One slice of pizza, large orange soda, extra ranch dressing, and a hot fudge brownie. Now, just add a diet pill, and it’s like it never happened, right? Unfortunately, this is the mentality of many dieters out there. The trouble with diet pills is that they are not meant to be taken for an extended period of time, so unless you’re building healthy, slimming habits on the side, then once you drop the diet pill, you’ll notice an increase in your backside. The scarier thing is all of the recalls on diet products due to unexpected side effects—some fatal. Ok, so have I scared you away from the short cut way to dieting yet? Good. Because I have another solution waiting for you here: Studies have found that these foods help curb cravings, fight certain food addictions, boost metabolism and burn fat. And you actually get to chew and savor these slimming sensations.
—Averaging 6 grams of protein per egg and only 4-5 grams of fat and 70 calories, eggs have been superstars in many dieting studies. One study found that obese women who ate 2 scrambled eggs for breakfast accompanied by toast ate less in the next 36 hours than those who ate a bagel of the same calories. 36 hours is a LONG time to control your cravings—wouldn’t it be nice to have your food do it for you?
—Keeping food in your stomach longer is the key here. I know, that sounds like bloat waiting to happen, but actually slower-digesting foods will lead to a tighter tummy in the long run. Beans contain a digestive hormone called cholecystokinin, which is known as an appetite suppressant. One study found that men who ate beans had cholecystokinin levels twice as high as those who ate a low-fiber meal. Beans can also stabilize your blood sugar, minimizing those sneaky snack attacks
—Everyone enjoys the process of eating. Cutting up your food, creating that perfect bite and savoring the flavor is most of the fun. That could be why one study found that women who ate a large salad before a meal consumed 12% less pasta than the women who just dived into the carb-heavy plate. Just the sheer volume and effort of eating the salad made the women feel full.
—I believe the saying is “an apple a day” but change that to 3 apples a day if you’re trying to lose weight. With 3 grams of fiber per medium-sized apples, and the blood-sugar stabilizer pectin, apples can greatly curb inter-meal cravings. In one study, women who ate just 3 small pears or apples a day lost more weight than women on the same diet who did not.
5.) Lean Beef
—Muscle loss is a big problem for dieters. Fight this unwanted side effect with 9 to 10 ounces of beef a day. The amino acid leucine—found in lean meats and fish—helps you lose more weight and fat without losing muscle.
6.) Green Tea
—This could be why the Japanese don’t struggle with obesity nearly as much as Americans—they consume the stuff with almost every meal. The antioxidant called catechins helps speed up metabolism and burn fat.
7.) Olive Oil… for Breakfast?
—Mixed with cereal, it sounds a little funky, I know. But one study found that women who ate muesli cereal with oil-laced skim milk benefited with a boosted metabolism. Not to worry, the stuff is just as great on salads and grilled vegetables, too.
—Drop 3 pounds in 12 weeks! No, this isn’t an infomercial. This is what 91 obese people did in a study observing the benefits of eating half a grapefruit before each meal. Three glasses of the juice per day will result in the same weight loss.
—Not just for salad dressings, this tangy stuff contains natural acids and enzymes that act as an appetite suppressant and boost your metabolism. Research has also found a link between vinegar and insulin response, showing vinegar’s power to slow down blood sugar rise after a meal, keeping you full longer.
—You may associate it with unhealthy foods like holiday cookies, but cinnamon has actually been found to help fight diabetes by increasing your body’s insulin response. One study observed the affect of two teaspoons a day of cinnamon on the blood sugar of type 2 diabetics. Participants experienced lower blood sugar and increased insulin production.
Forget dieting, eat up… well, eat the right things in moderation of course.