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Long used as a detox tool, lemons are thought to have a gentle diuretic and laxative effect, and can reduce bloating from excess salt intake-half a lemon in a glass of tepid water is the general rule. Lemons may also promote weight loss. In one study, people who followed a detox program that included lemon juice and maple syrup reduced body weight, body fat percentage, and insulin resistance at the end of the seven-day detox.
Like lemons, grapefruit is known for reducing bloat, aiding detox, and slimming the belly. Even the smell of grapefruit can reduce appetite and stimulate metabolism. Grapefruit is also high in nootkatone, a compound that’s been shown to reduce overall weight and abdominal fat. In one study, people who ate half a grapefruit before meals lost more weight than a control group, and also improved insulin resistance.
Eating fish several times a week can encourage weight loss, as well as improve insulin resistance. One reason: it’s high in protein, which has been shown to induce satiety-a feeling of fullness that discourages overeating or snacking-boost metabolism, and encourage weight loss. If you don’t like fish, choose other healthy sources of protein, such as legumes, eggs, and pastured or grass-fed meat. And protein powders can help you lose fat by keeping you full , while increasing lean muscle mass.
Whole eggs (not just the whites) can encourage weight loss, especially when they’re replacing bagels, cereal, or muffins in your morning meal. The protein and fat in whole eggs keeps you satisfied for longer and prevents blood sugar surges that can trigger snacking. In one study, people who ate eggs for breakfast consumed fewer calories for lunch and dinner, and generally ate less for almost 36 hours. In another study, egg-eaters lost more weight and reduced both waist circumference and overall body fat, with no change in cholesterol levels.
They’re not normally associated with weight loss, but white potatoes have one of the highest satiety ratings of any food. One reason: potatoes contain high amounts of resistant starch (RS), a type of starch that resists digestion as it passes through the intestines. RS can help shed pounds, balance blood sugar, and improve insulin sensitivity. If you’re not a potato lover, you’ll find resistant starch in oats, brown rice, legumes, and green bananas. Because cooking destroys resistant starches, the best way to eat any of these foods (besides bananas) is to cook them, then let them cool completely before eating to allow the lost starches to redevelop.
They’re loaded with fiber, which makes you feel fuller, longer. Fiber also moves food through the intestines to prevent belly bloating. Because they’re high in water, they also fight water weight gain. Like other berries, they’re low in FODMAPs, compounds that can cause digestive distress and bloating. And, as an added bonus, studies show that people who eat vegetables and fruits tend to weigh less and have a lower risk of obesity.
The caffeine in coffee can increase metabolism, boost fat-burning, and help maintain weight loss. In one recent study, people who reported drinking more coffee showed better weight-loss maintenance. Green tea has similar effects even though it’s lower in caffeine, likely because it also contains catechins, a class of antioxidants that appear to work in concert with caffeine to encourage weight loss.
8. Coconut oil
Coconut oil is composed primarily of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), a type of fat that’s metabolized differently from other fats. It’s used by the body for immediate energy, is less likely to be stored as fat, and has a thermogenic effect—that is, it increases fat burning. One meta-analysis found using MCTs in place of (not in addition to) other fats decreased body weight, waist and hip circumference, and total body fat without disrupting cholesterol levels.
9. Apple cider vinegar
Also called ACV, apple cider vinegar is traditionally used for detox and weight loss, and also improves insulin sensitivity, possibly by hampering digestion of carbohydrates and slowing absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. Taking ACV can also help you feel fuller for longer, and decrease the number of calories you eat throughout the day.
View our Grab n’ go protein bites recipe