What Food Is Good For Losing Weight 2023: A List Of 13 Items
Achieving successful weight loss requires a personalized approach that involves a combination of specific diet and lifestyle modifications, tailored to one’s unique physiological needs and metabolic profile. Although these modifications may differ from person to person, effective weight loss is achievable with the right food choices. Contrary to popular belief, weight loss is not solely reliant on calorie reduction.
Several dietary strategies have been demonstrated to be effective for weight loss, including reducing carbohydrate intake, increasing fiber consumption, and selecting certain foods while limiting others. When embarking on a weight loss journey, it is crucial to make informed food choices that support weight loss.
Here is a list of 13 recommended food items and additional tips to assist you in your weight loss endeavors.
What Food Is Good For Losing Weight?
Numerous studies suggest that a diet that is abundant in plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and wholesome grains, is vital for maintaining a healthy weight or promoting weight loss. This is due to the fact that these foods are typically abundant in healthy fats, antioxidants, and fiber, which have been demonstrated to help reduce chronic inflammation in the body that can lead to weight gain or obesity.
What Food Is Good For Losing Weight?
This root vegetable, in its many colors—red, gold, white or striped—is high in both antioxidants and fiber. These are great nutrients for supporting weight loss. Studies also show that beet greens are especially beneficial for weight loss.
Beets are also high in a nutrient called nitrate. Studies show this nutrient can have a very beneficial impact on some markers in people with obesity.
The vegetable famous for amazing pickles is also well-known for having a healthy impact on blood sugars. Imbalanced blood sugar can be one of a handful of factors that leads to weight gain.
One study showed that eating cucumber could help reduce the production of unhealthy fats in the body in people who were overweight.
Also called “tuna” or prickly pear cactus, this American cultural food and supplement is closely tied with supporting blood sugars and promoting a healthier weight.
As a vegetable, nopal cactus is very high in fiber. One study on obese women showed that eating nopal improved both gut health and metabolism, which could eventually lead to healthier weight.
Quinoa (or Amaranth)
Whole grains and complex carbohydrates are known to be incredible weight loss foods. One of the healthiest of these you can eat is quinoa and its close relative grain, amaranth.
An animal study on quinoa showed that consumption of the grain helped reduce obesity. The ancient grain had a beneficial effect on gut, brain, and liver health.
Cruciferous vegetables (also called Brassica vegetables) include broccoli, kale, cabbage, kohlrabi, radishes, and many other popular types of produce.
In addition to being fiber- and antioxidant-rich to support a healthy weight, studies show these vegetables also contain a compound called brassinin. This compound, upon closer look, had an effect of reducing obesity-causing inflammation in this study.
Mushrooms like oyster, shiitake, lion’s mane, maitake, portobello, and more are shown by modern research to be rich in all the right nutrients to encourage natural weight loss in a lot of people.
These nutrients include fiber, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and some antioxidants. However, mushrooms also contain compounds called polysaccharides shown to support a healthier metabolism and reduce inflammation.
This popular soup vegetable has also become a favorite addition to juices, smoothies, and green superfood supplements to support weight loss. But is there any science behind the hype?
Studies do show that celery has an anti-obesity effect, no doubt thanks to the antioxidants and high levels of fiber it contains.
Nuts and seeds
Seeds and nuts will always reign supreme as one of the healthiest snack foods you can incorporate into the diet.
Because nuts and seeds like sunflower, almonds, or peanuts are so high in fiber (along with healthy plant-based fats), research does suggest they could be effective for people looking to lose weight, in part because of how they support gut health. Another study also showed a direct correlation between smaller waist circumference and regular nut consumption.
A healthy gut can be a powerful gateway to natural weight loss. One of the best ways to boost gut health is through more probiotics, which many fermented foods can provide, studies show—like yogurt, kefir, pickles, kimchi, sauerkraut, and more.
Research on animals shows that probiotic bacteria like Bacillus or Bifidobacterium, both commonly found in a lot of fermented foods, can have a healthy impact on obesity-related parameters that lead to weight loss.
High in healthy fats, fiber, and amino acids, avocado is a great food choice for including in a weight loss diet. One study showed that adults who ate avocado regularly were less likely to gain weight and more likely to lose it.
Sea vegetables like algae, seaweed, and kelp are incredibly nutrient dense, in some cases containing vitamins and minerals not commonly found in land vegetables.
Some research has shown certain types of sea vegetables have protective effects against factors that could be associated with obesity, meaning they could support weight loss.
When chocolate is low in sugar yet high in percentage of cacao, this makes it “dark” chocolate and a very good source of antioxidants. These antioxidants could support weight loss.
Studies also show that cacao proteins could help lower white fat amounts in animal test subjects.
Animal proteins (fed their natural diet)
It’s not all plant-based foods that could be good for weight loss.
Certain animal-based proteins, especially from animals fed their natural diets (like organic-fed and humanely raised), can yield products that are rich in antioxidants like coenzyme Q10 which are shown to combat obesity.
This includes grass fed butter or organ meats, humanely raised eggs, and more.
What Food Is Bad For Losing Weight?
Eating a diet rich in the above foods will certainly bring you many steps closer to successful weight loss. That said, which foods should you steer clear of?
Be sure to avoid or completely cut out the following:
- White flour products
- Processed foods
- Simple carbohydrates
- Trans fats
Tips To Follow While Eating Food For Losing Weight
The more whole, nutrient-dense, and sustainably grown the foods you eat are, the more likely they will contain the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other phytochemicals shown in studies to support your weight loss.
Be sure to source your food as fresh and naturally grown (or raised) as possible.
There is a vast selection of plant-based foods that are considered beneficial for weight loss; however, this list is not exhaustive. A diet consisting of a diverse range of fruits, vegetables (including sea vegetables), grains, nuts, seeds, and humanely sourced animal proteins is generally recommended as the optimal dietary approach for promoting weight loss.
Frequently Asked Questions
There is no “best food of all” for weight loss, or specific food that is better than all others for supporting weight loss.
That said, all the foods listed in this article are much better for you and for weight loss than any other foods high in sugar, simple carbs, trans fats, or processed ingredients.
Everyone is different, and eating more of these foods could definitely bring you many steps closer to successful weight loss. However, these foods are more likely to support your weight loss goals if you also exercise, manage stress, avoid inflammation-causing foods, and pursue other lifestyle goals that also help weight loss.
If your diet is also made up of a good variety of these different foods, it’s more likely you will experience healthy and successful weight loss. Be sure to speak with your doctor or professional nutritionist about what foods seem like the best fit for you and your weight loss goals.
Consuming foods that are high in fiber, antioxidants, amino acids, probiotics, and beneficial fatty acids, such as omega-3 fatty acids, can promote weight loss. In general, plant-based foods, including mushrooms, are the most suitable sources of these nutrients, including fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and seeds. Nevertheless, certain animal-based foods, like fermented dairy products and animal proteins from animals that consumed their natural diet, such as grass-fed butter or organ meats, can also be incorporated in moderation to enhance the overall nutritional profile of the diet.
+ 18 sources
MIDSS adheres to strict procurement guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutes, and medical associations. We work mainly with peer-reviewed studies to ensure the accuracy of the information. We avoid the use of tertiary references. You can read about how we ensure the accuracy and timeliness of our content in our editorial process.
- de Castro, A.P.R.B., da Cunha, D.T., Antunes, A.E.C., Corona, L.P. and Bezerra, R.M.N. (2019). Effect of Freeze-Dried Red Beet (Beta vulgaris L.) Leaf Supplementation on Biochemical and Anthropometrical Parameters in Overweight and Obese Individuals: a Pilot Study. Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, [online] 74(2), pp.232–234. doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/s11130-019-00730-0.
- Beals, J.W., Binns, S.E., Davis, J.L., Giordano, G.R., Klochak, A.L., Paris, H.L., Schweder, M.M., Peltonen, G.L., Scalzo, R.L. and Bell, C. (2017). Concurrent Beet Juice and Carbohydrate Ingestion: Influence on Glucose Tolerance in Obese and Nonobese Adults. Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, [online] 2017, pp.1–7. doi:https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/6436783.
- Soltani, R., Hashemi, M., Farazmand, A., Asghari, G., Heshmat-Ghahdarijani, K., Kharazmkia, A. and Ghanadian, S.M. (2016). Evaluation of the Effects ofCucumis sativusSeed Extract on Serum Lipids in Adult Hyperlipidemic Patients: A Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial. Journal of Food Science, [online] 82(1), pp.214–218. doi:https://doi.org/10.1111/1750-3841.13569.
- Corona-Cervantes, K., Parra-Carriedo, A., Hernández-Quiroz, F., Martínez-Castro, N., Vélez-Ixta, J.M., Guajardo-López, D., García-Mena, J. and Hernández-Guerrero, C. (2022). Physical and Dietary Intervention with Opuntia ficus-indica (Nopal) in Women with Obesity Improves Health Condition through Gut Microbiota Adjustment. Nutrients, [online] 14(5), p.1008. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14051008.
- Microbiology Spectrum. (2022). Quinoa Reduces High-Fat Diet-Induced Obesity in Mice via Potential Microbiota-Gut-Brain-Liver Interaction Mechanisms | Microbiology Spectrum. [online] Available at: https://journals.asm.org/doi/full/10.1128/spectrum.00329-22 [Accessed 13 Mar. 2023].
- Kang, B., Kim, C.Y., Hwang, J., Suh, H.J. and Choi, H. (2019). Brassinin, a phytoalexin in cruciferous vegetables, suppresses obesity‐induced inflammatory responses through the Nrf2‐HO‐1 signaling pathway in an adipocyte‐macrophage co‐culture system. Phytotherapy Research, [online] 33(5), pp.1426–1437. doi:https://doi.org/10.1002/ptr.6333.
- Ganesan, K. and Xu, B. (2018). Anti-Obesity Effects of Medicinal and Edible Mushrooms. Molecules, [online] 23(11), p.2880. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23112880.
- Kim, M.-A., Lee, H.-J., Bae, H.-G., Yang, S.-O., Lee, H.J. and Kim, M.-J. (2021). Metabolite analysis and anti-obesity effects of celery seed in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Food Science and Biotechnology, [online] 30(2), pp.277–286. doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/s10068-020-00866-9.
- Sugizaki, C. and Naves, M. (2018). Potential Prebiotic Properties of Nuts and Edible Seeds and Their Relationship to Obesity. Nutrients, [online] 10(11), p.1645. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10111645.
- Eslami, O., Shidfar, F. and Dehnad, A. (2019). Inverse association of long-term nut consumption with weight gain and risk of overweight/obesity: a systematic review. Nutrition Research, [online] 68, pp.1–8. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nutres.2019.04.001.
- Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. (2019). Health benefits of fermented foods. [online] Available at: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10408398.2017.1383355 [Accessed 13 Mar. 2023].
- Kimura (木村 啓太郎)K. and Yokoyama (横山 智)S. (2019). Trends in the application of Bacillus in fermented foods. Current Opinion in Biotechnology, [online] 56, pp.36–42. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2018.09.001.
- Solito, A., Bozzi Cionci, N., Calgaro, M., Caputo, M., Vannini, L., Hasballa, I., Archero, F., Giglione, E., Ricotti, R., Walker, G.E., Petri, A., Agosti, E., Bellomo, G., Aimaretti, G., Bona, G., Bellone, S., Amoruso, A., Pane, M., Di Gioia, D. and Vitulo, N. (2021). Supplementation with Bifidobacterium breve BR03 and B632 strains improved insulin sensitivity in children and adolescents with obesity in a cross-over, randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Clinical Nutrition, [online] 40(7), pp.4585–4594. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clnu.2021.06.002.
- Heskey, C., Oda, K. and Sabaté, J. (2019). Avocado Intake, and Longitudinal Weight and Body Mass Index Changes in an Adult Cohort. Nutrients, [online] 11(3), p.691. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11030691.
- Mendez, R.L., Miranda, C., Armour, C.R., Sharpton, T.J., Stevens, J.F. and Kwon, J.Y. (2020). Supplementation with Sea Vegetables Palmaria mollis and Undaria pinnatifida Exerts Metabolic Benefits in Diet-Induced Obesity in Mice. Current Developments in Nutrition, [online] 4(5), p.4005006. doi:https://doi.org/10.1093/cdn/nzaa072.
- Coronado-Cáceres, L.J., Rabadán-Chávez, G., Quevedo-Corona, L., Hernández-Ledesma, B., Garcia, A.M., Mojica, L. and Lugo-Cervantes, E. (2019). Anti-obesity effect of cocoa proteins (Theobroma cacao L.) variety ‘Criollo’ and the expression of genes related to the dysfunction of white adipose tissue in high-fat diet-induced obese rats. Journal of Functional Foods, [online] 62, p.103519. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jff.2019.103519.
- van Vliet, S., Provenza, F.D. and Kronberg, S.L. (2021). Health-Promoting Phytonutrients Are Higher in Grass-Fed Meat and Milk. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, [online] 4. doi:https://doi.org/10.3389/fsufs.2020.555426.
- Gynecological Endocrinology. (2021). The effect of coenzyme Q10 supplementation on inflammatory and endothelial dysfunction markers in overweight/obese polycystic ovary syndrome patients. [online] Available at: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09513590.2020.1779689 [Accessed 13 Mar. 2023.