You may be tempted to restrict calories if you’re attempting to lose weight, but doing so puts your health at danger. In reality, studies suggest that a diet of less than 1,000 calories per day does not supply your body with the balanced nutrition it requires, and it can lead to vitamin and mineral shortages, which can lead to major health problems.
Furthermore, eating considerably fewer calories than you require encourages your body to utilise its own muscle and organ tissues as a source of energy. Your metabolic rate will be slower if you have less lean tissue mass, which is not optimal for weight loss.
Instead of controlling your caloric consumption, Jamie Feit, a registered dietitian nutritionist and creator of Jamie Feit Nutrition in White Plains, New York, recommends focusing on giving your body better meals. According to specialists, the greatest foods to promote a healthy and long-term weight loss plan are as follows.
The Importance of Food in Weight Loss
According to Matthew Olesiak, M.D., chief medical director of health technology company SANESolution in Bellevue, Washington, weight control is mostly a hormonal response to certain foods. “Hormones convey signals to the brain that affect our hunger, cravings, and body weight,” he explains. The following are some of the ways that particular foods alter your hunger hormones:
Protein instantly fills you up and keeps you satisfied for a long period. According to Dr. Olesiak, it also reduces post-meal releases of the hunger hormone ghrelin, which reduces hungry symptoms.
He adds, “Protein takes more energy to digest and improves lean muscle mass, both of which help raise metabolism.”
Dr. Olesiak notes that dietary fibre slows digestion and ensures a gradual rise in blood glucose levels, which results in a slower release of the fat-storage hormone insulin.
“When fibre passes through the digestive tract, many satiety hormones (including ghrelin) are released, sending messages to the brain to reduce hunger and regulate food intake,” he explains.
According to Kara Landau, a registered dietitian, gut health specialist, and founder of snack brand Uplift Food in Brooklyn, New York, this means you’ll feel fuller for longer, which can help you avoid overeating and reduce your overall caloric consumption. “Prebiotic soluble fibre also nourishes the good bacteria in your big intestine, improving gut health,” she says.
According to Dr. Olesiak, ultra-processed meals are poor in minerals and fibre, thus they are easily digested. “Eating them (think potato chips, candy bars, and toaster pastries) induces a quick spike in blood glucose levels, triggering a considerable release of insulin,” he explains. He says that because insulin must swiftly eliminate glucose from your bloodstream, the majority of those calories are transferred to your fat cells.
“Ideally, you’ll use these calories the next time you’re in need of energy.” “However, if you eat a steady diet of ultra-processed foods, you’ll always be making deposits to your fat cells, never withdrawals,” Dr. Olesiak explains.
Weight Loss in a Healthy and Long-Term Manner
According to Dr. Olesiak, calorie restriction isn’t necessary; in fact, it’s not advisable. Rather, eating full, unprocessed, high-quality foods is the healthiest and most sustainable strategy to reduce weight. He claims that these foods “naturally manage your hunger, enhance your metabolism, and encourage fat burning.”
Feit recommends avoiding as much processed foods, fried foods, and refined sugars as possible, as well as watching portion sizes. “Using the plate technique, where half of your plate is made up of fruits and vegetables, a quarter of lean protein, and a quarter of fiber-filled carbohydrates is a terrific plan,” she explains.
According to Landau, eating a range of clean, unprocessed meals can also help your gut health. “Not only is good gut health linked to a stronger insulin response (which reduces fat stored around the midsection), but it can also help decrease inflammation and improve immunity, both of which will make you feel better physically and mentally, allowing you to stay on track to meet your weight loss goals,” she adds.
Experts Suggest 16 Weight-Loss-Friendly Foods
The meals listed below can help you lose weight and improve your overall health in a variety of ways.
According to Feit, lean protein sources like chicken, turkey, and grass-fed lean beef help you stay full, reduce cravings, and maintain blood sugar stability. Plant-based proteins, such as legumes, beans, and lentils, have similar benefits and are high in fibre, promoting satiety.
With the exception of Vitamin C, eggs contain nearly every necessary vitamin as well as minerals such as phosphorus, calcium, and potassium. Eggs are versatile for diverse tastes in addition to being a complete protein source, according to Feit.
According to Feit, all types of vegetables can help with weight loss. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage, for example, are high in fibre and vitamins and can aid with digestion. Dark green leafy vegetables, on the other hand, are high in protein and high in vitamins, minerals, and fibre. Snacking on crisp veggies like celery and jicama is also a low-calorie choice.
Avocados, according to Feit, are vastly underappreciated. The fruit is dense in fibre and a good amount of healthful fat, making it an excellent hunger suppressant. Avocado, on the other hand, is a high-calorie food due to its fat content, thus portion control is essential.
According to Feit, apples are high in fibre and antioxidants. The fruit also includes phytochemicals and vitamin C, making it anti-inflammatory.
Berries are high in fibre, antioxidants, and vitamin C, which your body requires to function properly, according to Feit.
Seeds and Nuts
According to Feit, nuts and seeds offer varied health benefits. Nuts are high in fibre, protein, and healthy fats, and they aid in weight loss. Seeds, on the other hand, are a good source of minerals and healthful fat. Also, keep an eye on your portions here. A quarter cup of nuts and seeds is equal to one serving.
Salmon is abundant in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, according to Rima Kleiner, a registered dietitian nutritionist and the CEO of Greensboro, North Carolina-based wellness coaching company Smart Mouth Nutrition. Omega-3 fatty acids may help persons who are overweight or obese feel fuller, according to research. According to Kleiner, fish may help you feel pleased and fuller for longer than other proteins like eggs and meat.
According to Kleiner, shrimp increases feelings of satiety. Shrimp consumption appears to suppress hunger by increasing the synthesis of cholecystokinin (CCK), a hormone that tells your stomach when you’re full. In addition, shrimp and other shellfish contain zinc and selenium, two essential minerals for immunological health and energy production.
According to Landau, lupini beans are abundant in prebiotic fibre, which nourishes the good bacteria in your gut. “When your gut microorganisms are well fed, the quantity and variety of bacteria present increases. “A well-populated and diversified microbiome promotes gut health, making your cells more insulin-responsive and assisting in the removal of fat accumulated around the waist,” she explains.
Bananas that aren’t ripe
According to Landau, unripe bananas are one of the world’s richest sources of prebiotic-resistant starch. Prebiotic-resistant starch makes your cells more insulin-responsive, which helps you avoid storing fat around your waist. It can keep you full for hours when combined with protein (for example, in a smoothie with protein powder and/or nut butter).
Oats in their natural state
According to Landau, raw oats are high in resistant starch, which is a kind of starch that resists digestion and is good for weight loss. Resistant starch releases byproducts during digestion that can help your cells respond better to insulin, which can help you lose stubborn fat around your waist.
According to Dr. Olesiak, cabbage, or fermented cabbage, is a prebiotic and probiotic food, which means it contributes helpful bacteria to your gastrointestinal tract while also feeding the good bacteria already present. Sauerkraut is also strong in fibre, which aids in hunger management and blood glucose regulation, according to him.
According to Landau, soybeans help with satiety and digestive health. Because of their high fibre content, they keep you satiated for longer, preventing overeating. They also provide nutrients that feed your intestinal microbes.
Chia Seeds are a type of plant that has been used for
According to Dr. Chia seeds, according to Olesiak, can help with weight loss in two ways. For starters, they’re high in fibre, which might make you feel full and reduce overeating. Second, because they expand in water, if you consume them raw, they expand in your stomach, taking up more room and acting as a natural hunger suppressant.
Although water is not a food, it is equally necessary for healthy weight loss. “Water is required for the proper functioning of all of our biological processes—metabolism is one of them,” Feit explains, emphasising the importance of staying hydrated.