Step awayyyy from the fat burners, pills and potions. Here’s our list of actual real foods that can help you achieve your weight loss goals. Backed by science, not marketing.
Just because they’re high in fat doesn’t mean you can’t eat them and still burn it! The high protein, fibre and mono- and polyunsaturated fat content has been proven to help keep us feeling fuller for longer. And therefore less hungry, less often.
One study found that 12 weeks of eating a large handful (42g) of nuts daily led to improvements in diet quality without any weight gain! Go for 25-30g or a small handful each day. You’d be nuts not to.
2. Oily Fish
Similar deal to nuts, our Nemo friends are high in protein and fats that help to keep us satisfied. The omega 3 fats in oily fish are beneficial for moderating our systemic inflammation levels which can help our weight loss efforts and reduce chronic disease risk. A number of studies have found that including oily fish can help to reduce fat stores and waist circumference whilst preserving our lean body mass. Ideal!
3. Greek Yoghurt
The whey and casein proteins in yoghurt can help us feel full and lower our blood glucose and insulin response to the naturally occuring sugars in greek yoghurt. Studies have found that eating high protein yoghurt at brekky or between meals can control our hunger and help manage our mealtime portions later in the day.
Another benefit of Greek yoghurt is the friendly probiotic bacteria it contains. Keeping our intestinal bacteria thriving helps to keep the lining of our gut healthy, which has also been linked to improved weight management. Not all strains are equal, and some probiotic bacteria has been linked to weight gain, including Lactobacillus acidophilus commonly found in yoghurts. So we won’t get ahead of ourselves here.
The yoghurt aisle can be a huge time trap. Before you know it 40 minutes have passed and you’re still not sure if the low fat, blueberry, coconut or kefir is the best choice to dollop on your bircher. Sigh. We feel you.
Check the ingredients list and look for a Greek style with no added sugars. The shorter the ingredients list the better. A little trick: if the nutrition panel shows more than 6g of sugars per 100g then it’s probably got sugar added. We like Chobani and YoPro plain varieties for their protein content and live culture profiles. The best choice for you will depend on your goals, any dietary requirements and of course your taste preference so hit us up if you need some tailored guidance!
Have we mentioned protein yet? Eggs, particularly the whites, are packed full of it. Studies have shown that including eggs at brekky can manage our hunger and improve our food choices later in the day. Boil and peel a bunch in advance for the week. And don’t stress about the cholesterol. Cholesterol in our diet has only a small impact on our LDL blood cholesterol levels. Go for 6-7 eggs per week and there’ll be no change to your cholesterol levels but a likely reduction in your hunger levels!
5. Easy there tiger. Avoid the end-of-fast-feast!
This can be the undoing of a successful fast and one of the reasons that we may recommend against IF. You need to have your baseline diet balanced. *Refer to point 1*
While it can be tempting to eat the entire fridge after your incredible fasting effort (and yes, we’re so proud of you for making it!), try not to undo all your excellent achievements. Not only can this leave you feeling bloated and fatigued and reduce the likelihood of weight and health benefits, the self-efficacy you gain from reaching your goal can quickly wear off if you lose your sense of control with meal 1.
The good news is we’ve got a foolproof guide to your first meal back after a fast! Find it here!
6. Green tea
In the same class as chillies – with marketing strategies that perhaps exceed the actual science – green tea gets a big Google gold star. In fact, many weight loss products contain green tea extract! A large, high quality review from back in 2012 does sort of back up these claims, with researchers finding that green tea intake was linked to a small but consistent weight loss in overweight or obese adults.
Regardless, green tea is a good source of antioxidants with plenty of health benefits. Be careful not to overdo it if you’re having anti-cancer treatment (see our Antioxidants vs Anticancer article for more info).
7. Split Peas
It’s a shame to single out these legumes when we simply love them all! But the protein from these little treasures has been studied in humans and shown to have a greater impact on reducing hunger than whey protein. Round of applause for the plants please!
They’re also a good source of fibre, protein and B vitamins and delish added to soups, stews,curries and dahl. Check our our dahl recipe for some inspo for your Meat Free Monday!
We hope we’ve put some real food winners in the limelight when it comes to keeping us feeling satisfied. It’s okay to keep it simple. In fact, we encourage it.
At the end of the day, when it comes to weight loss we know a cookie cutter approach doesn’t work. One size does not fit every size! If you’re looking for support, find someone who understands you, your unique medical conditions and health goals!
- Siew Ling Tey S. Nuts Improve Diet Quality Compared to Other Energy-Dense Snacks While Maintaining Body Weight. J Nutr Metab. 2011; 2011: 357350.
- Noreen E et al. Effects of supplemental fish oil on resting metabolic rate, body composition, and salivary cortisol in healthy adults.J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2010; 7: 31.
- Couet C et al.Effect of dietary fish oil on body fat mass and basal fat oxidation in healthy adults. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1997 Aug;21(8):637-43.
- Kabir M et al. Treatment for 2 mo with n 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids reduces adiposity and some atherogenic factors but does not improve insulin sensitivity in women with type 2 diabetes: a randomized controlled study.Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Dec;86(6):1670-9.
- Du S et al. Does Fish Oil Have an Anti-Obesity Effect in Overweight/Obese Adults? A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. PLoS One. 2015; 10(11): e0142652.
- Omra JM et al. Lactobacillus fermentum and Lactobacillus amylovorus as probiotics alter body adiposity and gut microflora in healthy persons. Journal of Functional Foods. 2013 Jan;5(1):116-123.
- Sanchez M et al.Effect of Lactobacillus rhamnosus CGMCC1.3724 supplementation on weight loss and maintenance in obese men and women. Br J Nutr. 2014 Apr 28;111(8):1507-19.
- Milliona M et al. Comparative meta-analysis of the effect of Lactobacillus species on weight gain in humans and animals. Microbial Pathogenesis. 2012;53(2):100-108.
- Laura C Ortinau L et al. Effects of high-protein vs. high- fat snacks on appetite control, satiety, and eating initiation in healthy women. Nutrition Journal.2014;13:97.
- Tannis M et al.Green tea for weight loss and weight maintenance in overweight or obese adults. Cochrane Systematic Review – Intervention Version published: 12 December 2012.
- Abou-Samra R et al.Effect of different protein sources on satiation and short-term satiety when consumed as a starter. Nutrition Journal. 2011;10:139