9 foods that can help keep the extra weight away
2. Soup (broth- or tomato-based, that is)
Calorie-containing liquids generally are less filling than solid foods, but
soups are the exception, says researcher Richard Mattes from Purdue University.
In Mattes' study, participants were fed 300-calorie servings of various soups
before eating their lunches (they could eat as much lunch as they wanted).
Mattes found that the study participants tended to take in fewer total daily
calories on days when they had the soup, suggesting that eating low-calorie
soups (the broth- and tomato-based ones) before meals may reduce hunger and
increase feelings of fullness.
Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, director of nutrition for WebMD, agrees that
lower-calorie soups (that is, tomato- and broth-based varieties) are highly
"If you have soup before a meal, it helps control hunger and you eat
less," she says.
3. Low-Calorie Green Salads
Having a low-calorie salad -- not to be confused with salads brimming with
cheese, croutons, high-fat dressings, and so on -- as a first course can help
you feel fuller and reduce the calories you eat during that meal, according to
a study by Rolls. She found that eating a small low-calorie salad tended to cut
calories eaten at the meal by 7%, and a larger salad by 12%. But the study
found the opposite is true with high-calorie salads. These increased the
calories eaten during the meal by 8% for a small salad, and 17% for a larger
Just how low-calorie can a green salad be? Consider that two cups of fresh
spinach leaves, 10 slices of cucumber, one medium tomato, and 1/4 cup of grated
carrot has a grand total of 67 calories (along with a hefty 5.5 grams of
Yogurt is a dairy food, and several studies have found that including dairy
products as part of an overall lower-calorie diet may give you a weight-loss
advantage. Still, some scientists aren't convinced, pointing to other studies
that show no strong effect between dairy and weight loss.
One study looked at a group of obese adults who ate three, 6-ounce servings
of fat-free yogurt a day as part of a diet reduced by 500 calories from their
normal intake. The study found that this group lost 22% more weight and 61%
more body fat than another group of participants who ate the reduced-calorie
diet without emphasizing calcium-rich foods. Even more impressive: the
yogurt eaters also lost 81% more stomach fat.
More needs to be learned about the mechanism responsible for this increased
loss of body fat, but in the meantime, consider giving yogurt a little more
respect. At the very least, a light yogurt may help you stave off hunger due to
its combination of protein and carbohydrate. Six ounces of plain, low-fat
yogurt contains approximately 9 grams of protein, 12 grams of carbohydrates
(from milk, not sugar), and 311 milligrams of calcium. It's also a great
vehicle for healthy additives like fruit or omega-3-rich flaxseed.