If you’ve ever tried to lose a few pounds, then you know there are plenty of foods that don’t exactly promote weight loss. Sugary treats, fat-filled takeout meals, and salty snacks top the list of a dieter’s no-nos. But are there foods that actually help you lose weight?
Depending on which diet book is at the top of the bestseller list this week, you might think so. Fad-diet proponents continually add to the list of “miracle foods” that reportedly can have a profound effect on your weight-loss efforts. Everything from grapefruit to acai berries to bacon has been linked to claims of incredible dieting successes, but like most miracle cures, these claims only tell half the story.
Superfoods for Weight Loss
Single foods – generally fruits or grains – are sometimes hailed as the next great dieting miracle. Just lately we’ve seen acai berries, quinoa, and even bananas listed among the foods you should be eating if you’re on a diet. But while these foods are healthy, there’s no indication they offer miraculous results.
The truth is, many foods provide the same nutrients and beneficial vitamins and minerals. Since many of these so-called “superfoods” are exotic, however, we want to believe they offer something more or better or faster acting than the simple fruits and vegetables we’ve eaten all of our lives. Unfortunately, what they offer is little more than diet-industry smoke and mirrors.
High-Fat and High-Protein Diets
Another popular trend is to eliminate entire food groups to lose weight. Protein-rich, high-fat diets dominate the industry, with many people finding some success with them. The problem is that diets that promote a single food or food group as the “cure” for your dieting blues will always let you down. They’re simply not sustainable. Your body needs and craves a variety of nutrients, including carbohydrates.
Here’s another problem. While consuming nothing but meat, eggs and cheese for weeks on end may result in some weight loss, what happens when you go back to “real” food? You start to gain again. The reason is simple: you have made a temporary change in your eating habits, resulting in a temporary change in your weight. You have not learned how to eat in the real world – a skill you must master if you hope to lose the weight and keep it off long term.
Rather than searching for that miracle food that will help you shed pounds, a better choice is to enjoy a healthy diet consisting of a wide variety of foods. That means making room for carbohydrates, fats, and protein, because you need all three to stay healthy. A sustainable weight-loss plan will even include some of your favorite “treats” so that you don’t end up feeling deprived – a problem many dieters say leads to binge eating and ultimately to giving up on your goals.
So, do some foods help you lose weight? Obviously, eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables helps. Low calories combined with high fiber and nutrient content help you to feel full faster, so you eat less. Choosing lean meat over its fattier counterparts makes a difference as well. But there is no single food (or group of foods) that can be said to scientifically guarantee weight loss. It’s time to get back to the basics.
Here’s the real “secret”: learn how to construct sensible meals for your particular body type, exercise regularly, and build a strong support network, and you will lose weight.
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