Look for breads that say 100% whole wheat to make sure you getting the real deal. Ann Kulze, MD, of Charleston, S.C., author of Dr. Ann’s 10-Step Diet, A Simple Plan for Permanent Weight Loss & Lifelong Vitality, also recommends incorporating beans such as soy, lentil, chickpeas, and black beans into your diet. “They are high in fiber and protein so they’ll keep you full longer,” Kulze says.
At the heart of its flexible system: SmartPoints. SmartPoints derive primarily from number of calories; sugar and saturated fat drive the number up, protein brings it down. Getting a feel for the number of points that different foods typically “cost” in order to stay on your daily “budget” is a great way to cultivate healthy decision-making: A fried chicken wing is 7 points, while 3 oz. of chicken breast without the skin is 2 points. A sugar-laden Coca-Cola is 9 points, but so is a dinner-sized serving of Moroccan chicken rice and potatoes. Some foods are zero points: fruits and vegetables, skinless chicken and turkey breast, seafood, eggs, nonfat yogurt. Being encouraged to eat certain items in this way helps to restructure your mindset around food.
Studies led by Dr. Barbara Rolls at Pennsylvania State University as well as those of Drs. James Barnard and Christian Roberts at UCLA, who are following people attending the Pritikin Longevity Center, are particularly enlightening. They have documented that one of the best ways of reducing calorie intake without triggering increased hunger is to reduce the calorie density of the foods consumed. Put simply, a bowl of pasta with veggies and marinara can fill us up just as well as a bowl of pasta with cheesy Alfredo, but for less than half the calorie cost.
Fiber is nature's weight loss aid. It comes in two forms, soluble (the gummy type found in oatmeal and beans) and insoluble (the type found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains). Both are important to good health. Soluble fiber can help to lower cholesterol; insoluble contains indigestible fibers that add bulk to our diets. Both forms of fiber swell in the stomach and help to create a feeling of fullness. Most high-fiber foods are also high in water and low in calories, making them must-have diet foods.
Even at large doses, the effect of green tea for weight loss is minimal. For example, in a study published in the journal Clinical Nutrition in 2016, overweight women took either a daily dose of about 1,350 mg of green tea extract in supplement form (the equivalent of roughly 15 cups of green tea) or a placebo for 12 weeks. Though the green tea group dropped an average of 2.4 pounds, the women taking the placebo lost 4.4 pounds.
Becky Duffett is a contributing nutrition editor for Fitbit and a lifestyle writer with a passion for eating well. A former Williams-Sonoma cookbook editor and graduate of San Francisco Cooking School, she’s edited dozens of cookbooks and countless recipes. City living has turned her into a spin addict—but she’d still rather be riding a horse. She lives in the cutest neighborhood in San Francisco, spending weekends at the farmers’ market, trying to read at the bakery, and roasting big dinners for friends.
The next time you're craving some crunch, drop the potato chips and grab some celery instead. The veggie is essentially all water and fiber — two things that fill you up quickly. And while one cup of chips can be upward of 160 cals, celery only contains about 6 calories per stalk. Dip them in a serving of peanut butter or hummus for a healthy snack.
Coconut oil is having a moment right now: it can be used as a butter or olive oil substitute in everything from baked goods to salad dressing, and can even be used as an alternative to milk in lattes (yes, really). Sass is a fan of the heart-healthy oil whipped into smoothies, and you can also use it to sauté veggies, sear fish, or as an olive oil replacement in soups and stews. (It's also a must-add to your beauty routine, and makes a wonderful natural moisturizer for skin and hair.)
You already know that a perfect diet doesn't exist, but many of us still can't resist the urge to kick ourselves when we indulge, eat too much, or get thrown off course from restrictive diets. The problem: This only makes it more difficult, stressful, and downright impossible to lose weight. So rather than beating yourself up for eating foods you think you shouldn't, let it go. Treating yourself to about 200 calories worth of deliciousness each day — something that feels indulgent to you — can help you stay on track for the long-haul, so allow yourself to eat, breathe, and indulge. Food should be joyful, not agonizing!
Green tea’s health benefits stem from its high antioxidant content. Antioxidants are chemical compounds that can protect our cells from damage and may help protect us against cancer and heart disease. Green tea contains a variety of antioxidants including catechins, theaflavins and the flavanol quercitin. Green tea also contains caffeine, about 25 mg per 8 oz. cup, which is about one-third the caffeine in an 8 oz. cup of coffee.
Although they're best known for containing potassium, bananas are also a great source of resistant starch, a type of starch that's important for weight loss. Your body digests resistant starch slowly—helping you feel full for longer—while simultaneously encouraging your liver to switch to fat-burning mode. And no need to wait for them to become completely ripe; bananas actually contain more of this calorie-torching ingredient when they're still a little green.
This high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carb fad diet sends the body into a state of ketosis, in which the body uses stored fat for energy. Research published in Clinical Cardiology suggests the ketogenic, or “keto,” diet can be an effective weight-loss method, but to be successful, you must follow the plan consistently with no cheat days — otherwise, you’re just eating a high-fat diet that may be high in unhealthy fats for no reason. (1)
Water is your body's preferred form of fluid. It is thirst-quenching and naturally delicious without one single calorie. You need some 6-8 glasses of water or fluids each day. Recent studies suggest that we should let thirst determine how much we drink each day. Foods that are high in water (soups, Jell-O, produce) also count toward our fluid requirements. Many dieters find drinking water helps keep them from overeating.
No, I’m not talking about fast food … in fact, please cut out ANY fast food, which relies on terrible ingredients and excessive sodium, from your diet. But simply speaking, there are going to be times that you are in a situation where you are in a position to eat something that is usually “off-the-menu” for healthy eating. So, instead of binging on these foods, keep your goals in mind and nibble on smaller amounts.