There are multiple diets suggested by weight loss experts such as low-calorie diets, low carbohydrate diets, very-low-calorie diets, very-low-carbohydrate diets, and fat-restriction diets (1). Each of these diets results in specific actions on appetite and food preferences, therefore comparing dietary studies and trials in order to work out which diets result in the safest, sustainable weight loss is difficult (1). However, the following foods have all been backed by scientific studies and found to be weight loss friendly;
It was once thought that eating eggs can increase cholesterol but more recent studies are showing that eggs actually don’t adversely affect blood cholesterol levels nor do they cause heart attacks (2, 3). Eggs are considered nutrient-dense as they are high in protein, healthy fats and can increase satiety all while being low in calories. Studies have found eggs in place of bagels for breakfast, can increase satiety, reduce overall food consumption and increase weight loss (4, 5).
These include vegetables such as kale, spinach, Swiss chards and more. Each of these leafy greens has properties that make them ideal for weight loss – low calories, low carbohydrates, high in fiber. Eating these vegetables can be an easy way to increase the amount and volume of your meal, without significantly increasing calories. Many studies show that meals that have a low energy density can make people eat fewer calories overall (6). Leafy greens are nutrient-dense as they consist of multiple vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and even calcium which are known to aid fat-burning (7).
Although it is understood that processed meat is unhealthy, there are studies that back unprocessed red meat in that it does not raise the risk of heart disease or diabetes (8, 9). Red meat also has a very weak correlation with cancer in men to no correlation at all whatsoever in women (10, 11).
Meat is considered weight loss friendly as it is high in protein – the most fulfilling nutrient. Research shows that high protein diets can cause your body to burn up to one hundred more calories in a day (12, 13) and can reduce cravings for late-night snacks (14) as well as causing weight loss equivalent to a pound per week (15).
Fish is not only satisfying but also contains relatively few calories. Most fish are protein-rich and consist of healthy fats and other important nutrients, such as iodine which is important for proper thyroid function which can keep metabolism levels optimal (16). Salmon, for example, is loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids which are known to reduce inflammation which is prominent in patients of obesity and metabolic diseases (17, 18).
Chilli peppers contain a substance known as capsaicin, this substance has been proven to reduce appetite and increase fat burning (19, 20) and is even sold as a substance form or in commercial weight loss supplements as a weight loss aid. A study found that people who are not accustomed to eating peppers regularly had a reduction in appetite and increased fat burning, however, these effects were absent in people who regularly eat peppers which indicates a tolerance can build up (21).
Each of these foods is considered to be weight loss friendly as they take different metabolic pathways in the body. This can lead to vast differences in the effects on hunger, hormones and how many calories our bodies are burning.
For more information on what to eat for weight loss, see our nutrition and weight management course.