This article has been Fact-Checked by Kendall Kennedy MS, RD, RYT
What you eat is extremely important. Some foods help weight loss, others set you back. So, find out what kinds of foods you can eat to help you lose weight.
While these foods will help you, keep in mind that losing weight isn’t only about eating completely perfectly. You need to find a food plan you will be able to stick to.
How will these foods help you lose weight?
These foods are not magical things that give you the blessings of the weight loss gods when you eat them. There are actual scientifc findings behind them. There are plenty of so-called “weight loss foods” that don’t really do anything.
It’s important that you know the reasoning behind these foods, otherwise chances are that you won’t keep eating them. When you actually know why they help you lose weight, you will keep them in your daily routine.
So let’s go ahead and explain the different categories of foods that can help you lose weight.
Thermogenic Foods for weight loss
These are the foods most people think of when they think about foods that help weight loss.
Thermogenic foods are foods that directly increase the amount of calorie burning in your body.
Your body needs to break down the things you eat into usable resources. It uses energy in the form of calories to be able to do this.
So yes, eating helps you burn calories.
Hold up, before you grab your favorite snack you still need to know some things.
Most foods contain more calories than they take to break down. So you might burn 5 calories to digest food that adds 10 calories. That still leaves you with a 5 calorie surplus. The opposite of a calorie deficit, which you need in some way or another to lose weight.
Do thermogenic foods help?
They don’t have the magic effect some people think they do. However, there are some foods that take a relative high amount of calories to break down compared to the amount of calories in them.
In general all foods with a high amount of fiber and protein take more calories to burn. On top of that, here are some thermogenic foods: celery, tumeric, coconut oil, green tea, cayenne peppers, and salmon.
Foods that don’t take a lot of calories to digest are primarily refined carbohydrates like snacks with a high amount of sugar and flour. So you will already see some weight loss results by swapping the first foods with the refined carbohydrates you are eating right now.
Of course these foods are not the only things in a complete and balanced diet. There are other things you have to consider when choosing a weight loss diet.
Foods that reduce hunger
The next category of foods that help weight loss are ones that reduce your hunger.
Hunger is a big stumbling block for a lot of dieters. The hungrier you are the higher the chance that you will fail your diet. Luckily you can reduce the amount of hunger we have by eating more and less of certain things.
First of all, on top of the thermogenic effects, protein also helps you feel fuller for a relatively low amount of calories. Do keep in mind that eating too much protein isn’t good either.
Secondly all foods with low calories and a high volume like for example lettuce, cucumber, courgette,…
Thirdly, fiber decreases your hunger too. Fiber is mostly found in plant-based whole foods. Adding vegetables to your menu can really help out a ton when trying to lose weight.
Lastly, what macros you eat can influence your hunger levels too.
Foods that increase hunger
Some foods actually increase the amount of hunger you have.
The main cuplrits behind extra hunger are refined carbohydrates. They don’t fill you up even though they contain an extremely large amount of calories.
On top of that they mess up your hormone levels. This in turn can cause an increase in hunger and slowing down if not completely stopping weight loss.
Drinks that reduce hunger
Not only what you eat can decrease our hunger. You can also use certain drinks.
The most common drink recommended for weight loss is water.
Another drink that actually decreases hunger even more than water is coffee. Just don’t add sugar and cream.
Also don’t drink it too late in the day so it doesn’t interfere with your sleep.
Some tips to drink more water can benefit your weight loss journey a lot.
Pizza, donuts, chocolate, ice cream
How do foods like this help weight loss?
Eating these foods on planned moments every once in a while can help you stick to your diet better when you calculate cheat days into your calories.
You don’t have to stop eating sugar for the rest of your life. Having high calorie days can even help boost your metabolism.
Nutrition is not the whole weight loss story
Losing weight is not about eating some magical vegetable. Removing some bad foods is usually enough to get your weight loss started.
Also incorporating things like exercise and other healthy habits can help you reach your goals faster.