20 Weight-Loss Friendly Foods To Jumpstart Weight Loss
- This article is written by Dr. Michael John, MD. You can hire him on Fiverr for medical and health articles and blog posts.
Not all foods contain a similar amount of calories.
Your body has different metabolic pathways for different foods.
Each food has several different nutrients and can have different effects on your hunger, the number of calories you burn and the production of hormones.
Following are the 20 best natural weight-loss friendly foods that are strongly backed by science and proven to help reduce weight loss quickly.
1. Leafy Greens
There are multiple varieties of leafy greens including spinach, kale, swiss chards, collards, and a few others.
These vegetables have many properties that make them one of the best weight-loss friendly foods to eat to lose weight in stomach, e.g., they are loaded with fiber and low in calories and carbohydrates.
Regular consumption of leafy greens weight loss foods is an excellent way to expand the volume of your daily meals, without raising the calories. There are multiple studies that show the diets and meals low in carbohydrates make people consume fewer calories overall. (5).
Leafy greens are nutritious and loaded with a high amount of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants, including calcium and potassium which have been shown to boost metabolism and fat burning.
- Leafy green vegetables can be a good addition to your weight loss diet. They are high in fiber and low in calorie content that helps keep you feeling full.
Fatty fish are incredibly healthy and satisfying. Salmon is a great example of fatty fish that can keep you full for several hours.
Salmon contains few calories and is packed with important nutrients such as high-quality protein, healthy fats, and antioxidants. (7).
Various studies reveal that many people don’t fill their iodine needs. (8)
Seafood, in general, may also provide a large amount of iodine. Iodine is necessary for the optimal functioning of the thyroid, which is an important organ to regulate your metabolism and burn calories.
Salmon also contains omega-3 fatty acids, important anti-inflammatory fatty acids which have been shown to play a major role in metabolic diseases like obesity and diabetes by reducing active inflammation in the body. (9, 10).
Trout, mackerel, herring, sardines and other types of fatty fish are also rich in iodine and omega-3 fatty acids.
- Salmon is rich in healthy proteins, iodine, and omega-3 fatty acids. This nutrient profile makes it an excellent choice for people seeking weight loss.
3. Cruciferous Vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables are on the top of the list of weight-loss friendly vegetables. The prominent ones are cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage. Like leafy greens, they are also low in calories and high in fiber.
Furthermore, these veggies are generally high in healthy protein that makes them incredibly filling.
list of vegetables for weight loss
They are not as high in protein as legumes, fish or animal foods, but still contain adequate amounts compared to most vegetables. Some studies suggest they also contain cancer-fighting substances. (11).
A combination of low energy density, protein, and fiber not only can improve your overall health, but also proves to be an excellent weight loss strategy.
- Vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli are high in fiber and nutrients but low in calories.
- This healthy nutrient profile makes cruciferous vegetables one of the perfect weight-loss friendly foods.
4. Whole Eggs
Whole eggs were once feared for being rich in cholesterol, however, they are now making a strong comeback. Now, they are often a part of various diet food recipes for weight loss.
It’s true that a high intake of eggs is associated with raised levels of cholesterol and bad LDL in some people, recent studies have found that they are the best option to eat if you are looking for weight-loss-friendly foods. Whole eggs are very satiating due to their rich fat and protein content. (1, 2).
According to one study conducted on 30 overweight women demonstrated that eating more than one egg for breakfast not only provide a sufficient amount of fats and proteins but also increase feelings of fullness. It made participants consume less food for the next one and a half day. (3).
Another eight-week clinical trial showed that compared to bagels, eating eggs for breakfast accelerates weight loss when combined with a calorie restricted diet. (4)
Whole eggs are also nutrient dense and can provide all the nutrients your body needs. Of note, almost all the healthy nutrients (fats and proteins) are found in the yolks.
- Eggs are very satiating and packed full of healthy proteins. Compared to other breakfast meals such as bagels (refined carbs), eggs have the ability to suppress appetite for 24 to 36 hours and may even help weight loss.
5. Chicken Breast and Lean Beef
Meat has been blamed for multiple health problems despite a lack of ample evidence to support these bold claims.
The truth is, both lean beef and chicken breast are weight-loss friendly foods because they are high in protein and contain no carcinogenic compounds.
Various studies have revealed that you can cut your cravings (up to 60%) by simply increasing protein intake. Eating more protein can cause weight loss of almost one pound (0.45 kg) per week. (19, 20).
Many nutritionists and dietitians recommend feeling free to eat fatty meats if you are on a low-carb diet. However, they advise choosing lean meats if you are on a moderate to high carbohydrate diet.
- Losing those extra pounds need the stimulation of metabolism that can be achieved by increasing your protein intake.
- Unprocessed meat provides a large number of healthy proteins that can make it easier for you to lose excess fat.
6. Boiled Potatoes
Potatoes are universal and regarded as a staple food in many parts of the world. There are several properties that make potatoes one of the best weight loss friendly foods.
Potatoes have a rich nutrient profile as they contain a little bit of almost everything you need, from carbs to fats to proteins.
Besides this, they are also packed full of vital minerals like iodine and potassium. Potassium is a mineral that plays important roles in the body such as nerve conduction and regulation of blood pressure.
But why boiled potatoes? Because boiling them for a while will form high amounts of a fiber-like substance, called “resistant starch”. (22)
This starch gives potatoes the highest satiety index (21), a score that measures how satiating various foods are.
It means that eating boiled potatoes can make you feel fuller and prevent you from overeating.
- Boiled potatoes, due to the presence of resistant starch, are considered the most filling foods. A boiled potato is shown to stimulate metabolism, suppress appetite and aid in weight loss.
7. Tuna (One Of The Best Weight-Loss Friendly Food)
Tuna is a lean fish which is high in proteins and low in fats and calories.
This fish is quite popular among fitness models and bodybuilders who want a sculpted body, as tuna is a great way to consume less fat and calories while keeping their protein consumption high.
If you are trying to increase your protein intake, it’s better to choose tuna canned in water.
- Tuna is one of the finest lean sources of high-quality protein. Replacing tuna with other high-carb or rich in fat foods is not only helpful in shedding extra pounds but also toning your muscles for a perfect, sculpted body.
8. Legumes and Beans
Plant seeds are packed full of healthy nutrients, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. Both legumes and beans are very beneficial for weight loss.
They are high in protein, fiber, complex carbohydrates, and minerals such as folate and iron.
They also contain another important weight loss ingredient, resistant starch.
However, a majority of people face digestive problems tolerating poorly-prepared legumes and beans. Therefore, it is essential to prepare or cook them properly.
- Legumes and beans are an excellent addition to your weight loss diet. They are rich in fiber and protein, contributing to lower calorie intake and feelings of fullness which directly translates into weight loss.
People who eat meals and diets with low energy density tend to eat fewer calories.
Low energy density diets such as vegetables and fruits have a common property that they contain lots of water.
Similarly, adding water to the food to make a soup is another great option to make your meal low energy density.
- Vegetable soups, due to their high water content, can be beneficial for losing weight. However, make sure to avoid adding fats into the soup such as cream or coconut milk.
10. Cottage Cheese
Dairy products are rich in fats and proteins and are one of the weight-loss friendly foods.
With very few carbs and little fat, cottage cheese is one of the best dairy products you can add to your weight loss diet.
Like lean meat, eating cottage cheese is an excellent way to increase your protein intake. Due to low-calorie content, it is also very satiating and makes you feel full for a long period of time.
Other low-fat, high-protein dairy products include skyr and Greek yogurt.
- Eating dairy products such as cottage cheese, skyr, and Greek yogurt is one of the healthy ways to eat fewer calories and get more protein. Their satiating effect can make you feel fuller for the whole day and can help lose weight.
Avocado is a unique fruit because it is loaded with healthy fats.
Compared to other common fruits that are high in carbs, avocados are high in monounsaturated oleic acid.
Besides this, they also contain a large quantity of water, potassium, and fiber. It makes them less energy-dense fruit than most others.
Furthermore, they can be used as a perfect addition to many cuisines and dishes.
Studies have shown that their high monounsaturated oleic acid content can increase carotenoid antioxidant absorption which is helpful in weight loss. (25)
- Avocados contain similar fat as olive oil which makes them a good choice for people looking for healthy foods to lose extra weight.
12. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is traditionally being used for multiple purposes and also incredibly prevalent in the health community.
Various studies suggest that apple cider vinegar has a strong metabolism boosting and fat burning properties and can be useful for weight loss.
You can use it in condiments like vinaigrettes and dressings, or even dilute it in water to drink it.
The same study also revealed that taking 15 or 30 ml of apple cider vinegar per day can induce a weight loss of 1.2–1.7 kilograms (2.6–3.7 pounds) in obese people. (28).
- Incorporating apple cider vinegar to your weight-loss diet such as vegetable salad may help suppress sugar cravings and curb your appetite – possibly leading to weight loss.
Nuts are usually considered fattening and a way to aid weight gain. However, they are an excellent snack and packed full of healthy protein, fiber, and monounsaturated fats.
Furthermore, human-based studies have demonstrated that people who regularly eat nuts such as Brazil nuts, walnuts, pecans, and almonds tend to be leaner and healthier. (33).
- Nuts are packed with healthy nutrients that can aid weight loss by stimulating metabolism and increasing fat burn.
- As they are also high in calories, you should consume them in moderation to avoid consuming more calories.
14. Whole Grains
Cereal grains have been continuously receiving a bad reputation for the past few years; however, some types are definitely healthy and can also help in weight loss.
Whole grains such as oats, brown rice, and quinoa are notable examples of healthy grains that contain a decent amount of protein and are packed full of fiber.
Both white and brown rice are loaded with a significant amount of resistant starch that is linked to suppressing appetite. (36).
Of note, refined grains are not a healthy choice. You should also beware of some foods with a “whole grains” label on them. They are highly processed foods that are both fattening and harmful to your health.
- You should consider eating whole grains instead of refined ones. They are much higher in fiber, protein, and other nutrients and can be helpful in losing weight, especially if you are on a low carb diet.
15. Chili Pepper
Eating chili peppers is traditionally linked to boosting metabolism and losing weight.
Nowadays, this substance is being used as a weight-loss ingredient in many commercial supplements.
According to a recent study, eating 1 gram of red or green chili pepper can increase fat burning and reduce appetite in people who didn’t regularly eat spicy foods. (40).
However, people already eating spicy foods show no significant effect. The reason could be the build-up of tolerance against capsaicin.
- Eating spicy foods, in general, is shown to increase fat burning and reduce your appetite temporarily. However, their weight loss effect may only be helpful in people who didn’t regularly eat spicy foods.
Fruits are healthy as they contain a large number of nutrients such as minerals, salts, fiber, phytochemicals, and antioxidants.
Fruits do have strong features that make them weight-loss-friendly foods. They have a low energy density plus the presence of fiber and various salts not help suppress appetite but also prevent glucose from being delivered too quickly into your bloodstream.
You can minimize fruit intake if you have intolerance to a specific fruit, or you are on a very low-carb or ketogenic diet.
In general, most fruits are healthy and can be a pleasant addition to your weight loss diet.
- Although some fruits contain a significant amount of sugar, you can add them to your weight loss diet plan. Their fiber and mineral content can prevent the instant absorption of sugar in the bloodstream and can suppress appetite for a good few hours.
Your weight loss diet list of healthy foods is incomplete without grapefruit.
It is one of the weight-loss friendly foods whose weight control effects have been studied directly.
According to a study featuring 91 obese individuals, eating half a grapefruit before meals is found to induce a weight loss of 3.5 pounds. (43).
Therefore, you should eat half a fresh grapefruit before some of your daily meals to feel fuller and eat fewer overall calories.
It has also been studied and shown to reduce insulin resistance, a basic metabolic abnormality behind type 2 diabetes and other chronic metabolic diseases.
- Numerous studies show that eating grapefruit may reduce calorie intake, boost metabolism and suppress appetite when eaten before meals.
18. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are one of the most nutritious and weight-loss friendly foods on the planet.
They are packed full of complex carbohydrates (2 grams of carbohydrates per ounce (28 grams). Interestingly, out of these, 11 grams is fiber that makes them among the most low-carb-friendly foods. (44).
The high fiber content in chia seeds helps absorb a large amount of water and turn into a gel-like material that can expand stomach. (45).
Most dietitians believe that chia seeds should be a part of your weight loss diet due to their powerful nutrient composition.
- Chia seeds are very high in fiber and help absorb a large amount of water. It quickly fills you up and suppresses appetite.
19. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is rich in high in medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), a type of fatty acids that have been shown to increase the number of calories burned and boost satiety better than other fats. (48, 49).
Coconut oil is also high in calories, so eating it along with high-calorie foods is a bad idea.
Therefore, you should focus on replacing some of your cooking fats with coconut oil instead of adding it on top of what you’re already eating.
Coconut oil is less filling than MCT (medium-chain triglyceride) oil, a supplement full of healthy medium-chain triglyceride fatty acids. (52).
- Coconut oil contains a significant amount of medium-chain triglycerides that are shown to boost satiety after meals.
- MCT oil and olive oil supplements are even better as they contain more medium-chain triglyceride fatty acids.
20. Full-Fat Yogurt
Why yogurt? Because it contains probiotic bacteria.
These are the healthy bacteria that can aid in digestion and improve the function of your gut.
A healthy gut can not only protect against leptin resistance and inflammation but also regulate help keep your metabolism high.
Make sure you bought a yogurt product that contains the live, active culture of probiotics.
Studies also show additional benefits of eating full-fat yogurt over low-fat as it can reduce the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes. (53).
- Yogurt is rich in probiotics; healthy bacteria that can help improve your digestive health.
- Consider adding full-fat yogurt it to your weight loss diet for better results and avoid low-fat products that contain added sugar.
The Bottom Line
There are plenty of healthy and weight-loss friendly foods foods you can add to your weight loss diets such as lean meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and beans.
Several processed foods, such as oatmeal, extra-virgin olive oil, and probiotic yogurt are also healthy choices.
Along with regular core exercise, eating these nutritious and delicious foods can not only help boost weight loss but also pave your way to a healthier life.
This article is written by Dr. Michael John, MD. You can hire him on Fiverr for medical and health articles and blog posts.