Explanatory note: This is an article I originally wrote for Caring.com, which then got picked up by MSN Health. (Both versions are linked here for proper credit, since I was paid for my work.) Don’t get me wrong, this kind of exposure is great, and much appreciated. What isn’t so great is that bloggers across the globe (seriously) have picked up my story verbatim and posted it on their sites, often with minimal attribution. (Example here for shaming purposes.) So I figured, if other bloggers were getting tons of hits with my story, why shouldn’t I share in my own wealth? So here it is.

7 Foods That Help You Lose Weight // Oats (© Crystal Cartier/StockFood Creative/Getty Images)It’s easy to buy into the idea that food is your enemy when you’re trying to lose those winter pounds. In fact, it’s just the opposite: Befriend the right foods, and the pounds are much more likely to peel off than if you just try to cut calories across the board. Here, seven foods known to nutritionists to boost your body’s fat-burning potential.

1. Oats
Don’t get sucked into the idea that food is your enemy when you’re trying to lose weight. In fact, it’s just the opposite: Befriend the right foods, and the pounds are much more likely to peel off than if you just try to cut calories across the board. Here, seven foods known to nutritionists to boost your body’s fat-burning potential.

Wait a minute; aren’t oats a carb? Yes and no. Oats are a whole grain, and they’re high on what nutritionists call the “satiety index,” meaning oats have tremendous power to make you feel full. Not only that, they’re also high in soluble fiber, so they cut cholesterol and blood fat. Oats digest slowly, so they don’t raise your blood sugar, and they keep you feeling filled up well into the late morning. Old-fashioned steel-cut and rolled oats, with up to 5 grams of fiber per serving, are best, but even instant oatmeal has 3 to 4 grams of fiber per serving.

2. Eggs
7 Foods That Help You Lose Weight // Bowl of apples (©  Laura Ciapponi /Getty Images)

Nutritionists have been trying for some years to restore the reputation of the lowly egg. No longer thought to be a cholesterol-booster (eggs contain a different type of cholesterol than that in humans), eggs are a concentrated form of animal protein without the added fat that comes with meat. Dietary studies have repeatedly found that when people eat an egg every morning in addition to (or instead of) toast or cereal, they lose twice as much weight as those who eat a breakfast that’s dominated by carbs.  

3. Apples

To keep the pounds at bay, eat an apple—or two—a day. Numerous studies have found that eating an apple a half hour to an hour before a meal has the result of cutting the calories of the meal. Why? The fiber in the apple makes you feel full, so you eat less. Recent research suggests eating apples has other benefits, too; the antioxidants in apples appear to prevent metabolic syndrome, the combination of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and prediabetes that tends to accompany thickening around the waist. Also, apples are high in pectin, which binds with water and limits the amount of fat your cells can absorb.

4. Skim Milk
7 Foods That Help You Lose Weight // Steak dinner (© Mary Ellen Bartley/FoodPix/Getty Images)Studies in reputable publications such as the Journal of Obesity (in addition to the controversial ones funded by the National Dairy Council) show that the combination of calcium, vitamin D, and low-fat protein in skim milk and nonfat yogurt trigger weight loss and help build and maintain lean muscle.

5. Red Meat
Not exactly what you think of as a diet food, right? But research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition compared diet results for women who ate red meat and those who didn’t, and the meat-eaters lost more weight. Experts think the dense protein in lean red meat helps you maintain muscle mass—but, of course, this assumes you’re exercising to build that muscle.

7 Foods That Help You Lose Weight // Cinnamon sticks (© Corbis/Jupiterimages)6.  Cinnamon
This simple spice appears to have the power to help your body metabolize sugar, according to surprising data that came out of a USDA study involving diabetics. Eating as little as 1/4 to 2 teaspoons of cinnamon a day was found to reduce blood sugar levels and cut cholesterol from 10 percent to 25 percent. So add cinnamon to smoothies, sprinkle it on your cereal, or flavor your coffee with it—particularly if you take your coffee with cream and sugar. The cinnamon will boost the health benefits of the coffee while helping your body rid itself of the added sugars.

7 Foods That Help You Lose Weight // Bowl of almonds (© sodapix/F1Online RF/Photolibrary)7. Almonds and Almond Butter. 
Another counterintuitive choice; aren’t nuts and nut butters supposed to be incredibly fattening? Well, almonds are calorie-dense, but they also pack a huge nutritional punch—and they’re particularly effective in counteracting cholesterol and triglycerides. One study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating almonds was as effective as taking a statin. Spreading almond butter on your morning toast gives you a nice protein boost while preventing the carbs in the toast from spiking your blood sugar.
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