The foods you eat daily can make or break your weight-loss success. While certain foods enhance weight and fat loss, others can offset all your training at the gym. Avoid sugary foods and drinks and refined grains, for example. And, although diet is a crucial component of weight and fat loss, exercise helps shed pounds. A 2009 review published in “Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise” reported that working out more than four hours per week is associated with significant weight loss, and resistance training helps melt away fat.
Daily Calorie Needs
Your overall calorie intake determines your success at peeling away pounds. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends reducing your current intake by 500 to 1,000 calories daily to shed 1 to 2 pounds weekly. This rate of weight loss also helps you burn fat and keep lost weight off long term.
Getting plenty of protein increases satiety, which helps you reduce calories for weight and fat loss. A study published in a 2012 issue of “Physiology and Behavior” reported that high-protein, energy-restricted diets promoted weight and fat loss in study subjects over a period of three months. Therefore, boost your intake of protein-rich lean meats, seafood, skinless poultry, seitan, egg whites and soy products.
Low-Fat Dairy Foods
Dairy foods are also protein-rich, and may provide unique benefits for weight and fat loss. A study published in 2011 in the “Journal of Nutrition” found women lost more body fat during an energy-restricted weight-loss program when they consumed diets rich in dairy foods. Researchers who conducted this study reported that the protein and calcium in dairy products produced a reduction in visceral body fat in female study subjects. If you eat dairy, get a daily dose of foods such as cottage cheese, milk, yogurt or reduced-fat cheese. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 suggests obtaining 2 to 3 cups of dairy foods daily, depending on your calorie intake.
Fiber-rich diets can also help you successfully shed pounds and ditch love handles. A review published in 2005 in the journal “Nutrition” reported that higher fiber intakes are associated with lower body weights, body mass indexes and body fat. Choose a variety of fiber-rich options, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds.
- Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise: American College of Sports Medicine Position Stand. Appropriate Physical Activity Intervention Strategies for Weight Loss and Prevention of Weight Regain for Adults
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Losing Weight
- Physiology and Behavior: Relatively High-Protein or 'Low-Carb' Energy-Restricted Diets for Body Weight Loss and Body Weight Maintenance?
- Journal of Nutrition: Increased Consumption of Dairy Foods and Protein during Diet- and Exercise-Induced Weight Loss Promotes Fat Mass Loss and Lean Mass Gain in Overweight and Obese Premenopausal Women
- U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010
- Nutrition: Dietary Fiber and Body Weight
Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in dietetics and has extensive experience working as a health writer and health educator. Her articles are published on various health, nutrition and fitness websites.