What To Eat For Weight Loss

Being overweight or obese are well-known risk factors for multiple chronic diseases, successful weight loss can have a positive impact on not only medical treatment, healthcare costs but also quality of life for many patients (1).

There are multiple diets suggested by weight loss experts such as low calorie diets, low carbohydrate diets, very-low calorie diets, very-low carbohydrate diets, and fat-restriction diets (1). Each of these diets result in specific actions on appetite and food preferences, therefore comparing dietary studies and trials in order to work out which diets result in the safest, sustainable weight loss is difficult (1). However the following foods have all been backed by scientific studies and found to be weight loss friendly;

  1. Whole Eggs

It was once thought that eating eggs can increase cholesterol but more recent studies are showing that eggs actually don’t adversely affect blood cholesterol levels nor do they cause heart attacks (2, 3). Eggs are considered nutrient dense as they are high in protein, healthy fats and can increase satiety all while being low in calories. Studies have found eggs in place of bagels for breakfast, can increase satiety, reduce overall food consumption and increase weight loss (4, 5).

  1. Leafy Greens

These include vegetables such as kale, spinach, Swiss chards and more. Each of these leafy greens have properties which make them ideal for weight loss – low calories, low carbohydrates, high in fibre. Eating these vegetables can be an easy way to increase the amount and volume of your meal, without significantly increasing calories. Many studies show that meals which have a low energy density can make people eat less calories overall (6). Leafy greens are nutrient dense as they consist of multiple vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and even calcium which is known to aid fat-burning (7).

  1. Lean Beef and Chicken Breast

Although it is understood that processed meat is unhealthy, there are studies which back unprocessed red meat in that it does not raise the risk of heart disease or diabetes (8, 9). Red meat also has a very weak correlation with cancer in men to no correlation at all whatsoever in women (10, 11).

Meat is considered weight loss friendly as it is high in protein – the most fulfilling nutrient. Research shows that high protein diets can cause your body to burn up to one hundred more calories in a day (12, 13) and can reduce cravings for late night snacks (14) as well as causing weight loss equivalent to a pound per week (15).

  1. Fish

Fish is not only satisfying, but also contains relatively few calories. Most fish are protein rich and consist of healthy fats and other important nutrients, such as iodine which is important for proper thyroid function which can keep metabolism levels optimal (16). Salmon for example, is loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids which are known to reduce inflammation which is prominent in patients of obesity and metabolic diseases (17, 18).

  1. Chilli Peppers

Chilli peppers contain a substance known as capsaicin, this substance has been proven to reduce appetite and increase fat burning (19, 20) and is even sold as a substance form or in commercial weight loss supplements as a weight loss aid. A study found that people who are not accustomed to eating peppers regularly had a reduction in appetite and increased fat burning, however these effects were absent in people who regularly eat peppers which indicates a tolerance can build up (21).

Each of these foods is considered to be weight loss friendly as they take different metabolic pathways in the body. This can lead to vast differences on the effects on hunger, hormones and how many calories our bodies are burning.

For more information on what to eat for weight loss, see our nutrition and weight management course here; http://www.futurefit.co.uk/future-fit-training/courses/nutrition-and-weight-management/


  1. Strychar, I., 2006. Diet in the management of weight loss.Canadian Medical Association Journal174(1), pp.56-63.
  2. Fernandez, M.L., 2006. Dietary cholesterol provided by eggs and plasma lipoproteins in healthy populations.Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care9(1), pp.8-12
  3. Rong, Y., Chen, L., Zhu, T., Song, Y., Yu, M., Shan, Z., Sands, A., Hu, F.B. and Liu, L., 2013. Egg consumption and risk of coronary heart disease and stroke: dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies.Bmj346, p.e8539.
  4. Vander Wal, J.S., Marth, J.M., Khosla, P., Jen, K.C. and Dhurandhar, N.V., 2005. Short-term effect of eggs on satiety in overweight and obese subjects.Journal of the American College of Nutrition24(6), pp.510-515.
  5. Vander Wal, J.S., Gupta, A., Khosla, P. and Dhurandhar, N.V., 2008. Egg breakfast enhances weight loss.International journal of obesity (2005)32(10), p.1545.
  6. Ello-Martin, J.A., Roe, L.S., Ledikwe, J.H., Beach, A.M. and Rolls, B.J., 2007. Dietary energy density in the treatment of obesity: a year-long trial comparing 2 weight-loss diets.The American journal of clinical nutrition85(6), pp.1465-1477.
  7. Teegarden, D., 2003. Calcium intake and reduction in weight or fat mass.The Journal of nutrition133(1), pp.249S-251S.
  8. Micha, R., Wallace, S.K. and Mozaffarian, D., 2010. Red and processed meat consumption and risk of incident coronary heart disease, stroke, and diabetes mellitus.Circulation121(21), pp.2271-2283.
  9. Rohrmann, S., Overvad, K., Bueno-de-Mesquita, H.B., Jakobsen, M.U., Egeberg, R., Tjønneland, A., Nailler, L., Boutron-Ruault, M.C., Clavel-Chapelon, F., Krogh, V. and Palli, D., 2013. Meat consumption and mortality-results from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition.BMC medicine11(1), p.63.
  10. Alexander, D.D. and Cushing, C.A., 2011. Red meat and colorectal cancer: a critical summary of prospective epidemiologic studies.Obesity reviews12(5).
  11. Alexander, D.D., Weed, D.L., Cushing, C.A. and Lowe, K.A., 2011. Meta-analysis of prospective studies of red meat consumption and colorectal cancer.European Journal of Cancer Prevention20(4), pp.293-307.
  12. Westerterp-Plantenga, M.S., 2008. Protein intake and energy balance.Regulatory peptides149(1), pp.67-69.
  13. Veldhorst, M.A., Westerterp-Plantenga, M.S. and Westerterp, K.R., 2009. Gluconeogenesis and energy expenditure after a high-protein, carbohydrate-free diet.The American journal of clinical nutrition90(3), pp.519-526.
  14. Leidy, H.J., Tang, M., Armstrong, C.L., Martin, C.B. and Campbell, W.W., 2011. The effects of consuming frequent, higher protein meals on appetite and satiety during weight loss in overweight/obese men.Obesity19(4), pp.818-824.
  15. Weigle, D.S., Breen, P.A., Matthys, C.C., Callahan, H.S., Meeuws, K.E., Burden, V.R. and Purnell, J.Q., 2005. A high-protein diet induces sustained reductions in appetite, ad libitum caloric intake, and body weight despite compensatory changes in diurnal plasma leptin and ghrelin concentrations.The American journal of clinical nutrition82(1), pp.41-48.
  16. Kapil, U., 2007. Health consequences of iodine deficiency.Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal7(3), p.267.
  17. Wall, R., Ross, R.P., Fitzgerald, G.F. and Stanton, C., 2010. Fatty acids from fish: the anti‐inflammatory potential of long‐chain omega‐3 fatty acids.Nutrition reviews68(5), pp.280-289.
  18. Lumeng, C.N. and Saltiel, A.R., 2011. Inflammatory links between obesity and metabolic disease.The Journal of clinical investigation121(6), p.2111.
  19. Lejeune, M.P., Kovacs, E.M. and Westerterp-Plantenga, M.S., 2003. Effect of capsaicin on substrate oxidation and weight maintenance after modest body-weight loss in human subjects.British Journal of Nutrition90(3), pp.651-659.
  20. Westerterp-Plantenga, M.S., Smeets, A. and Lejeune, M.P.G., 2005. Sensory and gastrointestinal satiety effects of capsaicin on food intake.International journal of obesity29(6), p.682.
  21. Ludy, M.J. and Mattes, R.D., 2011. The effects of hedonically acceptable red pepper doses on thermogenesis and appetite.Physiology & behavior102(3), pp.251-258.

This article has been republished with the kind permission of Future Fit Training Academy, a UK based training academy with over twenty five years of experience in offering diplomas and courses in personal training, nutrition and pilates. 


The Stages To Changing Eating Behaviour

In order to successfully lose weight, lifestyle changes such as increased activity and changes in eating behaviours are necessary. Many people find that breaking their usual eating habits can be so difficult that it becomes the root cause of failure behind dieting. Broadly speaking, there are two approaches to changing eating habits;

  1. Change what you are eating
  2. Change the amount of what you are eating

To maximise weight loss in the long term, both should factors should be assessed and modified but it’s not a good idea to change both at the same time. Many people find that modifying both factors at once is difficult for them to adjust to, and eventually fall back into their typical unhealthy eating habits.

A Finnish study from 2016 found that almost half of their participants reported slow weight loss primarily through dietary changes. Their dietary changes included an increase in their intake of vegetables, reduction in sweets and fast food and regularly eating small meals. Many participants also found it helpful to regularly weigh themselves (1). The study participants also reported it helpful to apply The Plate Model – a visual method in which a dinner plate serves as a pie chart, which covers the recommended proportions of various food groups (2).

Previous studies have found that when individuals are provided with larger food and beverage portions, there will be a substantial increase in energy intake (3). When these larger portions are offered over weeks, they can contribute to onset of obesity (4). There have been multiple strategies such as tools and education which have been suggested to effectively manage portion sizes, but data is limited as to whether these methods can lead to long term changes and improvements in eating behaviours (5). Studies which offer participants pre-portioned foods have demonstrated successful weight loss and management; however this does not prove participants gained a better understanding of appropriate proportions (6).

Portion control is vital for weight management, but individuals should not be urged to ‘eat less’ of everything as foods have different energy densities. A more effective strategy would be to encourage individuals to increase portion sizes of low energy density foods and reduce portions of high energy foods, so that foods are still satisfying and body weight can be better managed (5).

Changing eating behaviours does not need to be difficult; keeping in mind the above two approaches for better eating habits, the following tips can help you change and reduce your food choices;

  • Use smaller plates, or opt for pre-packaged portion controlled foods
  • Share a full sized meal and avoid super-sizing meals when eating out
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day
  • Aim to eat small healthy snacks throughout the day to avoid over-indulgence at meal times
  • Gradually reduce portion sizes until you feel you’ve reached the ideal size
  • Keep your diet balanced by introducing a variety of foods
  • Pre-plan meals so that you can choose healthier options and prepare in advance with a shopping list when doing groceries
  • Remove temptations from your home if you feel you’re likely to over-indulge
  • Take an interest in cooking, you can do this by joining cooking classes, sharing recipes with friends and looking into cookbooks and food magazines
  • Practise these change habits consciously for a few weeks until they become unconscious decisions

Behaviour modification is reliant on your own intention to change. You must be ready to accept change, develop a plan and set goals for yourself to stay motivated and on track. Changing long term habits can be challenging if you have personal barriers to overcome which can demotivate you with never ending excuses and a negative attitude.

For more information on changing eating behaviours, see our nutrition and weight management course here; http://www.futurefit.co.uk/future-fit-training/courses/nutrition-and-weight-management/

  1. Soini, S., Mustajoki, P. and Eriksson, J.G., 2016. Weight loss methods and changes in eating habits among successful weight losers.Annals of medicine48(1-2), pp.76-82.
  2. Camelon, K.M., Hådell, K., T JÄMSÉN, P.Ä.I.V.I., Ketonen, K.J., Kohtamäki, H.M., MÄKIMATILLA, S., Törmälä, M.L., Valve, R.H. and DAIS PROJECT GROUP, 1998. The Plate Model: a visual method of teaching meal planning.Journal of the American Dietetic Association98(10), pp.1155-1158.
  3. Rolls, B.J., Morris, E.L. and Roe, L.S., 2002. Portion size of food affects energy intake in normal-weight and overweight men and women.The American journal of clinical nutrition76(6), pp.1207-1213.
  4. Nielsen, S.J. and Popkin, B.M., 2003. Patterns and trends in food portion sizes, 1977-1998.Jama289(4), pp.450-453.
  5. Rolls, B.J., 2014. What is the role of portion control in weight management?.International Journal of Obesity38, pp.S1-S8.
  6. Wing, R.R., Jeffery, R.W., Burton, L.R., Thorson, C., Nissinoff, K.S. and Baxter, J.E., 1996. Food provision vs structured meal plans in the behavioral treatment of obesity.International journal of obesity and related metabolic disorders: journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity20(1), pp.56-62.

This article has been republished with the kind permission of Future Fit Training Academy, a UK based training academy with over twenty five years of experience in offering diplomas and courses in personal training, nutrition and pilates.