Not all calories are created equal. Different foods go through different metabolic pathways in the body. They can have vastly different effects on hunger, hormones and how many calories we burn. Oily fish like salmon is incredibly healthy.It is also very satisfying, keeping you full for many hours with relatively few calories. Salmon is loaded with high quality protein, healthy fats and also contains all sorts of important nutrients. Fish, and seafood in general, supplies a significant amount of iodine. This nutrient is necessary for proper function of the thyroid, which is important to keep the metabolism running optimally.
WHETHER YOU’RE TRYING to lose a significant amount of weight or the last 10 pounds, dropping fat is incredibly difficult.
Low-calorie diets can be unreasonable (especiallt if you’re hungry all the time), which is why nutritionists urge dieters to eat quality, nutrient-dense foods instead. Their benefits equal or outweigh their caloric impact.
“For one, fiber-packed foods are a great way to fill up and control hunger, mange blood glucose levels, and promote gastrointestinal health,” says Katherine Zeratsky R.D.N., L.D., at the Mayo Clinic. “Fruits and veggies are rich in fiber and mostly water, which makes them heavy (your stomach feels weight) and keeps you fuller longer, while being low in calories,” she adds.
In addition, if many of the foods you eat are metabolized quickly, you’ll find yourself feeling hungry more often, which could mean more snacking and a higher calorie intake. To keep from eating back all the calories you’ve burned, stick to a diet based on these science-backed components.
These include monounsaturated fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids, found in oils, nuts, avocados, certain fish—and yes, even chocolate! Eat 3-4 servings daily.
A study published in the journal Appetite shows how these fats—besides being good for your heart—can help you feel fuller longer after meals. The study participants with a higher intake of omega-3 fatty acids (more than 1,300 milligrams a day, either from foods or from supplements) reported feeling less hungry right after their meals, as well as 2 hours later, compared with a lower omega-3 intake (less than 260 milligrams a day). Less hunger means less munching and an easier time keeping calories in check.
Aim for three servings of lean protein (such as fish, white meat chicken and turkey, pork loin chops, and lean beef sirloin) per day. In addition to being an essential nutrient, protein helps to keep you feeling full longer, which is a big benefit when you’re trying to lose weight. In a small 2009 study, participants who ate a higher-protein breakfast were more satiated afterward (and took in fewer calories at lunch) than those who ate a low-protein breakfast. (Be sure to vary your protein sources and include plant ones, too.
Studies from Stanford Prevention Research Center suggest that water helps promote weight loss in two ways. First, drinking more water—at least 4 cups per day—was linked to a 5-pound weight loss over the course of a year. According to the researchers, this amount of water increases the amount of energy or calories your body burns. Second, substituting water for sugary drinks—sodas, sports drinks, flavored drinks, and sweetened milks, coffees, and teas—resulted in even more weight loss. The exact number of pounds lost depended on how many sugary drinks were consumed in the first place, and how many were replaced with water.
Eat at least 20 grams of fiber per day from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Fiber helps keep you feeling full longer—a big benefit when you’re trying to lose weight. A study from Brigham Young University College of Health and Human Performance demonstrated that women who ate more fiber significantly lowered their risk of gaining weight. Each gram of fiber eaten correlated to 1/2 pound less body weight. The researchers suspect that the higher fiber intake led to a reduction in total calories over time.