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 fiber).
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.
Beans help you feel full longer, which means they may work to curb your between-meal appetite. They also give you a big fiber and protein bang for a minimum of calories. One-half cup of pinto beans or kidney beans has around 8 grams fiber and 7 grams of protein, all for about 110 calories.
Water is a keeping-it-off superfood because it's a great alternative to other, calorie-containing beverages. When you drink beverages that have calories (say, fancy coffee drinks or sodas) you are not likely to compensate by eating less food. Mattes' research suggests that people who drink liquid carbohydrate (in the form of soda) are more likely to consume more calories than their bodies needs, compared with people who ate the same amount of solid carbohydrate (in the form of jelly beans).