Everyone has "problem areas" they'd like to wave a magic wand at. Unfortunately, only healthy eating and regular exercise will help you lose fat. An effective diet to reduce buttocks and thighs is one that is low in calories and includes foods rich in protein and fiber.
Foods for Fat Loss
No matter what you may have read, there are no specific foods that make your buttocks smaller. Eating only avocados or cabbage soup or drinking green smoothies may have some benefit in the short term, or it may just end up leaving you feeling hungry and deficient in other nutrients those foods don't contain.
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The healthiest diet to reduce buttocks and thighs includes foods from all the food groups: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and protein. These foods are packed with nutrients to keep your body and metabolism functioning effectively, and they'll give you the energy you need to also get in daily exercise.
The key is to keep the right calorie balance. Not eating enough can slow your metabolism, lead to food cravings and make you too fatigued to work out; but eating too much — even of healthy foods — can put you over your calorie budget for the day. When you take in more calories than you burn in a day, you gain weight. When you keep yourself in a calorie deficit, you'll burn fat.
However, keep in mind that you can't spot reduce; where you lose weight first depends on different factors, including genetics. You may see fat loss in your arms or face before you see a trimmer butt and hips.
While there aren't any specific foods that make your buttocks smaller, certain nutrients may enhance your efforts and should feature prominently in your diet to reduce buttocks and thighs. Protein is a part of all your body's cells and tissues. It plays a role in immune health, triggers chemical reactions needed to carry out all your body's processes, and acts as a hormone. Getting enough protein is crucial for overall optimal physiological functioning and good health.
When you're trying to burn butt and hip fat, dietary protein may be of increased importance for a few reasons:
1. Protein Increases Metabolism
Your body expends more energy to break down and absorb protein than it does with the other two macronutrients — fiber and fat. Any time your body expends energy, it increases your metabolic rate, or the number of calories you burn. This rise in metabolic rate during digestion is called the thermic effect of food.
According to an article in Nutrition and Metabolism in November 2014, protein digestion increases energy expenditure by 15 to 30 percent over basal metabolic rate. For carbohydrates, the increase is 5 to 10 percent, and for fat, it's just 3 percent or less.
2. Protein Is More Satiating
The satisfaction you feel during and after a meal is satiety. A satiating meal fills you up and keeps you feeling full for longer than a less-satiating meal, in which you need to eat more to feel full and after which, you may soon feel hungry again. Protein may be more satiating than other nutrients because it triggers the release of certain hormones that send signals to the brain that you are full and satisfied. This can help you stop eating sooner and go longer periods between meals.
3. Protein Maintains Muscle Mass While Dieting
When you are in a calorie deficit, your body needs to find other sources of energy in the absence of an immediate supply from your diet. Ideally, it would tap into your fat stores right away; however, that isn't the way weight loss works.
In fact, in the beginning of a weight loss program, your body may primarily burn stored carbohydrate and protein from lean tissue, according to a review published in March 2014 in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Therefore, getting enough protein can counteract some of the muscle loss that may occur while dieting.
Protein Requirements and Sources
So, how much protein should you eat? The recommended dietary intake set by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academies of Medicine is 46 grams per day for women and 56 grams per day for men. That recommendation is based on an average intake of .8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
That may meet the needs for the average sedentary individual, but it may not be enough if you're active or if you're trying to lose weight — or both. According to a review in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in April 2015, because of its effects on metabolism, satiety and muscle maintenance, dieters may consider increasing their protein intake to 1.2 to 1.6 grams per kilogram of body weight per day.
However, this increased intake still needs to fit within your calorie goals for the day. Therefore, you need to adjust your carbohydrate and fat allowances and choose lean sources of protein. Some of the best sources of lean protein include:
- Skinless chicken breast: 27 grams of protein and 142 calories in 3 ounces
- Tilapia: 23 grams of protein and 111 calories in 3 ounces
- Low-fat plain Greek yogurt: 20 grams of protein and 146 calories in 7 ounces
In addition to aiding weight loss, increasing your protein intake will also help you build lean muscle mass if you're engaging in a resistance-training program as part of your weight loss strategy. The more lean muscle mass you have, the faster your resting metabolism. That means you burn more calories around the clock, even when you're not doing anything.
Fill Up on Fiber
There is no more perfect weight-loss foods than those rich in fiber. Virtually calorie-free, fiber is the tough parts of plant cell walls that your body can't digest. It moves through your digestive system intact, and swells when it comes into contact with fluids.
Fiber's mechanisms in weight management and weight loss aren't completely understood, but the following effects may be responsible:
- Fiber stays in your stomach longer. The longer food stays in your stomach, the longer you feel full and satisfied. This means you can last longer before your next meal or snack, which helps control your calorie intake.
- Fiber distends the stomach. Food in the stomach causes stomach distension. This is what causes your body to send signals to your brain that you are full and satisfied. Stomach distension also suppresses the release of a hunger-stimulating hormone called ghrelin, according to a review article in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism in January 2019.
- Fiber controls blood sugar. By slowing digestion, fiber slows the absorption of simple carbohydrates from other foods. Simple carbs are digested very quickly and, when unhindered, flood the bloodstream which leads to a rise in blood sugar and a subsequent drop. Fluctuating blood sugar levels are known to play a role in hunger, food cravings and poor appetite control.
Fiber Foods and Daily Goals
Most people don't get enough fiber in their diet. The recommended daily intake for fiber is 38 grams for men and 25 grams for women each day. Your goal should be to meet or exceed those targets.
The good news is that many of the best sources of fiber are naturally low in calories. For example, according to USDA data:
- Celery: 1.6 grams of fiber and 16 calories in 1 cup, chopped
- Okra: 2 grams of fiber and 18 calories in one-half cup, sliced
- Broccoli: 2.6 grams of fiber and 27 calories in one-half cup, chopped
- Carrots: 2.3 grams of fiber and 27 calories in one-half cup, sliced
- Cabbage: 4.1 grams fiber and 35 calories in 1 cup, chopped
- Raspberries: 4 grams fiber and 32 calories in one-half cup
For a meal that will kick your butt into shape, pair a hefty serving of fresh vegetables with a portion of lean protein. Use oils and dressings sparingly, instead boosting the flavor with fresh herbs, spices and lemon juice.
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: "4 Ways Low-Calorie Diets Can Sabotage Your Health"
- Genetics Home Reference: "What Are Proteins and What Do They Do?"
- Nutrition and Metabolism: "A High-Protein Diet for Reducing Body Fat: Mechanisms and Possible Caveats"
- Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: "Time to Correctly Predict the Amount of Weight Loss With Dieting"
- National Academies of Medicine: "Summary Tables, Dietary Reference Intakes"
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: "Introduction to Protein Summit 2.0: Continued Exploration of the Impact of High-Quality Protein on Optimal Health"
- University of New Mexico: "Controversies in Metabolism"
- Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism: "The Role of Fiber in Energy Balance"
- Mayo Clinic: "Dietary Fiber: Essential for a Healthy Diet"
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: "Effects of Dietary Glycemic Index on Brain Regions Related to Reward and Craving in Men"
- American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine: "Closing America’s Fiber Intake Gap"
- USDA: "High-Fiber Low-Calorie Foods for Your Weight Loss Diet"
- USDA: "Basic Report: 05064, Chicken, Broilers or Fryers, Breast, Meat Only, Cooked, Roasted"
- USDA: "Basic Report: 15262, Fish, Tilapia, Cooked, Dry Heat"
- USDA: "Basic Report: 01287, Yogurt, Greek, Plain, Lowfat"