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.
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.
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.
4. Skim Milk
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.