If you’re trying to shed excess weight, use all three calorie-density-reduction strategies. While this study showed that cutting the amount of fat added to foods was the single most effective way to reduce ad libitum calorie intake, it is clear that all three methods were effective. Furthermore, they are not mutually exclusive, so it is likely that using all three in combination would work even better than each one used alone.
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With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of 40 foods that have been proven to jumpstart weight loss and will help you get to your ideal physique. To jumpstart your weight loss, we’ve selected some nutritious eats, like salsa, that are lower-calorie substitutes for less healthy choices (we’re looking at you, ketchup). And others, such as watermelon, contain certain compounds that have been scientifically proven to reduce the size of your waist and help reduce body fat. Scroll down below for a list of a few dozen weight-loss wonders, and get even more health-conscious inspiration from this list of the 40 Things Healthy Cooks Always Have in Their Kitchen!
Though we singled out quinoa above, whole grains in general (we’re talking cereal, rice, pasta, and more) are conducive to weight loss, especially when they’re used in place of refined—white—grains. In fact, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that substituting whole grains for refined grains in the diet increases calorie loss by reducing calories retained during digestion and speeding up metabolism. Unlike refined grains, whole grains are packed with satiating, heart-healthy fiber.
Green is truly the color of health. Matcha helps to safely cleanse and purge the body of harmful elements. Chlorophyll the element that gives green tea and other plants their signature verdant color is also a powerful detoxifier, helping to eliminate both chemicals and heavy metals from the body. And because matcha is carefully shade-grown, it is substantially richer in chlorophyll than other green teas, making it a superior daily detox.

Prior to WL, an ambulatory run-in period was imposed for each subject to insure stabilization of body weight (± 2 kg during 4 weeks). During the body weight stabilization, a three-day food dietary record was used to determine an individual’s daily food and beverage consumption to estimate their total daily caloric intake (2 weekdays and 1 weekend day). The subjects were randomly divided (according to age, gender and BMI) into two groups (rapid WL and slow WL). Rapid WL and slow WL, based on the lost weight (at least 5 %), were defined over a period of 5 weeks and 15 weeks, respectively (18). The prescribed calorie-restricted diet contained 15% protein, 30% to 35% fat, and 50% to 55% carbohydrate, on average, in order to provide WL. In general, the meal plans included 3 main meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and three snacks (mid-morning, mid-afternoon, and bedtime), and low saturation and trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars. All diets were designed according to Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 (21). Low-calorie diets produced an energy deficit of 500 to 750 and 1000 to 1500 kcal per day for slow and rapid WL, respectively. At the end of the study, anthropometric and biochemical assessments were conducted on the individuals (18 individuals in rapid WL and 18 individuals in slow WL), who reached the desired WL. All subjects provided their written informed consent, and the study protocol was approved by the ethics committee of Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences (Act No. IR.AJUMS.REC.1394.212).
Ask for iced tea (unsweetened) instead of soda for lunch and dinner. Sugary or even diet sodas have been known to actually have the opposite effect on weight loss. The sodium in diet soda can make you retain water, so opt for the smart alternative –– sugar-free iced tea. Iced tea is also ideal because if you're looking for a little caffeinated pick-me-up during the afternoon, iced (or hot) tea will give you the same effect without the sugar in regular soda or the sodium in diet.
Ladies, don't despair: Women have weight-related advantages, too. They tend to carry more body fat on their thighs and backsides (the so-called “pear” shape), which are much healthier places to hold weight than around the middle. Plus, while women are better at storing fat, they also tend to burn more body fat during exercise than men do. "The fat women find it hardest to lose is generally the least harmful to health," Katz says.
Yes, nuts are high in calories, but they are also a great source of protein, fiber, and the “good” (monounsaturated) fat -- all of which can help in weight loss. A small handful (10-to-12 nuts) of walnuts or almonds can actually help you “lower your risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes,” says Somer. Try some in your salad, with a piece of fruit, or sprinkled in your cereal – oatmeal, of course.
Green tea, because it's less processed, has a higher concentration of polyphenols, also called catechins, then any other types of tea, including black and oolong. The catechins in the green tea are one of the active ingredients linked to weight loss. They might prevent the accumulation of body fat, as well as increase body temperature so you burn more calories.
“When you’re anxious, your body feels like it’s under a tremendous amount of stress all the time. This is why anxiety is a powerful trigger for weight gain. Two of the most proven cures for anxiety are exercise and spending time in nature. Combine both with an outdoor run or bike ride and race away from the anxiousness. Making this habit part of your lifestyle can help you stay lean for life.” — David Zinczenko, author of the  Zero Belly Cookbook

On test days, they were fed either the control meal or the same entrées but altered so that calorie density was reduced by 20% using one of the three strategies. Entrée portion sizes were large enough so that the subjects could consume as much as they desired of the test meals. Leftovers were weighed to determine precisely how much was eaten of each of the test meals.


One small 2018 study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism found that matcha green tea drinks can enhance exercise-induced fat oxidation in women following a 30-minute walk. But, the authors were also quick to point out that "the metabolic effects of matcha should not be overstated" when related to weight loss.
The best diet for losing weight is Weight Watchers, according to the experts who rated the diets below for U.S. News. Volumetrics came in second, and Jenny Craig and the vegan diet were third on this overall weight loss ranking list, which takes into account short-term and long-term weight loss scores. Some other diets performed as well or better in our rankings for enabling fast weight loss, but long-term weight loss is more important for your health.
Brazilian scientists found that participants who consumed three cups of the beverage every day for a week had fewer markers of the cell damage caused by resistance to exercise. That means that green tea can also help you recover faster after an intense workout. In another study—this one on people—participants who combined a daily habit of four to five cups of green tea each day with a 25-minute workout for 12 weeks lost an average of two more pounds than the non-tea-drinking exercisers.
Starving yourself is certainly not a good idea. But if you're otherwise healthy, a brief period of extreme calorie restriction isn't likely to hurt you. You should tell your doctor what you're doing, and be sure to include protein in your diet (70 to 100 grams per day). Take a multivitamin, and eat potassium-rich foods (tomatoes, oranges, and bananas).
You may not think of them as a weight-loss food, but eggs are packed with protein, which helps curb your appetite. One study found that overweight women who ate eggs for breakfast were able to lose twice as much weight as women who started their days with bagels. And egg whites in particular are a good source of branched-chain amino acids, which help keep your metabolism running smoothly. 

“The best thing you can do for your belly is to give up processed foods. A study in the journal Food Nutrition Research found that our bodies burn only 50 percent as many calories digesting processed foods as they do real foods. So it’s like eating twice as much, even if the calories are the same!” — Mark Langowski, celebrity trainer and author of  Eat This, Not That! for Abs
To prep his patients for success, Dr. Seltzer tells them to plan around a large evening meal by eating a lighter breakfast and lunch—NBD since most people who eat a meal before bed tend to wake up feeling relatively full, he says. Research suggests balanced bedtime meals may also promote steady next-day blood sugar levels, which also helps with appetite regulation.
Yes, you can eat dark chocolate to lose weight. A study among women with normal weight obesity (or “skinny fat syndrome”) who ate a Mediterranean diet that included two servings of dark chocolate per day showed a substantial reduction in waist size than when on a cocoa-free meal plan. Researchers attribute dark chocolate’s weight loss abilities to flavonoids, heart-healthy compounds in the sweet treat that the scientists at Harvard say can reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and mortality. Like nuts, dark chocolate has also been found to induce satiety. When reaching for chocolate, just make sure you choose a bar with at least 70 percent cacao. Anything less contains more belly-bloating sugar and a significantly reduced flavonoid content.
Ratliff, J., Leite, J. O., de Ogburn, R., Puglisi, M. J., VanHeest, J., & Fernandez, M. L. (2010, February). Consuming eggs for breakfast influences plasma glucose and ghrelin, while reducing energy intake during the next 24 hours in adult men [Abstract]. Nutrition Research, 30(2), 96–103. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20226994
Similarly, lemons are a rich source of vitamin C and other nutrients good for weight loss. The health benefits of lemons also include lowering the risk of stroke, preventing asthma, combating cancer. Studies have also suggested that daily consumption of plant foods like lemons reduces your chances of developing diabetes, obesity, heart disease, etc. So, replace your aerated drinks with this delicious detox drink to stay healthy and slim down your waistline.
One basic reason may be on account of caffeine is a stimulant. This implies it will give more sharpness and can expand your stamina, both of which can help the power and length of exercises. A portion of the investigations, notwithstanding, demonstrate that the green tea helps consume calories while very still too, which implies that notwithstanding when you are not sweating at the rec center, green tea may enable you to get in shape. 

Loads of research demonstrates people who log everything they eat — especially those who log while they're eating — are more likely to lose weight and keep it off for the long-haul. Start tracking on an app like MyFitnessPal when the pounds start sneaking up on you. It'll help you stay accountable for what you've eaten. Plus, you can easily identify some other areas of your daily eats that could use a little improvement when it's written out in front of you.

Green tea, because it's less processed, has a higher concentration of polyphenols, also called catechins, then any other types of tea, including black and oolong. The catechins in the green tea are one of the active ingredients linked to weight loss. They might prevent the accumulation of body fat, as well as increase body temperature so you burn more calories.

Because you’re consuming whole leaves in matcha, you may get three times as much caffeine than a cup of steeped tea, about the amount in a cup of brewed coffee. Matcha aficionados say that compared to the caffeine buzz from coffee, matcha creates an “alert calm” due to a natural substance it contains called l-theanine, which induces relaxation without drowsiness. Still, we do believe it’s best to nix all forms of caffeine (including matcha) at least six hours before bedtime, to ensure a good night’s sleep.


Consequently, researchers have widely discredited the hCG diet, which involves using hCG injections, pellets, sprays, or drops, and consuming  as few as 500 calories daily. The diet is problematic not only because there’s a lack of research on hCG supplements, but also because  the calorie requirement is dangerously low, potentially leading to nutrient deficiencies, fatigue, hormone imbalances, blood clots, and other issues. Thus, most experts agree the hCG Diet is not safe for anyone, the Mayo Clinic notes. (35)
B is for breakfast. It really is the most important meal of the day. Don't leave home without eating something nutritious to get your metabolism perking and give you energy for the day ahead. It can be a banana, low-fat yogurt, cereal, last night's leftovers, etc. A small meal that contains both fiber and protein can keep you feeling satisfied until lunchtime. 

Even if you manage to meet your goal, it probably won’t be sustainable: “The amount of restriction required will make you so hungry that you’ll eat everything in sight—it’s survival instinct,” Dr. Seltzer says. What’s more, your body will be less prepared to burn the foods you binge on, since calorie restriction gradually slows your metabolism, he adds.
Protein is also important for preserving muscle mass as you lose weight. If you cut back dramatically on calories and drop weight too fast, your muscles can suffer. Your body starts pulling from lean tissue like muscles and organs to fuel itself, and your metabolism slows to conserve energy. That’s why super restrictive diets that have you dropping weight fast aren’t healthy over the long run.
Some green tea varieties are better for weight loss than others. If you’re all about that green and on a weight-loss mission, you might want to choose Matcha green tea—the richest green tea source of nutrients and antioxidants. Registered dietitian Isabel K Smith explains why: “The whole leaf is ground and consumed as part of the beverage, as opposed to other (most) types of green tea where the leaves are steeped and then the tea is consumed.”
“A study by David Jenkins, MD, PhD—the University of Toronto pioneer in low-glycemic eating — demonstrates that eating small portions at frequent intervals is good for your health in a number of remarkable ways. Within the study, they found that people who ate every three hours reduced their blood cholesterol by over 15% and their blood insulin by almost 28%. That’s key, because in addition to regulating your blood sugar level, insulin plays a pivotal role in fat metabolism, inflammation and the progression to metabolic syndrome. When your body produces less insulin, you’re much less likely to convert dietary calories into body fat.

7. Egert S, Baxheinrich A, Lee-Barkey YH, Tschoepe D, Wahrburg U, Stratmann B. Effects of an energy-restricted diet rich in plant-derived alpha-linolenic acid on systemic inflammation and endothelial function in overweight-to-obese patients with metabolic syndrome traits. Br J Nutr. 2014;112(8):1315–22. doi: 10.1017/S0007114514002001. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]


This workout plan is between 4 and 12 weeks long, depending on how much weight you want to lose. Follow this workout plan and practice healthy eating and portion control, which means eating the right food in the right quantities at the right times, and you’ll be able to burn off at least a pound or two of body fat each week. But remember, you’ll also be doing resistance training to gain muscle in all the right places, so you’ll want to keep track of your progress with body measurements and, if you can, body fat percentage.
Quinoa is a unique whole grain because it’s a complete protein (about 7g per serving) and high in fiber (6g). Dietary fiber actually binds to fat and cholesterol, helping your body absorb less of the two. The ancient grain is also rich in eight essential amino acids, and vitamins and minerals like magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, iron and B12—both of which are crucial to energy levels. “Quinoa is great eaten alone, mixed with raw veggies as a cold salad, or warm like a pilaf,” Zeratsky says. It’s a high-quality carb that scores low on the glycemic index, so you won’t experience a sharp rise and fall of blood sugar.
Consequently, researchers have widely discredited the hCG diet, which involves using hCG injections, pellets, sprays, or drops, and consuming  as few as 500 calories daily. The diet is problematic not only because there’s a lack of research on hCG supplements, but also because  the calorie requirement is dangerously low, potentially leading to nutrient deficiencies, fatigue, hormone imbalances, blood clots, and other issues. Thus, most experts agree the hCG Diet is not safe for anyone, the Mayo Clinic notes. (35)
“If a client has come to me looking to lose 10 pounds, I would tell them to simply move. Move more, and more often. Walk or bike ride to class or work, even park further away from your location in the parking lot. Take the stairs or take a walk during lunch. You don’t have to spend hours every day in the gym sweating, but you do have to make a conscious effort to move more, and sit less. This works great because it doesn’t feel like work and you’re burning more and more calories throughout the day.” — Ajia Cherry, personal trainer and Founder at Functional Innovative Training
Speaking of things you find in the sea, oysters have also been shown to contribute to weight loss thanks to their impressive zinc content. One study found that obese people who consumed 30 milligrams of zinc per day—the equivalent of just six raw oysters—had lower BMIs, weighed less, and showed improvements in blood cholesterol levels. If oysters aren’t your thing, spinach, pumpkin seeds, and mushrooms are also excellent sources of zinc.
True tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant, and comes in many different varieties. Green tea differs from the more popular black tea in that the harvested leaves are not exposed to air, and therefore not oxidized. Green tea originated in China, but is now produced in Japan and India as well. After harvesting, the leaves may be steamed, producing a bright green tea or roasted in a wok, which creates a pale green-colored tea.
Already nearly calorie free, matcha is a great addition to a weight loss program by tackling the problem from both sides. It boosts metabolism and burns fat. One recent study even suggested that matcha may help burn calories by four times. At the same time, matcha does not put any stress on the body. It doesn’t raise blood pressure or heart rate, making it a safe alternative to questionable quick fixes or pharmaceuticals ridden with side effects.
The upgrade is a touch steeper than it is for other tracking app upgrades — most run $4–5 per month. But we found that those inexpensive alternatives were chaotically organized and slow to respond, elements that had us avoiding opening them at all. SparkPeople and Lose It! both came with lots of lag time and finicky search bars that made us hesitant to launch the apps, let alone log in three or more times a day.

Some green tea varieties are better for weight loss than others. If you’re all about that green and on a weight-loss mission, you might want to choose Matcha green tea—the richest green tea source of nutrients and antioxidants. Registered dietitian Isabel K Smith explains why: “The whole leaf is ground and consumed as part of the beverage, as opposed to other (most) types of green tea where the leaves are steeped and then the tea is consumed.”  

In 2004, the FDA banned a popular diet-pill ingredient known as ephedra after it was found to increase the risk of strokes and heart attacks. However, some ephedra-containing products may still make their way illegally into the market. Many other diet pill ingredients are as yet untested. For that reason, the best way to avoid the possible dangers of diet pills is simply to steer clear.
Lipton green tea is loaded with epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a catechin that is found in green tea. It helps your body to burn fat and increases your body’s insulin sensitivity (3). EGCG has also been found to inhibit fatty liver disease in lab rats (4). If you are a beginner, then the green tea containing honey and pomegranate is a better option for weight loss. But all the variants have the same impact on your body.
Here’s the full shopping list for exactly what to buy, and check to make sure you have a few pantry staples on hand. Morris recommends starting on a weekend, so you can make a big pot of veggie soup, and give your body a chance to adjust before diving into a busy week. Her plan cuts carbs for the first couple of days, before slowly reintroducing whole grains. And if you want to mix it up, there are lots more options for healthy snacks, just make sure to get a serving of fruit or vegetables, along with protein.
“It’s no big surprise, but my go-to weight loss tip is to eat more vegetables. They are the most low-calorie food you can consume, and they’re filled with health-boosting, satiating nutrients. From smoothies and eggs to soups, main and side dishes, they can fit in anywhere and boost volume and nutrition. If you want to eat more while still losing weight, veggies are your answer. —Laura Burak, RD, CDN

All meals are important, but breakfast is what helps you start your day on the right track. The best, heartiest breakfasts are ones that will fill you up, keep you satisfied, and stave off cravings later in the day. Aim to eat anywhere between 400 and 500 calories for your morning meal, and make sure you're including a source of lean protein plus filling fat (e.g., eggs, beans, unsweetened Greek yogurt, nuts, or nut butters) and fiber (veggies, fruit, or 100% whole grains). Starting your day with a blood sugar-stabilizing blend of nutrients will help you slim down without sacrifice.
I was as low as 190 and at the four year mark was back to 260. There are several factors that gave me the impetus to not become a statistic. I had promised myself to never again let my body suffocate the life out of my living. I enforced a number in my mind 200 lbs. as a 5 foot 7 woman, I am healthy looking and comfortable. I set it in my mind as an alarm clock. I didn’t allow a snooze button. If I pass it up it is a buzzing noise altering my behaviors, keeping me alert. I don’t obsess, I refuse to give one more minute of my life over to the agony of obesity.
“Your body begins to work differently. This study proves that small amounts of nourishment throughout the day are better than the same amount of food concentrated in three big sittings. If we feed the body at regular intervals we send a signal to the body that it doesn’t have to store calories. Conversely, when we skip meals we send just the opposite signal for the body to store calories, creating a negative effect on the metabolism.” — Dr. Wayne Scott Andersen, co-founder and Medical Director at Take Shape For Life
Green tea has many health benefits. “It contains many nutrients, including antioxidants and anti-cancer and brain-healthy compounds,” Smith reminds us. One thing is for sure: regardless of whether or not you’ll shed pounds with green tea, drink it anyway. “All teas contain many healthful nutrients; it’s one of the healthier choices for a beverage!” Smith says.
Kefir is a yogurt-like substance, but it actually contains less sugar and more protein than conventional yogurt while remaining packed with gut-friendly probiotics that can help you lose weight by aiding digestion. In one study, kefir displayed weight loss properties similar to those of milk and other dairy-rich products. Other probiotic-rich foods include kombucha, bone broth, and fermented items such as sauerkraut and kimchi.
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