. While the omega-3 fatty acid content in it helps you burn fat faster.
“Avocados are a great fat to add to your daily diet, as they encourage fat burning and fight insulin resistance,” Roots says. “They are also loaded with antioxidants and fiber to keep you feeling full for longer.”
“Oats are low in calories and fat and also contain protein, whole grains, and fibre to make for a perfect low glycemic addition to any breakfast or snack bar,” Roots says.
“These milks are low in calories and contain no hormones or antibiotics to make for the perfect milk substitute,” Roots says.
“Black pepper contains a naturally occurring chemical compound called piperine, which is responsible for giving it its pungent flavor,” everydayroots.com says. Piperine has been shown to reduce fat levels in the blood stream. “This spice aids in boosting metabolism, helps digestion, and aids nutrient absorption to make for the perfect zero calorie topping to many foods,” Roots says.
“Choose foods like almonds to keep hunger in check through the day,” Moore says. With 6 grams of hunger-smashing protein and 4 grams of fiber per serving, almonds are a heart-healthy snack that’s ready whenever and wherever you are, she adds. “Skip the chips and crunch on a handful of almonds solo or with a piece of fruit for a satisfying snack.”
Some of the best vegetables to keep you full for longer are all the green leafies and orange veggies, like butternut squash, acorn squash, and sweet potatoes, Dr. Rob Silverman, a nutritionist, says. They are very filling. All are packed with health-promoting nutrients, like vitamin A and fiber. Squash is a good source of antioxidants needed for a healthy immune system.
Vegetables, especially green leafs, are a great source of fiber. It helps your body get rid of everything that passes through your digestive tract. Fiber is only found in plant-based foods, which is why eating foods high on fiber means you’re consuming less calories and more vitamins as well. So next time you’re hungry, go to the vegetable tray, add some kind of dressing or, even better, hummus, and see what happens.
Other than because it tastes awesome, lean beef is a great diet choice due to the large amount of protein (nearly half of the recommended daily value), iron and B-vitamins it has. They satisfy your appetite for a long time (in addition to being a great source to build muscle). According to a research, lean beef also helps improve your cholesterol. Contrary to popular belief, unprocessed red meat does not raise the risk of heart disease or diabetes, a study says.