Food ScienceHealthy Weight Loss

The Top 15 Unexpected Weight Loss Foods

The problem with these ‘lose weight fast’ schemes is that they are challenging to maintain and leave you hungry and unhappy. When it comes to losing weight, you want an approach that ensures your long term success. And like many things in life, patience is always the key.

Patience won’t work by itself to cause you to drop those pounds, but with the right meal plan, you will find success. So where do you start? According to science, each of your meals should have all of the following:

  • A protein source like beef, chicken, pork, and lamb
  • A healthy fat source like olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil
  • Low carb vegetables like spinach, cauliflower, cabbage, and tomatoes

So let’s say you have created a meal plan that includes all these three categories, what next? Now it’s time to incorporate foods that are known to cause weight loss. Here are our top picks.

Chili Peppers

You would think that eating hot, spicy food increases your appetite and makes you eat more, but this is not the case. Chili peppers contain a unique compound called capsaicin. One study conducted on 24 subjects found that eating 0.9 grams of red pepper increased satiety and reduced fat intake. Capsaicin is also responsible for the hot flavor of chilies. Evidence also suggests that chili peppers can reduce appetite and increase fat burning in both men and women.

Another reason why you should think of adding some spice to your food is that doing so might reduce your calorie intake. Research shows that those who regularly used chili peppers in their meals had a lower calorie intake than those who didn’t.

Aside from its weight loss power, chili peppers also are rich in antioxidants, including capsanthin, violaxanthin, lutein, sinapic acid, and ferulic acid. In terms of vitamins and minerals, chili peppers do not disappoint. They are abundant in vitamin B6, vitamin K1, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin A.


Of course, all fruits are great for weight loss, but there is one that stands above the rest – grapefruit. You may have heard about how grapefruit can help with weight loss, but considering its bitter taste, you remain skeptical.

Grapefruit is one of the few fruits that has undergone considerable scrutiny in the science field and with excellent results. In one study, 91 obese individuals were given half a fresh grapefruit before meals. At the end of the study, those who ate grapefruit lost much more weight than those who didn’t. The weight loss of the group who ate grapefruit was about 3.5 pounds compared to the 0.7 pounds of the other group.

According to another study, participants who consumed grapefruit along with their meals had a reduced waist size. This is likely because of the high fiber content of the fruit, which helps promote satiety and curb hunger.

Another reason you should consider grabbing a few pieces of grapefruit the next time you shop is that research shows it can control appetite. The fiber-rich fruit can help you eat fewer calories throughout the day, which is what you need to lose weight.

Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are small but excellent when it comes to aiding weight loss. These tiny black seeds come from the Salvia hispanica plant that has a long history in the Aztec and Mayan history. Until recently, chia seeds were unheard of, but these small seeds are now a favorite among health enthusiasts. One ounce of chia seeds has 11 grams fiber, 4 grams protein, and up to 30 percent of the recommended daily intake of manganese and magnesium. They also have loads of zinc, vitamin B, and potassium.

In terms of weight loss, the high fiber and high protein content of these seeds can prove to be a big help. The fiber in the grains is soluble, which means it expands in your stomach and increases satiety while slowing down the absorption of food. The high protein content also means you may experience reduced appetite and eat fewer calories during the day.

Several studies have proven the effectiveness of chia seeds in weight loss. For example, one study discovered that adding chia seeds to a breakfast meal increased feelings of satiety and reduced calorie intake. However, in another survey of overweight individuals, consuming 50 grams of chia seeds daily for 12 weeks did not affect body weight. With that said, chia seeds cannot cause weight loss on their own, but adding them to your diet may offer many health benefits.

Coconut Oil

You know by now that not all fats are equal, and this is especially true with coconut oil. The fatty acids in coconut oil can boost satiety better than other fats and increase the number of calories burned. Although coconut oil does have calories, it also contains healthy fatty acids. These fatty acids encourage the body to burn more fat and also increase the ‘good’ cholesterol in the blood.

Coconut oil has fatty acids called medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) that can increase the number of calories the body burns. In one study, researchers discovered that eating 15 to 30 grams of MCTs daily increased energy expenditure by 5 percent. MCTs play another vital role in weight loss, namely, reducing hunger. Those who eat mostly MCTs early in the day consumed fewer calories at lunch, according to one study.


Although nuts are high in fat, they are interestingly not as fattening as you would imagine. All types of nuts, from peanuts to walnuts and almonds, have many vitamins and minerals that your body needs. On top of that, they make the perfect snack, and since they also have protein, eating nuts can help you fight your cravings during the day. Studies show that those who eat nuts have better metabolic health and lose weight faster than those who don’t. Researchers also agree that populations that include nuts in their diet, such as many of the Mediterranean cultures, are generally leaner than communities who don’t.

One word of caution, though, is that nuts are still high in calories, so remember to eat in moderation. A safer way is to add them to smoothies, use them as toppings, or carry a handful for a mid-morning snack.

Boiled Potatoes

This may come as a surprise, especially if you are strictly following a low-carb diet, but before you judge those potatoes, hear what they have to offer. Potatoes may be starchy, but they also contain many nutrients, including fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, manganese, magnesium, niacin, and folate. On top of that, potatoes also have numerous antioxidants, like carotenoids, flavonoids, and phenolic acids.

When it comes to weight loss, boiled potatoes can help improve blood sugar levels. These vegetables contain a starch called resistant starch, which is not fully broken down or absorbed by the body. Instead, this starch reaches your intestine intact and becomes food for the healthy gut bacteria. One study conducted on people with type 2 diabetes discovered that eating a meal with resistant starch helped lower the blood sugar levels. Another study found that a potato rich diet reduced insulin resistance by 33 percent.

The secret to enjoying all the health benefits of boiled potatoes is to let them cool for a while so that the resistant starch can form.

Apple Cider Vinegar

You may have heard how drinking a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before a meal can help with weight loss, and these claims are not far fetched. Although apple cider vinegar is excellent as a dressing or vinaigrette, its value in terms of weight loss is also very high.

The acetic acid in apple cider is the main component that makes it ideal for weight loss. Acetic acid dissolves into acetate and hydrogen when ingested. According to several animal studies, acetic acid aids the liver and muscles to absorb more sugar from the blood and also increases fat burning.

Also, apple cider vinegar has the potential to promote satiety and lower calorie intake. One study involving 11 individuals found that taking ACV with a high carb meal resulted in a 55 percent lower blood sugar response after an hour. The participants of the same study also consumed 200-275 fewer calories during the day.

ACV also has impressive effects on weight loss and body fat. One study involving 144 obese adults found that consuming one tablespoon of ACV resulted in 2.6 pounds of weight loss within 12 weeks. The same group also experienced a 1.4 centimeter decrease in waist circumference and a 26 percent decrease in triglycerides. The group that took two tablespoons of ACV had almost double the benefits.

To get the weight loss benefits of ACV, mix one to two tablespoons of ACV with water, and drink this before meals.


Avocados have received a host of a bad rep in the past because of its high-fat content. If you are hesitant to add this fruit to your diet, think again. Avocados may be rich in fat, but this fat is oleic acid – a monounsaturated fatty acid. As such, 77 percent of calories in avocados are healthy.

So how can avocados help you achieve your weight loss goals? One way is to reduce the cholesterol levels in your blood. Studies have examined the benefits of avocado in terms of weight loss, and the results are astounding – avocados can reduce total cholesterol levels significantly.

One study even concluded a direct connection between avocado consumption and weight loss. In the study, those who ate avocado with a meal felt 23 percent more satisfied compared to those who skipped the fruit. Also, the participants had a 28 percent reduction in hunger within the succeeding 5 hours.

Cottage Cheese

The difference with cottage cheese compared to other cheeses is that it does not undergo aging to develop flavor. This is the reason why cottage cheese is also called a ‘fresh’ cheese.

Most weight-loss diets discourage eating dairy but still accept cottage cheese as healthy – and for a good reason. Cottage cheese has a high protein and low-calorie content.

One study examined the potential of cottage cheese in weight loss. During the study, researchers followed people who had a high protein diet, including cottage cheese, for a year. The study showed that, within a year, women lost 6.1 pounds in body weight, while men lost 3.1 pounds.

Another reason why cottage cheese is ideal for weight loss has to do with its high protein content. High protein is necessary to build muscle, and the proteins in cottage cheese are particularly useful in this regard. Cottage cheese has a protein called casein, which not only aids with muscle growth, but also inhibits muscle breakdown.


This may come as no surprise, but tuna does deserve a special mention in our list of weight loss foods. The fish has an essential content of vitamins and minerals, including antioxidants, and protein. It also contains iron, magnesium, potassium, selenium, and a few B vitamins.

The low-calorie content of tuna is what sets it apart from other fish. Although Tuna does have fat, it is rich in the healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which stimulate a hormone called leptin. Leptin is responsible for balancing the body’s intake of food and also controls hunger.

The B complex vitamins in tuna also offer a wide range of health benefits and are directly involved in metabolism. Regularly eating tuna will ensure you remain healthy, energetic, and active.

Chicken Breast and Lean Beef

Sadly, these two types of meat have received more than a fair share of a bad rep. A host of health problems are attributed to these two types of meat, even though these claims are baseless. The truth is, fresh, unprocessed meat is not unhealthy, and red meat does not increase your risk of heart disease or diabetes. Other studies show that red meat has a fragile connection with cancer.

The high protein in red meat makes it a weight loss of fast food that you should add to your diet. Of course, the way you prepare the meat matters, but still, the facts are clear – you can enjoy your steak and even lose weight.

Those in a low-carb diet in particular should eat a good share of meats, even fatty meats, since all their calories come from fats. However, if you have a high carb diet, then it is best to stick to lean meats.

Whole Eggs

Happily, entire eggs are starting to reappear in healthy diets and are slowly getting over the bad reputation they have acquired through the years. Contrary to common belief, whole eggs are not necessarily rotten for you and are full of many essential vitamins and nutrients. Eggs are also rich in antioxidants and quality proteins, vitamins, and minerals.

A study conducted on 30 overweight women showed that choosing an egg-based breakfast increased satiety, which made participants eat less for the rest of the day. Another study showed that, compared to bagels, an egg breakfast had a higher increase in weight loss.

The great thing about eggs is that they are so versatile. You can add a handful of chopped leafy greens to your omelet or make boiled eggs part of your protein creamy salad.

Beans and Legumes

Although all grains and legumes do have some nutritional value, not all of them are ideal for weight loss. Nevertheless, adding these two foods to your diet will always offer health benefits. Let’s talk about beans first.

Beans are rich in fiber and protein but low in calories, making them just what you need for weight loss.

One study found that people on a high fiber diet, including beans, got hungry less often and, as a result, lost three pounds in a month. Another study showed that including grains in your diet resulted in better nutrition and lower body weight, especially around the belly.

Legumes contain resistant starch and soluble fiber, which feed your good gut bacteria and promote good colon health. One cup of legumes provides a wide range of vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, potassium, folate, and iron. Additional benefits of beans include lowering cholesterol levels and reducing the risk of a heart attack.

Full Fat Yogurt

This dairy product, created by fermenting milk, is one of the best weight-loss friendly snacks. Yogurt has the right amount of protein, which may help reduce the number of calories you consume throughout the day. Researchers found that subjects who snacked on yogurt were less hungry and consumed 100 calories less than those who opted for low protein snacks.

Certain varieties of yogurt also contain live bacteria, which is beneficial for digestive health. To get the benefits of this type of yogurt, look for those that have live, active cultures.

Whole Grains

You may have heard endless negative information about cereals, but some types are reasonably healthy. For example, oats, brown rice, and quinoa will increase satiety and overall metabolic health. If you choose the right kind of whole grains, you get a lot of fiber and many nutrients.

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