Keep an eye on your overall daily calories.
Weight gain and obesity are major health concerns that can lead to other conditions such as Type 2 diabetes. Your overall calorie intake plays the most significant role in weight control. Eating fewer calories than your body needs causes your body to use fat for energy, which results in weight loss. Most foods by themselves aren't responsible for weight loss. However, data indicates yogurt, nuts and fiber can, in fact, give your weight-loss efforts a boost.
University of Tennessee researchers found a good reason for you to include yogurt in your diet regimen. They divided obese participants into two groups; both followed a reduced-calorie diet, but one group consumed three servings of light yogurt daily. After 12 weeks, the yogurt group lost significantly more weight and retained more lean mass than the nonyogurt group. The yogurt group lost 81 percent more trunk fat than the group that didn't eat yogurt. Scientists credit calcium in the boost in weight loss and note dairy calcium is more effective than calcium from other sources. The study was published in the April 2005 edition of the "International Journal of Obesity."
A Reason to Get Nutty
Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School conducted a 20-year study involving over 120,000 men and women to see if certain lifestyle factors were associated with long-term weight control. Researchers followed up on participants every four years. The study found that eating potato chips, sugar-sweetened beverages and red meat caused a gradual, steady weight gain over the 20 years. The good news is that regularly eating nuts and yogurt led to long-term weight loss. The study was published in the June 2011 edition of the "New England Journal of Medicine."
Funded by the National Institutes of Health, a study by Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center researchers found that for every 10-gram increase in soluble fiber per day, visceral fat decreased 3.7 percent over five years. Visceral fat is found deep in the abdomen area surrounding your organs. Excess visceral fat is linked to high blood pressure, diabetes and fatty liver disease. Plant foods contain a mixture of soluble and insoluble fiber, so you'll get enough of both types if you eat a variety of fruits, vegetables and beans. There are no separate recommendations for soluble fiber intake. The Institute of Medicine, which sets dietary reference intakes, recommends women 50 years and younger get a total of 25 grams of fiber daily, and men in the same age range aim for 38 grams.
Fruits and Vegetables
Aim to make fruits and vegetables a staple in your diet. They provide vitamins, minerals and other nutrients and are low in calories. They contain fiber as well. A diet high in fruits and vegetables reduces disease risk. In addition, the multidepartmental study published in the "New England Journal of Medicine" found that eating fruits and vegetables helped prevent weight gain. The IOM recommends getting 45 to 65 percent of your calories from carbohydrate foods. Aim to get most of this amount from fruits and vegetables.