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What Foods Are Good For Weight Loss?

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, 7 min read

What Foods Are Good For Weight Loss?

The question on a lot of people's lips when losing weight is “what’s the best diet for weight loss”. The simple answer is it totally depends on the person. This might not be the short, stylish answer you were looking for, but we’re here to help you!

When it comes to losing weight, it's all about finding balance in life – good food, plenty of rest, staying hydrated, and keeping active. Before we dive into weight loss foods, remember this: no matter what you eat, if you're taking in more than you're burning, you might see some extra pounds. So, focus on tasty, filling foods that won't leave you hungry later, and keep moving to stay healthy. And hey, don't forget to enjoy it – staying healthy should be fun, not stressful!

Together, let’s explore the elements of a healthy balanced diet to prioritise that will support your weight loss journey and leave you feeling satisfied and content.

Focus on Fibre

Fibre slows the speed of digestion, helping you feel full quicker and keeping you satiated. It also regulates your blood glucose, preventing blood sugar crashes leading to crankiness or binges. Fibre has other benefits including lowering your blood pressure, supporting heart health and lowering LDL cholesterol. Overall, a high fibre diet will help to keep you healthy whilst supporting your weight loss journey. 

Current recommendations suggest that adults should consume 30g of fibre each day. You might be worried that eating this much fibre might cause issues such as bloating and flatulence, so increase your intake gradually if your diet is currently quite low in fibre. 

Here are some simple swaps you can make to increase your fibre intake through whole grain products:

  • Swap white rice, pasta and bread for brown versions (these are less processed so contain more fibre, vitamins and minerals to make you fuller for longer)
  • Swap your sugary cereal for whole grain products like bran flakes, weetabix or oats and top with fruit to hit the sweet spot. 
  • Mix up your boring, unappealing green salad by throwing in some nuts, quinoa or whole grain crackers and hummus! 

Some other suggestions for high fibre foods to include in your diet:

  • Fruits: apples, pears, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, kiwis, blueberries. 
  • Vegetables: avocado, cabbage, broccoli, potatoes, peas.
  • Legumes: black beans, chickpeas, lentils, edamame beans.
  • Nuts: almonds.
  • Grains: bulgur wheat, whole grain bread, quinoa, oats.

Studies have shown that individuals who gain fibre from fruits and vegetables, opposed to higher calorie foods such as beans, grains, and nuts, lose more weight overall. Being mindful of calories and portion sizes will help to eat appropriate portion sizes to manage your weight loss journey. 

Prioritise Protein

Protein has been documented for its support in weight loss due to its impact on metabolism and promotes fullness, as well as supporting the growth, repair and preservation of lean muscle mass. Research suggests that protein works by releasing hormones which increase satiety, and takes more energy to break down than carbohydrates and fats, leading to increased energy expenditure. 

Current recommendations suggest we should be eating between 0.8-1.2g/kg, and studies suggest that increasing your protein intake to 1.2-1.8g/kg a day will lead to further weight loss benefits. You can increase your protein intake by focusing on:

  • Lean meats: chicken breast, turkey, fish (e.g. cod, tuna). 
  • Vegetarian sources: tofu, beans, lentils, tempeh, eggs, whole grain products e.g. quinoa, brown rice. 
  • Dairy products: greek yogurt, cottage cheese, low fat milk. 

Whilst protein is important, simply eating more protein won’t cause weight loss (in fact, it may have the opposite effect if you’re not exercising too). Protein supports muscle repair following exercise, so engaging in regular physical activity is vital for protein to support weight loss effectively and building lean muscle to increase your metabolic rate. 

Uplift Unsaturated Fats

Fats are often given a bad name in the weight loss sphere, but they’re actually a very important part of our diet and provide ample benefits. Fats are essential for nervous system function, heart health, and aiding the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins crucial for growth and reproductive health. 

The WHO recommends that adults should consume 30% of their calorie intake from fats. However, it’s not as simple as just thinking about fat as a whole. There are 3 different types of fats: unsaturated, saturated, and trans fats. For our general health, it is recommended that we focus on unsaturated fats, reduce saturated fats and limit trans fats. 

Unsaturated fats, divided into monounsaturated and polyunsaturated types, improve cholesterol levels and heart health. Monounsaturated fats raise HDL, lower LDL, and combat stomach fat, while polyunsaturated fats, including omega-3 and omega-6, benefit brain, heart, skin, and eye health. 

So, with all that in mind, which foods should we be increasing, limiting, and avoiding?

  • Increase monounsaturated fats: olive oil, almonds, cashews, peanuts, peanut butter, sesame seeds and avocado. 
  • Increase polyunsaturated fats: salmon, herring, mackerel, walnuts, flaxseed and oils such as rapeseed, corn, sunflower. 
  • Reduce saturated fats: full fat milk, butter, cheese and fatty meat.
  • Limit trans fats: often referred to on labels as partially-hydrogenated vegetable oils, these are found in many fast, processed and packaged foods.

Foods that are high in fat do tend to be more energy dense, so monitoring portion sizes is important. Equally, enjoyment from food is a key element in order to prioritise satiety, therefore if you fancy something that includes saturated or trans fats, don’t strike it off the menu. Satisfy your cravings by reducing your portion size but still allowing yourself to consume foods you enjoy. 

The biggest mistake people make on their weight loss journey is cutting out all the foods they enjoy, however this leads to intense cravings and overconsumption of other foods. Remember, calorie excess causes weight gain - it doesn’t matter how “healthy” a food may be determined to be if you eat it in excess. Enjoy your favourite foods in moderation and stick to your overall diet goals by engaging in a varied, enjoyable diet. 

Scale Down on Sugar 

There is no denying the link between sugar and obesity, however like all elements of our diet, not all sugar is bad. Sugars which can cause an issue are free sugars which are either added to products or are released from the cells of fruits when they’re cooked or processed. This makes it much easier for our body to digest, meaning too much sugar is consumed, leading to a higher intake of calories and weight gain. 

Tips for reducing your sugar intake:

  • Replace sugary, fizzy drinks with sugar-free or no-no-added-sugar drinks. Why not try adding sugar free squash to sparkling water to keep that sweet, tingling feeling!
  • Limit fruit juice which contains high levels of free sugar and can be consumed much easier than whole fruits which require more energy to be broken down. 
  • Gradually cut sugar in hot drinks. Consider sweeteners for fewer calories, but limit them due to some concerns over an unclear safety profile and potential stomach upset.
  • Check your nutrition labels and opt for products with a lower sugar content. 
  • Add fruit as toppings to your cereal or yogurt to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Should I Supplement?

Supplements are often spoken about for weight loss, however for all of the components we have spoken about above which support weight loss, you can gain them from your natural diet with effort and attention. 

In some situations, supplements may be required. Let’s have a think below:

  • Protein powders: these can be useful for post-workout recovery to quickly and conveniently get protein to your muscles within 2-3 hours, the key time for muscle repair
  • Omega-6 Fatty Acids: these are commonly found in fish products and are difficult for vegans and vegetarians to acquire from their diet. These have important skin and eye health benefits, therefore are recommended. 
  • Fibre: a lot of products are fortified with fibre such as bread and cereals, so there is no need to take a fibre supplement. 

Whilst the foods above can support weight loss through increasing fullness and satiety, it's also important to pay attention to portion sizes and to balance your calorie intake with regular physical activity for successful weight loss. A holistic approach to weight loss is vital to ensure you not only lose weight, but engage in a healthy balanced lifestyle overall and maintain the weight that you have lost long term. 

If you are struggling to lose weight on your own, our Weight Management Programme is here to support you on your weight loss journey. Our Support Programme will guide you through important topics such as nutrition, supplements and exercise, helping you to make the most out of your journey. Sign up to our Weight Management Programme today to begin your journey to a healthier, happier you. 

The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Seek the advice of a doctor with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never delay seeking or disregard professional medical advice because of something you have read here.

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