If you’re trying to lose weight, you may be tempted to cut calories, but eating too little can put your health at risk.
In fact, research shows a diet of less than 1,000 calories a day generally fails to provide the balanced nutrition your body needs, and it can lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies associated with serious health issues.
The Role Food Plays in Weight Loss Weight control is primarily a hormonal response to certain foods, says Matthew Olesiak, M.D., chief medical director of health technology company SANESolution based in Bellevue, Washington.
“Hormones send signals to the brain that influence our cravings, hunger and body weight,” he says. Here’s how certain foods affect your hunger hormones:
Protein fills you up quickly and keeps you full for a long time. It also decreases post-meal secretions of the hunger hormone ghrelin, thus reducing feelings of hunger, says Dr. Olesiak.
1. Lean Protein Lean protein sources like chicken, turkey and grass-fed lean beef help keep you full, decrease cravings and stabilize blood sugar, says Feit.
Plant-based proteins like legumes, beans and lentils have the same benefits, and they’re high in fiber as well, so they promote satiety.
2. Eggs Eggs contain almost every essential vitamin (with the exception of Vitamin C), plus minerals like phosphorus, calcium and potassium.
Along with being a source of complete protein, eggs are also adaptable for different tastes, says Feit.
3. Vegetables Vegetables of all kinds can assist with weight loss, says Feit. For example, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and cabbage are high in fiber and vitamins and help reduce digestive issues.
Meanwhile, dark green leafy vegetables contain protein and are a good source of vitamins, minerals and fiber. And crunchy vegetables like celery and jicama are great low-calorie options for snacking.
4. Apples Apples are high in fiber and antioxidants, says Feit. The fruit also has anti-inflammatory properties and contains phytochemicals and vitamin C.
5. Avocados Avocados are totally underrated, says Feit. The fruit is high in fiber and is a quality source of healthy fat, making it a great food for decreasing hunger.
But since it is a fat source, avocado is calorically dense, so it’s important to remain mindful of portion size.
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