When you’re trying to lose weight, you know that reaching for a salad is a better idea than grabbing a doughnut. The salad is lower in calories, but there’s more to the story than that. Because of the way your body responds to them, certain nutrients are more adept at promoting weight loss than others. Chief among them are protein and fiber, which are worth seeking out in “super foods” for weight loss.
Oatmeal is high in dietary fiber, which plays an important role in how full you feel. The soluble fiber present in oatmeal actually expands in your stomach, encouraging slow digestion and making you feel fuller than you might otherwise. In a study published in the “Journal of the American College of Nutrition” in 2013, two groups of subjects ate either oatmeal or a cold cereal for breakfast. Both breakfasts had the same number of calories, but the oatmeal group reported feeling fuller and having less desire to eat even up to four hours after breakfast.
Regular yogurt does contain protein, but Greek yogurt is an especially rich source of the nutrient. One 6-ounce container has only 100 calories but an impressive 18 grams of protein. Getting some form of healthy protein in every major meal or snack is important when trying to lose weight because protein is more satiating than any other type of nutrient. Yogurt may also have unique traits that help it promote weight loss. In a long-term study published in 2011 in the “New England Journal of Medicine” that examined the relationship between food and weight changes, yogurt was the food with the strongest link to weight loss over a four-year period.
Most Americans don’t eat the recommended 2 1/2 cups of vegetables every day, and that shortfall may have to do with why almost 70 percent of the population is overweight. Leafy greens have some of the lowest calorie counts per serving of all foods, but their high water and fiber contents mean they can fill you up easily, especially if you use them as a snack or an appetizer. In the results of a study published in 2013 in the “International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition,” subjects who ate a veggie salad and some yogurt 15 minutes prior to a meal for a three-month trial period lost more weight and developed smaller waist circumferences than subjects who ate the same foods with their meals.
Eggs are sometimes maligned for the saturated fat their yolks contain, but that fat, along with protein from the whites, makes up a balanced food that has proved to help people lose weight. In a study published in 2008 in the “International Journal of Obesity,” researchers compared weight changes in subjects following reduced-calorie diets over an eight-week trial period. One study group had eggs for breakfast, and the other had bagels. At the trial’s completion, the egg group had lost 65 percent more weight and had greater body fat and waist circumference measurement losses as well.
- Boston.com: Can Oatmeal Help You Lose Weight?
- Journal of the American College of Nutrition: Acute Effect of Oatmeal on Subjective Measures of Appetite and Satiety Compared to a Ready-to-Eat Breakfast Cereal
- FAGE USA: FAGE Total 0% Greek Yogurt
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Protein, Weight Management and Satiety
- New England Journal of Medicine: Changes in Diet and Lifestyle and Long-Term Weight Gain in Women and Men
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Obesity and Overweight
- International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition: Effect of Consuming Salad and Yogurt as Preload on Body Weight Management and Cardiovascular Risk Factors
- International Journal of Obesity: Egg Breakfast Enhances Weight Loss