If you've been working hard to lose weight and find that the scale hasn't budged just yet, it may be time to take a second look at the ingredients you're routinely stocking in your kitchen. After all, you shouldn't be counting just calories on a new diet — some foods can silently pack on exorbitant sodium, whereas other items may have been processed past the point of no return. It's important to zero in on eliminating ultra-processed items that may be low or free of calories, but saturated in other additives: think soda and sugary faux juices, for example. But, for those who are having trouble with maintaining steady weight loss, it's also about what you're replacing these items with that could make the real difference.
Some of the best foods to help you lose weight are those high in fiber, which dieters are surprised to learn is a form of a carbohydrate. Fibrous foods aren't easily digestible; they help you feel very satiated after a meal and help to regulate blood sugar levels. Plus, fibrous foods are often naturally lower in calorie counts. A substantial 5-year study published in the journal Obesity suggests that the more dietary fiber that one incorporates into their daily routine, the more they're able to work against "abdominal fat depots" while eating their way through their new diet. Other research also suggests increased dietary fiber can work to combat other diet-related issues over time, including cardiovascular inflammation...
Forget about restrictive diets. Instead of eating less of something to lose weight, we're here to tell you that eating more of certain foods will increaseability to burn calories by putting your body into balance and boosting your metabolism.
(up to 9 grams a cup!) and antioxidants, but contain less sugar than most fruits. That combo makes them a satisfying and healthy choice," says Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN for the Good Housekeeping Institute.
"If you've been eating the standard American diet, you have an overgrowth of the gut bacteria that trigger cravings, and you'll keep eating the same way," says Robynne Chutkan, M.D., author of Gutbliss. Fermented foods like kefir are naturally prebiotic, meaning they encourage the growth of good bacteria and help your body break down food more efficiently. Not a fan of the drinkable yogurt? Sauerkraut, kimchi, and pickled veggies work the same way.
Your avocado toast obsession might be a good thing, since a 2013 study linkedto lower waist circumference and BMI. And the monounsaturated fats are heart-healthy and filling, meaning you're less likely to snack on processed food later in the day, according to London.
Wild salmon has more brain-, heart-, joint-, and gut-healthy omega-3 fatty acids than any other food, plus it's low-glycemic, meaning it prevents insulin spikes and fat storage around the middle. "The key to staying lean is the balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids," says William Sears, M.D., author of The Omega-3 Effect. "And the fats in salmon are satisfying, making it difficult to overeat."
Certain compounds in grapefruit help your body use insulin more efficiently, which keeps your blood sugar in check and can also help burn calories. Maybe just don't sprinkle it with sugar before eating.
"Eating omega-3 fatty acids, which walnuts are full of, activates fat-burning by changing your insulin resistance," says Mark Hyman, M.D., author of The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet. "They're also an important part of a low-glycemic diet, which studies show burn 300 calories more per day than a high-glycemic one."
This grain is everywhere for a reason: "Quinoa is a fantastic alternative to acid-forming grains such as wheat and barley," says Eating the Alkaline Way coauthor and nutritional therapist Vicki Edgson. "It provides long-lasting energy and feeds on the good bacteria that live in your gut naturally to prevent bloating."
Not everyone's a fan of this fish, but if you do like it, you're in for a real treat. In addition to low mercury and lots of omega-3 fatty acids, sardines are rich in vitamin B and cholane. "And unlike industrial or inhumanely raised animal products, high-quality protein like sardines aren't inflammatory," says Hyman.
9- JERUSALEM ARTICHOKES
Also known as sunchokes, these root vegetables are high in inulin, a prebiotic that promotes good bacteria in your body. Having trouble finding them? Other high-fiber foods that pack lots of inulin include asparagus and most leafy greens.
Good thing this green is in every grocery store and on most menus these days. An alkaline food, it's high in fiber, which slows the release of glucose to prevent insulin spikes. "It's also packed with energizing iron and magnesium, which helps reduce stress hormones in the body," says Edgson.
11- OLIVE OIL
Ditch the butter, put aside the cooking spray, and coat your pan in olive oil. Like fish oil, it's full of omega-3 fatty acids that help keep your gut, brain, and other organs working efficiently, thus regulating your appetite.
12- HEMP SEEDS
Hemp isn't just beneficial in beauty products. Sprinkling the seeds on cereal and salads can also be great for your body. "Hemp seeds contain alpha-linolenic acids, a type of omega-3 fatty acid, which studies show help boost metabolism," says registered dietitian Frances Largeman-Roth.
13- GREEN TEA
Try it instead of coffee for today's 4 p.m. pick-me-up. "Green tea supports the thyroid in its production of the hormone thyroxine, revving up the metabolism for several hours," says Edgson.
14- BROWN RICE
This natural whole grain is high in chromium, a mineral that helps the body regulate blood sugar levels. The result? Reducing insulin resistance and fat storage.
, especially ones that include eggs, have been linked to weight loss, reducing belly fat in the process, according to London.
16- STEEL-CUT OATS
If you're looking to eat healthier carbs, go for steel-cut oats, which are known for being a metabolism-booster. "A resistant starch actually 'resists' being broken down in the small intestine, and studies show that it helps you feel fuller for longer," says Largeman-Roth.
Starting your day with a banana could be great news for your metabolism, thanks to all the potassium they contain. "Potassium helps your body regulate minerals and fluids in and out of your cells and may potentially increase basal metabolism, a measure of calories burned at rest while awake," says registered dietitian nutritionist Jackie Newgent.
18- HOT PEPPERS
Ready to turn up the heat? Adding a little spice into your life could fire up your metabolism in a big way. "Research suggests that capsaicin, the naturally-occurring compound found in hot peppers that gives them their burning sensation, can be helpful for weight loss because of its potential ability to generate heat, burn calories, and break down fat," says Newgent.
19- COCONUT AND PALM OIL
Sure, olive oil is great. But coconut oil is beneficial for your metabolism too — especially when you mix it with palm oil. "Consuming blended coconut and palm kernel oil has been shown to increase both energy expenditure and fat metabolism," says Laura W. Lagano, a New York City-based integrative clinical nutritionist.
20- FERMENTED FOODS
Many fermented foods — like miso, tempeh, and unsweetened plain Greek yogurt — contain probiotics that can help regulate gut function and banish bloat.