Losing weight can certainly seem daunting, especially if you’re just starting out. So many factors play into an effective weight loss plan. And, there are hundreds of different diets for losing weight—some worse than others. If your goal is to lose weight, forget these deprivation dieting fads. Research shows that making small changes—not giant leaps—is the best way to get substantial weight loss results.
To learn more about the small changes you can make in your diet to lose weight for summer, we spoke with Leah Johnston, a registered dietitian, Trista Best, a registered dietitian at Balance One Supplements, and Mary Sabat, a nutritionist and personal trainer. They agree that eating more probiotic-rich foods, making your food at home, and avoiding processed foods are great little tweaks you can make in your diet for weight loss. Read on to learn more!
1. Eating More Probiotic-Rich Foods
Probiotics are live microorganisms that provide gut and weight loss benefits when consumed. Specifically, probiotic, fermented foods can help feed the “good” bacteria in your gut which can help you lose weight and reduce inflammation. “Eating more probiotic-rich foods can help reduce inflammation in the body,” Best explains. “Probiotics are live microorganisms that are beneficial for health, particularly for gut health. The gut microbiome plays a crucial role in regulating inflammation throughout the body.”
“When the gut microbiome is imbalanced, it can lead to chronic inflammation, which is linked to a wide range of health problems, including autoimmune diseases, heart disease, and certain types of cancer,” she continues. “Probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, and tempeh contain live beneficial bacteria that can help restore balance to the gut microbiome.” And, there are other probiotic-rich foods you can eat for a healthier gut and to sheds some pounds.
“Probiotics can help improve gut barrier function, which can help prevent harmful bacteria and toxins from entering the bloodstream and causing inflammation throughout the body,” Best says. That’s why incorporating more probiotic-rich foods into your diet can help support your gut health and reduce inflammation.
2. Make More Food At Home
One of the best and easiest ways to lose weight is by cooking your own food at home. You can control the portion sizes and how much you want to consume. That way you won’t feel pressured to finish something when you eat out at a restaurant. “Making more food at home puts the power in your hands,” Johnston says.
This will give you the opportunity to control the menu, the ingredients, and the portion sizes. “People who prepare and eat more meals from home generally consume smaller portions, less calories, less saturated & trans-fat, less sodium, less sugar, more fruits and vegetables and in general, a more nutrient-dense diet,” she adds. And when you do make your own food at home, remember to opt for healthy cooking oils to avoid unnecessary added fats.
3. Avoid Processed Foods
We probably don’t have to tell you twice that processed foods like sugary beverages, deli meats, and foods high in refined carbohydrates are detrimental to your weight loss goals. Sabat agrees. She says that a high intake of saturated fat is one major culprit of weight gain. Sabat also notes that it can “increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers.” Unfortunately for meat lovers, this type of fat is commonly found in processed meats like bacon, sausage, and deli meats.
And, while they may be tempting, Sabat points out that “sugary beverages like soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks are high in added sugars, which can contribute to weight gain, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic diseases.” So, if you want something to sip on that isn’t rich in sugar, Sabat advises, “fresh lemon with some stevia or a seltzer water with a splash of juice.” Yum! Or, opt for some gut-healthy kombucha.
Plus, fried foods could increase your risk of age-related diseases. “Foods like French fries, fried chicken, and fried fish are high in trans fats and saturated fats, which can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke,” Sabat says. “Instead of frying, try baking, grilling, or steaming your food to reduce the amount of unhealthy fats.” Similarly, refined grains can also lead to weight gain. “Refined grains, such as white bread, white rice, and pasta, have been stripped of their fiber and nutrients, which can contribute to weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease,” Sabat tells us.
The Bottom Line
All in all, experts agree that the best way to lose substantial weight over time is by making small changes to your diet. Specifically, they recommend eating more probiotic-rich foods, making your food at home, and avoiding processed foods. Although some of these diet tweaks may seem tricky, keep in mind that making small healthy decisions every day is the best way not only to lose weight but also to lead a long, happy life.
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