No matter what popular ads might claim, processed “diet” foods don’t work in the long run. Too often, natural fats are swapped for excess sugar and calories or artificial ingredients that spur cravings…and now, more Americans are obese than ever.
So if you’re confused about what really is waistline-friendly, you’re not alone. We asked Clean Plates founder Jared Koch to share 5 surprising foods that will help you lose weight.
While some of the following foods may seem heavy, the key is that they’re very nutrient-dense, which makes the body feel satisfied with smaller servings or fewer calories. “A lot of cravings come from us being deficient in a particular nutrient or nutrients that we can’t decipher,” says Koch. He suggests you eat mostly low-calorie, nutrient-dense foods along with some good quality, high-calorie and nutrient-dense foods. Get started by adding the following to your diet now.
1. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is high in saturated fats and calories, but its unique medium-chain fatty acids boost metabolism and provide energy similar to blood glucose, so insulin levels aren’t impacted (meaning you won’t crash and crave sugar). Also, the fat can help you feel satiated quicker. As with all oils, use judiciously.
Sweet as they are, pears are a great example of a low-calorie, nutrient-dense food. Pears have more fiber than apples (be sure to eat the skin if it is organic), plus they contain pectin, which helps block fat absorption.
It might seem dense, but buckwheat is high in phytochemicals and fiber, which will make you feel full faster. Plus it’s free of wheat and gluten, so it causes less of the inflammation that can eventually lead to fat retention. Because of buckwheat’s specific protein profile, it can also reduce and stabilize blood sugar levels. Just be sure to check labels, as many brands of buckwheat noodles contain wheat.
Though you might associate them with heavy Mexican food, beans contain cholecystokinin, a digestive hormone that acts as a natural appetite suppressant. They are also a good vegetarian source of fiber and protein. Buy dry beans in bulk and soak them before cooking for optimal assimilation.
5. Fatty fish
Have no fear of these fats. Fatty fish like salmon and sardines can be your best friends thanks to their omega-3 fatty acids, which can help fight inflammation. They can also reduce triglyceride levels. Opt for wild-caught whenever possible.
That’s our idea of “slim pickings.”