All calories do not behave in the same way.
The body processes some foods differently to others.
Different foods have different effects on your metabolic system. They can affect hunger, the number of calories your body burns, and hormone balance.
Here is an overview of 20 weight loss friendly foods.
1. Leafy Green Vegetables
Leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale, collards, swiss chard and much more, have many properties that make them weight loss friendly foods.
These are low-calorie foods with low carbs and high fiber contents.
Another benefit of leafy greens is their high nutrient contents. They are packed with all sorts of nutrients, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. They also contain calcium, which some studies show can help with the burning of fat in the body (b).
2. Whole Eggs
Whole eggs were once vilified for its high cholesterol content. However, the humble egg is back in favor.
And for those wanting to lose weight, eggs are one of the best foods to consume.
Eggs are protein-packed foods that make you feel full with little calories.
There was a study that found that overweight women who ate eggs instead of bread or bagels for breakfast, felt fuller throughout the day and ate fewer calories over the next 36 hours (e).
In another study, spanning two months found that subjects lost more weight on a low-calorie diet that included eggs instead of bagels (f).
Eggs also contain plenty of nutrients and contribute a large chunk of the nutrients the body needs on a limited-calorie diet. A large chunk of the nutrients is in the yolk of the egg.
One of the healthiest sources of protein is oily fish, such as salmon.
Just a little bit of salmon can keep you full for a long time with fewer calories.
Salmon is incredibly healthy. It contains healthy fats, many essential micronutrients, and high levels of good quality protein.
Most seafood, including fish, are high in iodine.
Iodine provides important benefits for the thyroid, an essential function of the metabolic system (g).
Research shows that most of the world’s population are iodine deficient (h).
Salmon, like most oily fish, is an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids. This compound is known to have anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation plays a critical role in metabolic illnesses and obesity (i, j).
Other weight loss friendly oily fish are sardines, mackerel, herring, and trout.
4. Chicken Breast and Lean Beef
Some people say meat is an unhealthy food. However, this is far from the truth.
Meat is often vilified and linked to all kinds of health issues. However, there is no scientific evidence to back these claims.
Meat is a high-protein food, which makes it a weight loss friendly food.
Research also shows that you can reduce your food cravings by 60%, cut your late-night cravings in half, and lose about 1 pound of weight per week… by simply increasing the protein content of your diet by 25% to 30% (r, s).
You should only consume fatty meats when you are on a low-carb diet. If your meals include moderate or high amounts of carbs, then stick to lean meats.
5. Cruciferous Vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables are so named because their four petals resemble the shape of a cross.
These vegetables include cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts and bok choy.
They contain high amounts of fiber, which makes them incredibly filling.
Although not high in protein, they still contain a decent amount of protein compared to other vegetables.
What makes cruciferous vegetables weight loss friendly, is their high-fiber and protein content, and low energy density. Include them in your meals to help you lose weight.
Cruciferous vegetables are also high in many nutrients and contain substances that help fight cancer (t).
6. Potatoes (Boiled)
White potatoes have been getting a bad reputation in recent years.
The problem isn’t the potato itself, but how you cook them.
Boiled potatoes are very healthy and have properties that make it an ideal food for weight loss.
They are packed with several nutrients… containing a little bit of almost every nutrient the body needs.
There is even a story of people who claim to live on only potatoes for long periods of time without it affecting their health.
Potatoes have high levels of potassium, which is a nutrient that most people are deficient in. Potassium helps in controlling blood pressure.
Boiled potatoes make you feel fuller than most other foods, automatically making you eat fewer calories throughout the day.
You should cool your boiled potatoes before eating. A fiber-like substance known as resistance starch forms when you allow the boiled potatoes to cool. This substance has several health benefits and also help with weight loss (v).
Excellent alternatives for boiled white potatoes include sweet potatoes and turnips.
Tuna has properties that make it a weight loss friendly food. It is high in protein and low in calories.
Tuna is a lean fish with very little fat.
Tuna is a favorite source of protein for bodybuilders and fitness models. It meets their protein needs without the high calories and fats.
If you can’t get hold of fresh tuna, you should buy tuna canned in water. This maximizes your protein intake without the oil.
Soup is a low-energy density food. And these types of foods tend to lower the number of calories you consume.
Most low energy density foods contain plenty of water. This is why most vegetables and fruits are regarded as low energy density foods.
This makes you eat fewer calories and, therefore, help with weight loss.
9. Beans and other legumes
Some beans and others in the legume family, like lentils, kidney beans, and black beans, are weight loss friendly.
What makes them a weight-loss-friendly food is their high protein and fiber contents. Fiber and protein are two nutrients that promote satiety.
Beans and other legumes also tend to have some resistant starch.
However, there is an issue of legume intolerance for some people. It is, therefore, important to prepare legumes and beans properly.
10. Cottage Cheese
Cheese is a dairy food, and they are usually high in protein.
Cottage cheese is one of the weight loss friendly foods around. This is because of its exceptionally high protein content. It is almost entirely protein with very little carbs and fats.
Cottage cheese helps you feel very full, with fewer calories.
Most dairy foods also contain high amounts of calcium… which helps the body burn fat (y).
11. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a very popular ingredient in the healthy and natural eating world.
It is mostly used in salad dressings, but there are a few people who dilute it in water for drinking.
Apple cider vinegar has several benefits, including for weight loss.
There was another study, of obese people, that showed that you could lose about 2.6 to 3.7 pounds in 3 months when you consume 15 to 30 milliliters of apple cider vinegar each day (b1).
Avocados are a fatty fruit unlike most other fruits, which are high in carbs.
The fats in avocado are healthy and very beneficial
Avocados contain high amounts of monounsaturated oleic acid, which is the same type of fats in olive oil.
With all the fats in avocado, you’ll think that it is a high-energy density food, but it is not. It contains a lot of water, which makes it a low-energy density food.
You should add avocados to salads. This is because researchers suggest that the oils in it can increase the number of nutrients the body absorbs from the salad by up to 15 times (e1).
Avocados are also high in several essential nutrients like potassium and fiber.
All the above qualities make avocado a weight loss friendly food.
Nuts are a unique kind of food.
They are high in fats and high in calories. However, they are not fattening by character.
Nuts should not be consumed as a main meal but as a snack. They are packed with calories, and just a handful can make you feel full, which makes you eat fewer calories throughout the rest of the day.
Nuts are high in protein, healthy fats and fiber.
Studies carried out on some populations show that those who consume nuts on a regular basis, tend to be healthier and leaner than those who do not (h1).
You should be careful and not binge on too many nuts because they are very high in calories. They are incredibly delicious, so if you can’t control your intake, then it is best to steer clear of them.
14. Chili Pepper
Chili peppers have properties that make them a weight loss friendly food.
Capsaicin is also added to many weight loss supplements and also sold separately as a supplement.
In one study, people who were not regular consumers of pepper experienced a reduction in their appetite and a boost in fat burning when they ate 1 gram of chili pepper per day (l1).
15. A few whole grains
Grains are vilified for their high carbs contents, but there are a few grains that are very healthy.
There are a few whole grains that are high in fiber and contain decent amounts of protein.
Some healthy, weight loss friendly grains include quinoa, oats and brown rice.
Oats contain high levels of beta-glucans and soluble fibers. These help you feel full for long periods of time, therefore, limiting your calorie intake for the rest of the day. They also provide benefits for the body’s metabolic health (m1, n1).
Both boiled brown and white rice contain good amounts of resistance starch when allowed to cool after cooking (o1).
You should, however, steer clear of refined grains. They are bad for your general health and your weight loss goals. There are even some foods that are labeled as “whole grains,” but are highly processed and can make you gain weight.
Grains should not be part of your low-carb meal plan because of their high carbohydrate content. However, if you are not on a low-carb diet, you can safely eat grains such as rice and oats.
It is generally accepted in the healthy eating world that fruits are good for you.
But because these studies do not specifically focus on the effects of fruits on health, we can’t jump to the conclusion that fruits were responsible for their good health.
Fruits are low energy dense foods that are high in fiber. This makes it an ideal food for weight loss because they make you feel full, with fewer calories.
However, fruits are not for everyone. If your diet is a very low-carb, ketogenic diet, you should avoid fruits because of their high sugar contents. You should also avoid them if you have fructose intolerance.
Otherwise, fruits are an effective food in your weight loss journey.
17. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are highly nutritious foods.
Although high in carbohydrates (1 ounce of chia seeds contains about 12 grams of carbs), most of the carbs in chia seeds are in fiber form, which is not absorbed by the body.
Chia seeds can absorb a lot of water and expand into a gel-like substance in the intestine (s1).
This can make you feel full and reduce your appetite.
But chia seeds are widely included in a weight loss diet because of its nutritional makeup.
I have talked about fruits in general, but grapefruit deserves a special mention because there have been specific studies on its effects on weight loss.
There was a study involving 91 obese subjects. The study found that those who consumed fresh grapefruit before eating lost about 3.5 pounds of weight in 3 months (v1).
The group that was on grapefruit also saw improvements in their insulin resistance and metabolic health.
Eat half a grapefruit about 30 minutes before meals, and you’ll consume fewer calories during the meal.
19. Coconut Oil
Fats have a notoriously bad reputation when it comes to weight loss.
But there are a few oils that are weight loss friend. These include olive oil, hemp seed oil, and coconut oil.
Coconut oil contains high levels of the fatty acids, MCTs (Medium Chain Triglycerides).
However, this is not to say that you should just gouge on loads of coconut oil. It is still a high-calorie food. You should use it to prepare your meal or add small amounts to your meal to get the maximum benefits.
An excellent alternative to coconut oil is extra virgin olive oil. It is one of the healthiest edible oils in the world.
20. Full-fat Yogurt
A healthy gut may help protect the body fight inflammation and leptin resistance, which will have a positive effect on obesity.
In one study, researchers found that full-fat yogurt has a positive effect on type 2 diabetes and obesity (a2).
You should, therefore, consume full-fat instead of low-fat yogurt. If you want to go low-fat, you should go with the zero-fat Greek yogurt. Avoid sweetened yogurts because they contain loads of sugar.
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