3 Fabulous Foods for Weight Loss

There's no one food that can magically transform an overweight body into an ideal figure. Eating plans that consist solely of grapefruit aren't realistic or effective, nor are plans that promote eating only cabbage soup or special "weight-loss cookies."
But there are foods that are beneficial to eat on the journey to a slimmer body.

In a 14-day study, researchers at the Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition in Minneapolis investigated the diets of approximately 3,000 women ages 19 and older, and found that the women who consumed three or more servings of yogurt over the two-week period had a 15 percent lower body mass index (BMI) than those who did not eat any yogurt.

The weight-management potential of yogurt may come from the fact that, while it can be high in calories, it's still a relatively healthy snack food that promotes satiety. The women who ate yogurt regularly were also more likely to have higher overall intakes of nutrients including calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B-12, magnesium, and phosphorous.

Oatmeal is packed with fiber, and there are several ways that dietary fiber may reduce the risk of weight gain or obesity. Dietary fiber, for example, slows digestion, prolonging a feeling of fullness, and foods high in fiber are usually low in fat and calories.

Fiber's weight-loss benefit comes from the feeling of fullness it gives without adding many extra calories. Fiber may also reduce the absorption of fat to some extent. As an added benefit, oatmeal helps to lower "bad" LDL cholesterol.

That said, it's best to avoid instant oatmeal, which may contain added sugar, and instead go for hearty, steel-cut oats topped with fresh berries or sliced bananas.

Soups contain a high percentage of water and can help dieters feel full quickly. Some health experts recommend eating a bowl of broth-based soup before a meal in order to curb hunger.

Nutritionist Barbara Rolls, Ph.D., created the Volumetrics diet, which encourages dieters to consume a low-fat soup or salad before a meal to take the edge off their hunger.

Soup can also serve as a low-calorie meal, with added vegetables to increase the nutrient content. And it's easy to make a large batch once a week and enjoy for several days. But remember, weight-loss benefits only apply to broth-based, low-calorie soups, not heavy, cream-based chowders and stews.