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Foods to Help You Lose Weight

Looking for foods to help you lose weight? These five tips will help you zero in on the foods that make you thin.
By Susan Seliger
WebMD Feature

Wouldn’t it be nice if every pound of chocolate you ate would make you lose a pound of flab?  Well, perhaps chocolate won’t do the trick, but new research is showing that there are certain foods that can help make you thin and actually can help you drop pounds. 

“A pound of carrots will fill you up, with only a smattering of calories -- or you can have a pound of cheeseburger, and you’ll gain weight faster than you can jump on a scale,” says Elizabeth Somer, MA, RD, author of 10 Habits That Mess Up a Woman's Diet and Age-Proof Your Body. “People don’t gain weight on carrots and blueberries; it would be almost impossible to eat enough of them,” Somers says. “We fill up on the volume of food.”

But fear not, you are not destined to a steady diet of carrot sticks and bird food.  In fact, a wide assortment of the right “thin” foods can help you lose weight.  The key things to look for: Foods with high water content, high-fiber foods, and calcium. All of these will help you feel full longer and thus eat fewer calories in the long run.   Sorry, until Godiva starts filling their truffles with water instead of chocolate cream, they don’t make the list. But lots of other luscious foods do.

A good rule to bear in mind is to avoid processed foods, which tend to be higher in fat and salt.  “If you eat real food, minimally processed, for instance plain nuts instead of those processed with fat, or 100% whole-wheat bread instead of white bread, that alone will help you manage your weight,” Somer says.

Here are other tips on foods to help you lose weight.

Eat Your Water – Drink Your Meals

It’s important to stay well hydrated on a diet.  People often mistake hunger for thirst.  So next time you get a pang, drink a glass of water first to make sure you’re really hungry.  

But that’s not the only way water can help you lose weight. “If water is incorporated into food, it tends to fill us up,” Somer says. Most fruits and vegetables are 80% to 90% water.

Another tip:  Try a bowl of soup before each meal.  “Make sure it’s broth-based, not cream-based,” Somer says. She also suggests, “a thick beverage like V8 before a meal so you’re less likely to overeat. You’re likely to consume fewer calories.  Brown rice or oatmeal, which have incorporated the water into them, also work.”

Load the Fiber – Fill Up Before You Fill Out

“People who eat whole grains have an easier time managing their weight,” Somer says.   “Fiber fills you up before it fills you out.”  Whole grains have the added benefit of generally being lower in calories than refined (think white flour) grains and carbohydrates. 

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