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List of the Best Foods to Eat for Obesity

by
author image Angela Ogunjimi
Angela Ogunjimi has been a prize-winning writer and editor since 1994. She was a general assignment reporter at two newspapers and a business writer at two magazines. She writes on nutrition, obesity, diabetes and weight control for a project of the National Institutes of Health. Ogunjimi holds a master's degree in sociology from George Washington University and a bachelor's in journalism from New York University.
List of the Best Foods to Eat for Obesity
Plants Photo Credit karandaev/iStock/Getty Images

Obesity is a national crisis. It represents a broad shift in the way most Americans are eating, which generally means too many foods with added sugar and fat. Because palates vary, it's important to pick foods from broad categories of needed nutrients. These include calcium- and fiber-rich foods, along with more fruits and vegetables. Ultimately, however, the battle of the bulge will be won by consuming fewer calories and getting more physical activity.

Fiber-Rich Foods

The more fiber you eat, the better you can control your weight. The relationship between fiber and body weight is inverse. Fiber is a complex carbohydrate. It’s bulky and takes longer to digest. This means you'll feel full for longer periods of time when you eat fiber. Many high-fiber foods are also low in calories, so you'll get double the benefit from eating it. The average adult needs 25 to 30 g of fiber, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Lentils and other beans are high in fiber. So are fruits and vegetables, whole wheat bread and pasta and breakfast cereals.

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Calcium-rich Foods

People who are obese tend have less calcium in their diets than healthy-weight people, according to MedlinePlus. This had led to research to determine how calcium could help with weight loss. Researchers from Creighton University reported in the "Journal of the American College of Nutrition" that calcium intake explains about 10 percent of the variation in body weight among Americans. Calcium may interact with your hormones to increase fat metabolism. It appears to work best in people who are already working on losing weight, and research suggests that when children get a lot of it in their eating, it protects them from growing overweight. You need 1,000 to 1,200 mg daily, and taking vitamin D will help the calcium work. Calcium-rich foods include milk, cheese, yogurt, kale, broccoli, Chinese cabbage, sardines, mackerel and salmon.

Plants

Given the obesity crisis in the United States, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee is encouraging all Americans to shift toward a plant-based that "that emphasizes vegetables, cooked dry beans and peas, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and seeds." It says on the whole, Americans don't eat enough of these foods. The idea is to replace high-calorie foods with nutrient-dense foods to reverse the paradox that Americans eat so much food but are undernourished. For example, eating more plant-based foods will reverse deficiencies in fiber, calcium, vitamin D and potassium.

Low-calorie Foods

Obesity is essentially caused by eating and drinking more calories than your body uses. The content of your calories, though important, are not as important as the excessive volume of calories you may be getting. To get fewer calories per day, but still get all the nutrients you need and not go hungry, it's best to eat low-calorie foods. Most fruits and vegetables, whole grains and occasional portions of lean, baked or broiled meat. This also means getting off your "SoFAS," or solid fats and added sugars. About 35 percent of calories in a typical American diet come just from fat and sugar that have been added to foods.

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