12 Foods That Drive the Most Weight Loss of All, Say Experts
If you've ever wondered what the best ever foods are that you should be eating to lose weight, good news: So have we! That's why we reached out to scores of top doctors, registered dietitians, weight loss coaches— and other relevant experts—with a single question in mind: What are the absolute greatest foods you can buy at any supermarket that are the most effective at driving weight loss results? Here are their answers, below. So read on and take good notes, because what follows is your ultimate, expert-backed, weight loss shopping list. And for some handy tips and tricks to help you achieve your weight loss goals, be sure to read this list of Simple Ways to Lose Weight Starting Now, According to Experts.
"Avocados are a vitamin-rich food, high in fiber, low in carbohydrates (9 grams per serving) and contain a healthy monounsaturated fat (MUFA) oleic acid that our body needs to decrease inflammation and disease," says Monisha Bhanote, MD, FCAP, a triple board-certified physician with expertise in integrative medicine and pathology. "Using the benefits of the MUFA in an avocado can increase our insulin sensitivity and lower our cholesterol."
Additionally, she says, the fat content can help with appetite regulation and aid in weight loss by increasing the rate at which fat is burned. "You can get all the benefits from just one portion size which is usually a quarter of an avocado," she says. If you're ready to supplement your diet with avocados, don't miss this roundup of 18 Things You Had No Idea You Could Do with an Avocado.
"Cherries are often overlooked, but they're a superfood that can help boost weight loss," says Lynell Ross, a psychology-trained Certified Health and Wellness Coach and Nutritionist who is also a National Diabetes Prevention Program Instructor. "They are packed with nutrients such as potassium, copper, manganese, and vitamin C. But the health benefits go beyond vitamins and minerals, as cherries also pack 2 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber. Tart cherries also may help you sleep better. Studies have shown that better sleep promotes more weight loss. And if these benefits weren't enough, cherries can help with joint pain, allowing you to get more exercise, which helps you lose weight."
Though classified as a whole grain, quinoa is actually a seed that provides eight grams of protein and five grams of fiber per cup. "Eating foods high in fiber, like whole grain quinoa, will fill you up and help prevent overeating," says Amanda W. Izquierdo, MPH, RD, LDN. For more great tips to help you along your journey, don't miss this list of Underrated Weight Loss Tricks That Totally Work!
"Many don't eat protein first thing in the morning," says Sunny Brigham, MBA, MS, CNS. "Then they'll have a little at lunch and a huge influx at dinner. Several studies show we can only digest and absorb about 20-25 grams of protein at a time. So, if someone is really only eating protein at dinner, they aren't getting enough in throughout the day."
Fact: Healthy protein intake supports muscle structure, liver and kidney function, and your metabolism. "Working to get in anywhere from 10-20 grams of protein at breakfast will boost the metabolism and satiate hunger until lunch," says Bingham. "Good options would be free-range organic eggs, oatmeal, nuts, nut butter, and a quality protein powder."
Just about all of the weight loss experts we spoke to for this article preached the benefits of eating more eggs. "Studies show that people who eat eggs for breakfast lose more weight than those who eat foods high in carbohydrates in the morning," adds Ross. "Eggs contain valuable nutrients and protein, which helps you feel satisfied so you eat less throughout the day." For more on the benefits of scrambling your breakfast, know that This Is What Happens to Your Body When You Eat Eggs Every Day.
"For starters, all seafood is good to eat if weight loss is your goal," says Rima Kleiner, MS, RD. "Recent studies have shown that eating seafood several times every week can help promote weight loss. Because fish and shellfish tend to be rich in protein with relatively fewer calories than other animal proteins, seafood can help you feel satisfied, which may help to curb overeating."
Additionally, seafood is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to help reduce inflammation and boost heart and brain health. "When it comes to weight loss and health, more important than what kind of seafood to eat is choosing seafood that has been healthfully prepared and cooked. So say no to fried, and ditch the dishes with calorie-dense sauces."
Experts all single out salmon as a wonderful weight-loss food. "Even if you think it's too fishy, there are some tricks you can try [to make it more palatable]," advises Kleiner. "Soaking fish in milk for about 20 minutes prior to cooking can help lessen the fishiness. Also, try squeezing lemon juice over the fish to mask some of the fishy smell or taste. Or, serve topped with a nutritious and delicious sauce, like a tzatziki sauce, teriyaki sauce, or mango salsa."
"I'm a huge advocate of eating chia seeds for weight loss," says Natalie Knezic, Health & Wellness Coach with expertise in weight loss, weight management, and digestive health. "Chia seeds are staples in my kitchen and high on my favorite foods list, as they are among the healthiest, most nutrient-dense foods on the planet."
Despite their tiny size, chia seeds are full of essential nutrients and very filling, and are therefore excellent for losing weight. "They are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, soluble fibers, and proteins," says Knezic. "Just one serving (two tablespoons) of chia seeds contains almost 10 grams of fiber—close to 40 percent of your recommended daily intake. The fiber makes us feel full, which prevents overeating. Also, chia seeds mixed with water expand in our stomach and keep you super satisfied for hours."
"They help quell hunger, and emerging research shows that eating pistachios will help you lose weight," says Katherine Brooking MS, RD. "Results from several recent studies suggest that adults who consume nuts, such as pistachios, may have a lower body weight and decreased prevalence of health risks such as heart disease and metabolic syndrome. They also tend to have better diets compared to people who don't regularly eat pistachios. Pistachios are also a complete protein—ideal for vegans and vegetarians."
In fact, a new study published in the journal Nutrients reveals how pistachios may indeed be your new weight-loss secret weapon. The study, conducted by researchers at the University of California, San Diego, followed 94 adults of varying body size—from slim and healthy to obese—as they embarked on the same weight-loss program. The only difference? Half of the participants added 1.5 ounces of pistachios to their diet, while the other half didn't. Though participants across the board lost weight, the ones who ate pistachios had much rosier biometrics at the end of the trial. They ultimately experienced lower blood pressure, consumed more fiber, and consumed "less sweets" than those who didn't supplement their diets with pistachios.
"Leafy greens are an excellent addition to your weight loss diet," says Lisa Young, Ph.D., RD, a professor of nutrition at NYU. "Not only are they low in calories but also high in fiber that helps keep you feeling full." To know the all-time greatest greens to add to your diet, don't miss this list of The Healthiest Leafy Greens on the Planet—Ranked by Nutrition.
"Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage are high in fiber, low in calories, and very filling," says Young. In fact, according to a recent study, one particular cruciferous vegetable was singled out as The #1 Greatest Weight Loss Food for Women.
"Beans are one of the best-kept secrets for weight loss," says Lynell Ross. "A one-half cup serving of kidney beans contains about 7 grams of fiber."
According to Ross, all beans and legumes are high in fiber, which will help your digestive tract to work effectively and result in weight loss. "Women should aim for about 21-25 grams of fiber per day, while men need between 30-39 grams," she says.
"Apples are one of the healthiest foods you can eat to help with weight loss," says Ross. "Not only does one medium-sized apple have about 5 grams of fiber—which aids in weight loss—but also the sweet and crunchy taste can substitute for dessert while helping you feel full."
"Studies have shown that people who eat dairy foods lose more weight than those who don't include dairy foods in their diet," says Ross. "Yogurt is high in calcium and vitamin D, which helps strengthen your bones, and it's high in protein, which balances your blood sugar and helps to cut sugar cravings. Just be sure to select a plain yogurt that's low in sugar and add your own fruit." If you're in the market for more weight loss tips, be sure to see the 200 Greatest Ever Weight Loss Tips on the Planet!
Read more about these perfect weight loss foods:
71+ Best Healthy Egg Recipes for Weight Loss