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- American Council on Exercise: Do Negative Calorie Foods Exist?
- Harvard School of Public Health: Vegetables and Fruits
- Harvard School of Public Health: What Should You Eat?
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To lose weight, you must consume fewer calories than you burn. The most productive and healthful way to do this is by substituting low-calorie foods for high-calorie foods. Ideal low-calorie foods are low in saturated fat and sugar. You caloric consumption is critical to achieving your weight-loss goals.
The American Council on Exercise refers to spinach as the "epitome" of health food, and it is ideal to support for your weight-loss goals because it is so low in calories 1. Two cups of spinach is only 14 calories but is packed with vitamins, minerals and nutrients that you body requires for optimal health.
Egg whites are another low-calorie food that can support your weight loss goals. Egg whites are a high quality source of protein without any carbohydrates or saturated fat that can help you maintain lean mass while shedding pounds.
Tuna is a fish that is especially low in fat and calories. According to the American Council on Exercise, a can of tuna is just 130 calories and is the ideal choice to fulfill the American Heart Association's recommendation to eat two servings of fish a week 1.
Skinless chicken is a low-calorie source of protein that can help you lose weight. Replacing red meat or other high-calorie protein sources with skinless chicken breast will help you remove calories from your diet.
Whole grains are a healthful and nutritious source of "good" carbohydrates and recommended by the Harvard School of Public Health 3. Many people abstain from eating carbohydrates when they are trying to lose weight. This can lead to fatigue and malnutrition. Rather than eliminating carbohydrates from your diet, you should eat carbohydrates such as whole grains that do not have processed and refined sugars.
Even if your are trying to lose weight, your diet still requires sources of dietary fat. You want to eat healthful unsaturated fats and not unhealthful trans fats or saturated fats. Olive oil, canola oil, grapeseed oil and safflower oil all make good healthful replacements for butter and margarine that will sabotage your weight-loss efforts.
Fruit is a good food to support your weight-loss efforts because it is low in calories and high in fiber and can satisfy your taste buds if you have a "sweet tooth." The American Council on Exercise specifically recommends oranges, blueberries, watermelon and grapefruit, but most fruit is good choice to substitute for higher-calorie foods 1. Avocado is the one exception; it is a source of healthful fats.
The Harvard School of Public Health recommends all vegetables to help you lose and manage your weight, especially dark-green leafy vegetables 23. Broccoli, squash, bok choy, carrots, green beans and bell peppers can all support your weight-loss efforts. Vegetables are a good source of fiber that can satisfy your appetite and control your blood glucose levels.
Beans are among the "good" carbohydrate foods sources that can help you lose weight. White beans, kidney beans, pinto beans and black beans are all high in fiber and protein. Just make sure you are not buying and eating beans that are coated in high amounts of sugar and syrup.
Water should be your first choice of beverage when you are losing weight. Most adults require at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. This is especially important if you are exercising. Water is essential to boost your metabolism, according to Penn State University 4.
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