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Potatoes score right at the top on the Satiety Index, a scale for measuring how filling foods are. But how you cook them matters: Boiled will keep you feeling fuller longer.  But baked, with a healthy topping like sautéed broccoli, is another tasty option. Potatoes get a bad rap, but they’re gluten free, they offer more potassium than a banana, and they’re good sources of vitamin B6 and vitamin C.

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Studies in people eating low-glycemic diets (foods that take longer to raise your blood sugar) show that a moderate amount of pasta isn’t harmful. In fact, participants were still able to lose weight while eating pasta. Bottom line: Aim for whole-wheat pasta --the more al dente the less it raises your blood sugar.

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They may be high in fat and calories, but you don’t have to skip them in order to shed pounds. In fact, studies say women who eat one serving of nuts two or more times a week are almost 25% less likely to be obese and gain fewer pounds than those who avoid nuts.

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If you’re counting calories, don’t count out cheese just yet. One study suggests including calcium-rich low-fat dairy in your low-cal meals may actually help you lose a little weight while also protecting bone health. 

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A daily cup of Joe alone won’t hinder your weight loss efforts. In fact, researchers think the caffeine in coffee may actually make you feel less hungry and burn more calories. But adding sugar and cream can make it less healthy. It may even boost the number on your scale over time.

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A diet that includes whole grains, like those in brown rice, can actually help you keep a healthier body weight. In addition to fiber that keeps you feeling full, you’ll also get vitamins B1 and B6, magnesium, selenium, phosphorous, and manganese. And while white rice doesn’t have these benefits, with limited, sensible portions, you can still enjoy it without worrying about weight gain.

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The key to chocolate noshing is to go dark and keep portions small. Dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants, and studies report it helps insulin work better in your body, while controlling feelings of hunger. That makes it an ideal sweet treat to cap off a healthy meal.

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Go ahead and say yes to popcorn -- but hold the salt and butter. Air-popped popcorn is a great source of fiber and satisfies your hunger quickly so you’re less likely to overeat.

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Whole Milk

Drink full fat milk to slim down? Seems strange, but experts think that may be the case. Studies show a glass of whole milk every so often doesn’t increase weight gain and may even help you lose. Though they aren’t yet sure how it works, it could be because the high milk content fills you up quickly and keeps you from overdoing it elsewhere.

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Sources | Medically Reviewed on 01/26/2021 Reviewed by Neha Pathak, MD on January 26, 2021


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Illinois Extension: “Let's Hear it for Potatoes!”

BMJ: “Changes in nut consumption influence long-term weight change in US men and women,” “Effect of pasta in the context of low-glycaemic index dietary patterns on body weight and markers of adiposity: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials in adults.”

Current Developments in Nutrition: “Association of Pasta Consumption with Diet Quality and Nutrients of Public Health Concern in Adults: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2009–2012.”

Nutrients: “Role of Calcium and Low-Fat Dairy Foods in Weight-Loss Outcomes Revisited: Results from the Randomized Trial of Effects on Bone and Body Composition in Overweight/Obese Postmenopausal Women.”

Mayo Clinic: “Does caffeine help with weight loss?”

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: “Relation between changes in intakes of dietary fiber and grain products and changes in weight and development of obesity among middle-aged women.”

ARYA Atherosclerosis: “The association between dietary intake of white rice and central obesity in obese adults.”

Nutrition and Diabetes: “Eating dark and milk chocolate: a randomized crossover study of effects on appetite and energy intake.”

Journal of Community Hospital Internal Medicine Perspective: “Use of dark chocolate for diabetic patients: a review of the literature and current evidence.”

Nutrition Journal: “Popcorn is more satiating than potato chips in normal-weight adults.”

Journal of the American Dietetic Association: “Popcorn consumption and dietary and physiological parameters of US children and adults: analysis of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1999-2002 dietary survey data.”

European Journal of Nutrition: “The relationship between high-fat dairy consumption and obesity, cardiovascular, and metabolic disease.”

BMC Nutrition: “The effects of whole milk compared to skim milk and apple juice consumption in breakfast on appetite and energy intake in obese children: a three-way randomized crossover clinical trial.”

Reviewed by Neha Pathak, MD on January 26, 2021

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.