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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.

Most Americans get less than half the 30 to 35 grams of fiber most health organizations recommend for adults. The high fiber content of most fruits and vegetables makes them good sources of foods that make you thin – in addition, they are comparatively low in calories. What else can you do?

Look for breads that say 100% whole wheat to make sure you getting the real deal. Ann Kulze, MD, of Charleston, S.C., author of Dr. Ann’s 10-Step Diet, A Simple Plan for Permanent Weight Loss & Lifelong Vitality, also recommends incorporating beans such as soy, lentil, chickpeas, and black beans into your diet. “They are high in fiber and protein so they’ll keep you full longer,” Kulze says.

Got Milk? Calcium Fights Fat

“Preliminary evidence suggests that if someone is already eating a low-fat, portion-controlled diet and then they get three servings of nonfat milk a day, they lose more weight than someone who eats the same number of calories but doesn’t have the milk,” Somer says. The theory is that calcium may inhibit the storage of fat, and it seems that the weight loss comes largely from the midsection.

Though Somer says the research is not yet conclusive, she points out, “You need the milk anyway for your bones, so it certainly won’t hurt.” The research has been strictly on food, not supplements, so even if you take calciumsupplements, you need to drink up, too.

Women who got the largest amount of calcium from dairy foods lost the most weight and body fat over two years, even if they didn’t change their exercise habits, according to a study in the December 2000 Journal of the American College of Nutrition. Although the recommended calcium level for young women is 1,200-1,500 milligrams daily, the study showed that the average woman's daily intake of calcium was under 800 milligrams per day.

Here are the calcium levels recommended for adults by the USDA:

Ages 9 to 18: 1,300 mg

Ages 19 to 50: 1,000 mg

Ages 51 and over: 1,200 mg

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