The clever way to lose weight fast is to choose foods that are weight-loss friendly.
Weight-loss friendly foods are better sources of calories, and the types of calories you choose will determine your fat loss.
Nutrients such as proteins, fibers, and vitamins found in weight -loss friendly foods mean these foods outperform foods that are considered low or empty calorie such as refined carbohydrates or sugary foods which lack sufficient nutrients.
In other words, you lose weight faster when you choose from this list of my favorite 21 foods for fast weight loss over empty calorie foods.
Each food listed has its own scientifically proven performance profile that helps you lose weight by either keeping you full longer, controlling hormones responsible for hunger, or that contain nutrients that speed up your metabolism.
Let’s take a look …
Take The Quiz: Which Veggies Fight Abdominal Fat?
The 21 Best Foods To Lose Weight Fast
1. Whole Grains
For centuries grains have been a staple food, providing many beneficial nutrients such as fiber, protein, iron, an array of B vitamins, and vital minerals.
Today, pure whole grain breads, cereals, and pastas are hard to find on the grocery shelf.
The manufacturing process of these products strips the grains of vital nutrients and even adds unhealthy ingredients in order to prolong shelf-life, enhance flavor, or add color.
This is one reason why many health savvy people have given up on grains entirely.
Yet, pure whole grains, such as oats, barley, wild rice, buckwheat, and many others which still have the entire grain kernel intact, are truly beneficial and can help you lose weight.
For instance, oats have been shown to enhance weight loss by increasing satiety and improving metabolic health, partly due to beta-glucans which are unique sugars found in the cell wall of plants such as oats and barley. (1) (2)
Fiber-rich whole grains have also been shown to reduce overall Body Mass Index (bmi ) and waist circumference (wc ) when consumed on a regular basis. (5)
The key to adding whole grains to your diet is to carefully read packaging labels and look for the FDA-approved health claim that reads, “Diets rich in whole grain foods and other plant foods and low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease and some cancers.”
Or look for the Whole Grain Council’s whole grain stamp, which shows how many grams of the whole grains are in each serving. If all of the grain is whole the stamp displays a 100% banner.
If you are really adventurous, you can also make your own bread, cereal, or pasta from whole grains, so you know exactly what you are getting.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
Let’s face it; vinegar belongs in your kitchen.
It’s not only essential to making some of the best tasting food imaginable; it’s versatile and can be used as a natural remedy for weight loss.
The acetic acid in vinegar taps into several physiological mechanisms that result in healthy weight loss.
In addition to working as an appetite suppressant, vinegar has also been shown to reduce blood sugar spikes after a meal which may reduce food cravings and promote better insulin sensitivity long term. (8) (9)
Other popular vinegarsinclude, White Wine, Malt, Sherry, Balsamic, and Rice. Apple Cider Vinegar has the added benefit of pectin which also works as an appetite suppressant.
Ingesting 1 or 2 tablespoons (15 – 30 mls) of vinegar per day for 12 weeks has been shown to reduce body mass index, waist circumference, visceral fat, and serum triglycerides. This resulted in a 2 – 4 pound loss in weight. (10)
Vinegars can be mixed in water or served in a dish. It’s best to dilute vinegar if taken regularly.
3. Lean Beef
Meats might be considered a necessary evil when it comes to losing weight fast.
It’s no secret that filling up on meat and cutting back on carbs, is a quick way to shed pounds … a dieting method popularized in 1972 by Dr. Robert Atkins.
The reason eating lean meat is so successful for weight loss is because meat contains the highest amount of protein out of any natural food source.
Studies indicate that increasing your protein intake by 25- 30% of calories can cut food cravings by a whopping 60% which can produce a weight loss of 1 lb per week. (11)
That’s more than most people get from exercising in a week.
Plant proteins, while arguably healthier, simply don’t stack up calorie wise with lean meats.
For example, it takes 25 oz of quinoa (a complete protein source) at 693 calories to get 25 grams of protein and only 4 oz of lean sirloin at 160 calories to get 25 grams of protein.
If you choose to eat this weight-loss friendly food, it’s best to stay away from processed meats, particularly those that are “cured” and contain nitrites and nitrates because studies indicate that processed meats may lead to cancer and heart disease.
This wonder fruit seems to have some mysterious fat burning superpower that sets it apart from other fruits.
For this reason grapefruit has been studied for its weight loss capabilities.
One study found that a relationship does exist between weight loss and grapefruit. In a study of 91 obese people over a 12 week period, the subjects ate one half grapefruit before meals and lost an average of 3.5 pounds. (12)
There are a few reasons why grapefruit causes weight loss. One is that grapefruit is high in fiber and low in calories. It’s actually considered a “negative calorie food,” meaning that it takes more calories to digest it than exist in the fruit.
Grapefruit also lowers insulin levels in the body which leads to decreased fat storage.
The vitamin C found in grapefruit has also been linked to weight loss by way of fat oxidation. (13) Your body uses Vitamin C to synthesize carnitine, essential for metabolizing fat into energy.
5. Coconut Oil
There is such a thing as “good fats,” and coconut oil is one of them.
You may have heard that Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a good source of fat as well.
But what constitutes a “good fat,” and why do they help you lose weight?
The answer is that fats are made up of short, medium, and long-chain fatty acids in varying proportions.
Medium Chain Fatty Acids (mcfas), found in abundance in Coconut Oil, are easier for the body to convert to energy and digest than are Long Chain Fatty Acids (lcfas).
Coconut oil not only boosts your metabolism, it helps you build muscle.
Coconut oil is highly “insulinotropic,” meaning it greatly stimulates the pancreas to secret insulin. (16)
Insulin’s purpose is to control blood sugar levels and pump nutrients into your muscles.
Additionally 45-55% of the saturated fat in coconut oil, is lauric acid. Lauric acid helps boost your immune system.
mcfas are more readily converted to ketones which are used by the brain as an energy source.
Replacing less healthy fats such as canola and vegetable oil with healthier fats such as Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and unrefined Coconut Oil can lead to significant loss of weight and belly fat.
6. Chicken & Turkey Breast
Poultry is less fattening than beef.
Both beef and poultry provide an excellent source of protein, but if you are trying to limit saturated fat, then no-skin chicken and turkey breast, is the better choice.
The American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fat to 5 – 6% of total calories. (17)
Again, high protein foods are weight-loss friendly because they are filling which in turn leads to less calorie consumption.
7. Boiled Potatoes
This hearty tuber was once the go-to staple food in every pantry.
More recently, since the invention of low-carb diets, potatoes have been unjustly put on the backburner.
However, this prejudice against potatoes is beginning to fade … and rightly so.
Potatoes, particularly boiled ones, ranked highest on the list of Satiety Index foods. (18)
Not only do they keep you full so you eat fewer calories, they also contain just about every nutrient you need to survive.
Potatoes contain vitamin B6, vitamin C, fiber, iron, protein, magnesium, and potassium.
They are also gluten-free, fat-free, extremely low in sodium, and cholesterol free.
Additionally boiled potatoes when cooled form a fiber-like substance known as resistant starch which is beneficial for weight loss. (19)
Other root or tuber vegetables such as yams and parsnips are also weight-loss friendly.
8. Low Sodium Tuna
Tuna is often the food of choice for bodybuilders.
Tuna, canned in water, is another high protein low calorie option. 1 oz contains 7 grams of protein at 128 calories.
With that said, it’s not a good idea to go on an all tuna diet.
Some tuna, like Albacore tuna, is a large ocean fish and can contain significant levels of mercury. Smaller tuna, like the skipjack, found in canned light tuna contains less mercury, but neither type should be eaten on a daily basis.
Substituting skipjack tuna once a week for higher calorie protein foods or albacore 3 times a month is a smart way to go about eating this weight-loss friendly food.
To lose weight, just add water.
Soups are considered low energy density, because they contain lots of water.
Water consumption tends to make people eat fewer calories.
Oddly, one study showed that soup made people feel more satiated than just drinking water with solid food, and lead to lower calorie intake. (20)
Slurping soup can also slow down the eating process allowing time for digestion.
One study showed that eating soup before lunch cut down total calorie intake by 20%. (21)
Additionally soups are a great way to incorporate healthy foods into your diet.
10. Yogurt (Full Fat)
Yogurt is another dairy product that can help you drop a jean size.
The calcium in yogurt signals fat cells to pump out less cortisol making it easier for you to drop pounds.
Yogurt also contains amino acids that help burn fat, and probiotics that improve gut function.
Improving gut function via probiotics may also keep the two main hunger hormones, Ghrelin and Leptin in proper balance which leads to better appetite control. (22)
When choosing a yogurt, it’s best to find brands that are low in sugar.
Full fat yogurts usually contain less sugar than low-fat yogurts.
11. Legumes and Beans
Vegetarians tend to live off legumes and beans as a protein and fiber source.
Proteins and fiber lead to satiety and therefore weight loss.
With that said, some legumes and beans are better than others.
When trying to reach your protein goal, lentils, black beans, and kidney beans are better choices than garbanzo beans, soy beans, or cannellini beans because the later contain more carbohydrates and fat.
Also most plant sources of protein are considered incomplete and need to be paired with whole grains.
Soaking and boiling beans and legumes yourself, can help you avoid toxic chemicals in canned beans and makes them easier to digest.
12. Cottage Cheese
Among the cheeses, cottage cheese is by far the healthiest choice.
It’s full of protein, low-calorie, and low-fat.
Just mixing a small amount of cottage cheese in a salad or on top of fruit helps you to feel full longer.
There’s also good evidence that eating calcium-rich foods is associated with reduced rates of obesity. (23)
Avocado is a curious fruit unlike any other.
Although it’s used like a vegetable, it’s actually a large berry containing a single seed.
The savory, fleshy, butter-like mesocarp layer is the edible part, and it’s full of healthy unsaturated fats, and 8% of your total daily fiber.
Fats and fiber satisfy hunger and lead to less calorie consumption.
Avocados also contain Omega-3 fatty acids that are good for your brain and mood.
Mixing avocado with an egg in the morning makes a satisfying breakfast and provides plenty of fuel for the day.
14. Eggs (With Yolk)
Not long ago, egg yolk was thought to raise cholesterol and cause heart disease, so many people tried to play it safe by tossing out the yellow bit.
This scare prompted more research into exactly how eggs affect lipids and heart disease.
Eggs are nutrient dense, containing protein, antioxidants such as leutin and zeaxanthin, and choline which help build muscle, reduce the risk of eye diseases, and help with brain and bone health.
Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables like cabbage and cauliflower have a surprisingly decent amount protein as far as veggies go.
And as far as carbohydrates go, some sources like cruciferous vegetables are better for you because they have a lower glycemic index … meaning they burn slower and don’t spike the blood sugar as much as high glycemic index carbohydrates.
Broccoli is sometimes referred to as “roughage,” along with other foods that are said to be filling or contain high amounts of insoluble fiber.
All in all, cruciferous veggies like broccoli are incredibly filling and make an excellent source of carbohydrates, even for low-carb dieters.
Nuts may be small, high in fat and calories, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t weight-loss friendly.
Nuts such as almonds, cashews, and pistachios make a surprisingly filling snack,and you can eat slightly more of these nuts compared to others such as macadamia.
Substituting unhealthy snacks for nuts and moderate consumption of nuts has been shown to improve metabolic health and result in strong satiety effects. (28)
One study conducted showed that people who eat nuts vs those who don’t had a lower prevalence of risk factors for heart disease, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome which is associated with obesity. (29)
Roughly 1/3 of a cup of nuts per day is the recommended allowance.
Remember to add salmon to your diet.
Oily fish, like salmon, sardines, and mackerel contain high amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids that are beneficial for weight loss and improved memory long term.
Salmon also contains iodine which is essential for synthesis of thyroid hormones, which control the mechanisms responsible for proper metabolism. (32)
Kale seems to be the new spinach in the health community.
Truth is … all green leafy vegetables are pretty outstanding.
Loaded with fiber, minerals, antioxidants, vitamins, and even calcium, they are a fantastic source of quilt-free carbohydrates.
Research shows that eating a plant-based diet may help reduce risk factors that lead to chronic disease and obesity. (33)
Leafy greens have fewer calories per gram than most foods, making them a low energy density food.
Diets that consist of low energy density foods have been shown to reduce overall calorie intake. (34)
So munch away.
19. Chili Peppers
Spicy foods like chili peppers can help speed up fat loss.
Eating just 1 gram of chili pepper has been shown to reduce appetite and increase fat burning in people who don’t eat peppers regularly. (38)
Occasionally adding chili peppers to soups, smoothies, wraps, salads, and sautéed vegetables is a good way to incorporate capsaicin into your weight loss plan.
20. High Fiber Fruit
Eating fruits in moderation is great for weight loss.
Whole fresh fruits such as watermelon, passion fruit, guava, berries, and many others are high in fiber and provide a host of nutrients that lead to weight loss. (39)
While it’s true that fruit contains sugar, it’s not the same as eating sugar from empty calorie sources like candy.
Candy is digested quickly and spikes blood sugar, while high fiber foods such as fruits require chewing time and are digested slower. Slowly digested foods help keep the stomach feeling full longer.
People who eat 2 servings of fruit and 3 servings of vegetables per day tend to be healthier than people who don’t.
21. Chia Seeds
Nature managed to pack all its genius into this tiny seed.
Just 2 tablespoons of Chia seeds contains 10 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, as much Omega-3 fatty acids as 4oz of Salmon, and 5 times more calcium than 1oz of milk.
Chia seeds, due to it high fiber content, soak up water in the stomach and expand forming a gel that slows down digestion keeping you full longer. (40)
Although a direct link between Chia Seeds and weight loss has yet to be established, the nutrients found in Chia Seeds such as protein, calcium, fiber, and Omega-3 do directly contribute to weight loss.
Thus adding 2 tablespoons of Chia Seeds to yogurt or smoothies is certainly worth it.
Want to find out which unique veggies fight abdominal fat? Click here to take our quick (and shockingly accurate) “Which Veggies Fight Abdominal Fat” Quiz right now and find out which unique veggies will shred abdominal fat…