Do Antioxidants Help You Lose Weight?

Antioxidants play important roles in the body that are vital to maintaining good health and preventing disease. Although antioxidants are often promoted for an endless list of health benefits, they do not actually have a direct effect on weight loss. However, the foods that are rich in antioxidants are the same ones that can help you slim down.

Antioxidants 101

Antioxidants are substances that can neutralize free radicals and protect the body from cellular damage. Free radicals are chemicals that are naturally formed in the body as a byproduct of calories being converted to energy. In addition, they can be found in environmental sources, including air and sunlight when it reacts with the skin. Certain antioxidants can be produced by the body, while others are obtained through dietary sources. The National Cancer Institute notes that antioxidants can prevent the free radical damage that is often linked to cancer. Examples of antioxidants include vitamins E and C and carotenoids -- a class of nutrients found in various colorful vegetables.

Weight Loss: The Facts

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Although there are many theories behind weight loss, the only proven way to achieve weight loss is to consume fewer calories than your body burns each day. Effective methods for losing weight include restricting calories by consuming smaller portions and exercising to burn off more calories during the day. For long-term results, weight loss should be gradual and consist of a realistic goal and a nutritionally balanced diet that includes an abundance of plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds -- all foods that are rich in antioxidants.

No Direct Link

While there is no science that links antioxidants directly to weight loss, the foods that supply the body with the most antioxidants have qualities that make them ideal for promoting weight loss. One of the keys behind weight loss is consuming foods that help fill you up while providing few calories. These foods are typically plant foods rich in fiber. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, high-fiber foods are more likely to make you feel full when compared to high-calorie foods, such as cookies, crackers, butter and bacon.

Low-Energy-Density Foods and Antioxidants

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Low-energy, nutrient-dense food contains between .7 and 1.5 calories per gram, whereas energy-dense foods have between 4 and 9 calories per gram. A few examples of low-energy foods that are also rich in antioxidants include tomatoes, strawberries, broccoli and cantaloupe. Most fruits, vegetables and other fiber-rich plant foods, which also happen to be full of antioxidants, are ideal for controlling your calorie intake, promoting good health and defending against disease.