9 foods that can help keep the extra weight away
Are there really certain foods that can help you lose weight and keep it
off? We're not talking about any so-called miracle food that "melts the
fat" (does the cabbage soup diet ring any
bells?). These are foods that really can help you lose or maintain weight,
either by helping you to eat less or to burn more calories -- or, in some
cases, maybe even helping to decrease your body fat.
Experts say there are two basic categories of foods that can be considered
"keeping it off superfoods" because they fill your tummy without piling
on the calories: fruits and vegetables. For
example, two whole cups of steamed broccoli packs a measly 87 calories. Or how
about two cups of strawberry slices? They'll add only 99 calories. Even a
denser vegetable, steamed carrots, has only 140 calories per two cups. And two
cups of a denser fruit, apple slices? That's only 130 calories.
If fruits and vegetables are the "keeping-it-off superfood groups,"
fiber may well be the "keeping-it-off supernutrient." (Incidentally,
the two-cup servings of fruits and vegetables mentioned above all contribute
from 5 to 9 grams of fiber.)
Protein is another supernutrient. It's becoming more scientifically accepted
that protein may help to curb appetite. But whether we need more than 0.4 grams
per pound of body weight is still up for debate among many researchers.
"Eating enough protein-rich foods of low energy density [calories per
portion] is a good strategy for increasing satiety, especially if you are
trying to lose weight," says Barbara Rolls, PhD, a researcher at Penn State
University and author of the book The Volumetrics Eating Plan.
Protein can slightly boost metabolism, Rolls says. But, she explains, eating
more calories than your body needs -- even in the form of protein -- will
promote weight gain, not loss.
Before we get to the list of "keeping it off" superfoods, let's make
sure we keep things in perspective. At the end of the day, weight loss is still
about burning more calories than you take in. The advantage to these foods is
that they may help you do just that -- if you eat them instead of some
9 'Keeping It Off' Superfoods
1. Green Tea
Go out of your way to indulge in a tall glass of iced green tea or a mug of
hot green tea when you get the chance. Here's why: In a recent study,
volunteers who drank a bottle of tea (fortified with green tea extract) every
day for three months lost more body fat than another group who drank a bottle
of regular oolong tea. Except for the different teas, their overall diets were
similar. Researchers suspect that the catechins (helpful phytochemicals) in
green tea may trigger weight loss by stimulating the body to burn calories and
mildly decrease body fat.