This article has been Fact-Checked by Kendall Kennedy MS, RD, RYT
There are many foods you can add to your weight loss diet. Some better than others. One of them is kale, is it good for weight loss?
Kale is a kind of cabbage that has a reputation in the the healthy eating world.
For most people eating kale will help weight loss. Certain groups of people want to eat kale in moderation due to certain properties of kale.
Micronutrients in kale
The first thing to look at is the amount of micronutrients in kale
Micronutrients are a group of nutrients your body absolutely needs to survive and thrive. Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals. These are involved in basically every aspect of your health, including weight loss.
100 grams of raw kale provides you with approximately (1):
- Vitamin K: 1021% of the DV (Daily Value)
- Vitamin A: 308% of the DV
- Vitamin C: 200% of the DV
- Manganese: 39% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 14% of the DV
- Calcium: 14% of the DV
- Copper: 14% of the DV
- Potassium: 13% of the DV
- Iron: 9% of the DV
- Riboflavin: 8% of the DV
- Magnesium: 8% of the DV
- Folate: 7% of the DV
- Thiamin: 7% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 6% of the DV
And some other vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts. These are great amounts of vitamins and minerals compared with many other whole foods.
Eating more kale is a great way to increase the amount of vitamins and minerals you get from your diet.
Kale also contains antioxidants, substances that can help your body deal with oxidative stress.
Fiber in kale for weight loss
Another very important factor for weight loss is the amount of fiber in your food.
Kale contains around 2 grams of fiber per 100 grams.
That’s a good amount of fiber per 100 grams and this is a good thing.
Fiber has multiple benefits for weight loss. First of all, it feeds your microbiome, the microbes that live in your intestines. The health of your microbiome influences your body’s health and weight. Feeding it well is usually not a bad idea.
Fiber also helps you feel less hungry without adding a lot of calories to your diet. Hunger and cravings can be a big pitfall for people trying to lose weight, so avoiding this is a big plus.
With the amount of fiber in kale you can reduce the time you spend craving for food.
Will kale help you lose weight?
Let’s take a closer look at the macronutrients in kale.
Kale contains around 50 calories per 100 grams. 36.1 of these calories come from the carbohydrates (10 g per 100 grams of which 2 g fiber).
You can most likely fit in kale on a low carb diet like for example the keto diet.
The amount of calories in kale is low compared to most whole foods. You often can’t go wrong with eating more vegetables when trying to lose weight. Unless you are not eating enough calories.
By eating kale you can feel fuller without adding too many calories in your diet. This can help you lose weight by preventing you from overeating calories.
In theory you could also gain weight from eating kale but in reality you likely feel too full before that happens. If you are gaining weight while eating kale the first place to look at is usually the rest of your diet and other habits.
Possible reasons to limit kale
There are a few situations where you want to avoid overconsuming kale.
The first situation is if you have thyroid problems. Kale and other cruciferous vegetables contain a substance called goitrogens. Excessive consumption of this substance may interfere with thyroid hormone production.
On the other hand one review found that you would have to eat about 2.2 pounds or 1 kg of kale a day for several months to get that effect (2). A moderate intake of kale should be fine for most individuals.
Kale also contains a large amount of vitamin K. This may interfere with blood thinning medication.
Can you eat kale every day?
For most people eating kale every day is not bad except in the situations mentioned above. On the contrary, kale is a good source of important nutrients.
Exactly how many kale you can eat every day depends from person to person and the rest of your diet. Kale is a great food but variety is key in any healthy diet.
Does kale help you lose belly fat?
Targetting fat loss in a specific area like your belly is generally not possible. Not by eating more of a specific food or by doing a specific exercise. To lose belly fat you have to lose weight overall.
Since kale can help you lose weight in general they can also help you lose belly fat once your body wants to lose fat in that area.
Different ways to eat kale for weight loss
You can use kale in many different recipes and forms. Some of these ways of eating kale are better for weight loss than others.
Find out which kale combinations you can eat and which ones you should avoid most of the time if you’re looking to lose weight.
Smoothies can be good for weight loss if you use the right ingredients. How healthy a smoothie is, is basically how healthy its ingredients are. These ingredients are just in a more liquid mix. You basically get all the nutrients, the good and the bad, from all the ingredients you use.
Since kale can be a good addition to your weight loss diet they can also be part of a great weight loss smoothie. How good your “kale” smoothie will be for weight loss also depends a lot on the other ingredients in your smoothie recipe.
Kale chips are usually made by baking kale in the oven with some oil, herbs, and salt. By baking the kale you remove a big part of the water content while keeping the other nutrients.
This does increase the amount of vitamins, minerals, and fiber per 100 grams but also the amount of calories. Kale chips can contain up to 439 calories per 100 grams (3).
Water is also very helpful for losing weight. It helps you feel fuller and increases the amount of calories you burn.
You can most likely get away with some kale chips but in general, it’s better to stay away from this food if you are trying to lose weight.
Another popular use for kale is making a soup with it. Most kale soup recipe comes down to combining kale, water, other vegetables like carrots and onions, some spices, and some salt.
Most vegetables are great for weight loss. There is also nothing wrong with some spices. And water is also very helpful for losing weight.
All in all this makes kale soup a great food for weight loss. By eating more of this it becomes harder to overeat on calories and for most people, this is enough to help them lose weight.
How to eat kale for weight loss
The best ways to eat kale for weight loss are eating it in its whole form, raw in a salad or on its own or boiled, a kale soup, and combined with great ingredients in a smoothie.
It’s better to stay away from kale chips if you are looking to lose weight.