According to nutrition experts, weight loss starts at the grocery store. Find out what you should be eating to drop pounds fast.
By Ashley Neglia
Forty billion dollars. That's how much Americans spend on weight-loss programs and diet-related supplements every year, according to the National Eating Disorders Association. Of course, there may be a time and place for certain programs, but weight loss really starts at the grocery store.
We talked with Dee Sandquist, RD, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, who says the following foods can not only help you trim down, but also are rich in essential nutrients.
Put down the bagel! Adults who eat two eggs* for breakfast are 65 percent more likely to lose weight and feel more energetic than those who start the day with a bagel containing the same amount of calories, according to a study published in International Journal of Obesity.
Chock full of protein, eggs contain as many cancer-fighting antioxidants as an apple and are the richest food source of choline--a B-vitamin that promotes healthy brain function.
*Worried about cholesterol? Eating up to one egg a day has not been shown to increase heart disease risk in healthy individuals, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. However, if heart disease and high cholesterol is a concern for you, check with your doctor before adding eggs to your diet.
A longtime unsung hero of the produce aisle, kale's not only full of satiating fiber, one cup of chopped kale contains only 33 calories. Plus, it's rich in vitamin A, which may help prevent night blindness, bone-strengthening vitamin K, and the body's immunity superstar, vitamin C.
High in protein and brimming with soluble fiber and essential nutrients, such as Folate, which may lower Alzheimer's risk, lentils are nutritional powerhouses. Plus, adding lentils and other legumes to your diet may help prevent weight gain, according to a study published by the Smart Foods Centre, School of Health Science.
Capsaicin--the ingredient that gives peppers their fiery kick--may help speed up metabolism and shrink fat cells, according to several studies.
The hotter the pepper, the more fat-fighting capsaicin it contains, but you don't have to reach for the Ghost chili (the world's hottest pepper) to feel the proverbial burn. Jalapeños, poblanos and even banana peppers fall on the Scoville scale, which measures the spicy heat of chili peppers. Or you could add a little heat to most meals with a dash of Tabasco sauce.
You really can't go wrong with low-fat or fat-free yogurt, but if weight loss is your game, consider going Greek.
Compared to regular yogurt, Greek-style yogurt contains fewer grams of sugar and almost double the amount of protein--a 6-ounce serving has as much protein as 2 ounces of lean meat--which may help promote weight loss by keeping you fuller longer. Plus, it contains bone-building calcium and probiotics, which may boost immunity and reduce gastrointestinal distress.
The grapefruit is back! Eating half of a grapefruit before meals may significantly help with weight loss and improve insulin resistance, according to a study published by the Department of Nutrition and Metabolic Research.
Don't laugh, but the seeds that brought us the Chia Pet may also help with weight loss. Packed with protein and fiber--two tablespoons contains 42 percent of your daily-recommend value--Chia seeds help increase satiety.
While the jury's still out on Chia seeds' fat-burning capabilities, adding two tablespoons to yogurt, oatmeal, or smoothies can help jumpstart the day with a fiber and protein boost (and may even keep you from reaching for that mid-morning snack).