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 higher-calorie choices.