Losing weight can seem impossible, and for those of us with extra-slow metabolism, it often feels like diet and exercise just can’t cut it. Everyone from nutritionists to casual health enthusiasts have searched for shortcuts and cheats to help ramp up the calorie-burning process, and while most of these efforts lead nowhere, some foods can actually affect the ways in which our metabolisms function—making those foods the best hacks to lose weight for good.
While a “miracle food” that encourages rapid weight loss doesn’t exist, we rounded up some of the best foods and hacks you can try with them to lose weight. These products, assembled with the help of Dr. Candice Seti, Psy.D., CPT, CNC and Samantha Cassetty, MS, RD, advisor to Performance Kitchen, won’t end up changing your body overnight. But with their help, you can boost your diet to help burn off any extra pounds and finally lose the weight for good.
Make your food spicy.
“Peppers don’t just have a burning taste in your mouth; they help burn calories too!” Dr. Seti says. “The capsaicin in peppers creates a thermogenic effect in your body that helps torch calories well after you’ve finished eating the peppers.”
If you love some extra spice in your food, you have your work cut out for you. Add in some peppers to speed up the dieting process next time you want to keep extra calories out of your system. Plus, did you know chili peppers are The One Food Could Lower Your Risk of Disease?
Snack on almonds.
“Like other systems in your body, your metabolic system requires essential fatty acids to function properly,” Dr. Seti says. “Almonds are an excellent way to get those much needed essential fatty acids. Remember that though almonds are nutritious they are calorie dense, so be mindful of your serving size.”
In the proper portions, these nuts can do wonders and the results don’t lie. To get a rounded serving of nutrients that keep you on track to make your weight loss goals, feel free to go nuts over these treats! Here’s What the Perfect Food Portion Sizes Actually Look Like.
Start your day with grapefruit.
You may not have guessed it, but increasing your intake of grapefruit can work miracles for your metabolism.
“Though the ‘grapefruit diet’ was just a fad diet, grapefruit does actually possess some unique weight loss benefits,” Dr. Seti says. “A compound in grapefruit helps to reduce insulin levels which in turn helps prevent fat storage.”
The added benefit of some extra fiber can’t hurt, and downing one grapefruit can make you feel full just from the fiber content alone. Here’s why fiber is The #1 Thing To Eat Every Day To Lose Weight For Good.
Eat oatmeal for breakfast.
“Choose plain steel-cut oats to make a bowl of oatmeal that will fill you up and boost your metabolism,” Dr. Seti says. “Because the fiber in oatmeal takes more work for your body to digest, it causes your metabolism to burn more calories than many other foods do. Additionally, oats are known as a slow-burning carbohydrate, meaning they will leave you feeling full longer which can help deter overeating.”
Next time you question whether you can start your morning without your bowl of oatmeal, don’t second-guess yourself. This powerful breakfast and snack can make any day great. You can even top it with one of these 11 Healthy Oatmeal Toppings That Help You Lose Weight.
Add broccoli as a side.
Broccoli works wonders for our health in so many ways, but now we can add metabolism hack to the full list.
“In addition to its many other health benefits like fighting off the harmful effects of free radicals, broccoli also aids in supporting your metabolism,” Dr. Seti says. “Broccoli provides a low calorie, easily utilized source of calcium. Studies have shown that calcium helps the metabolism to run more efficiently.”
Drink coffee. Yes, really.
Everyone loves starting their day with a nice cup of coffee, and now you can indulge even more in this smooth beverage.
Next time you wonder if you should reach for that second cup, take the plunge and supercharge your day with this diet boost. You can even whip up one of these 12 Tastiest Homemade Coffee Drinks From a Nutritionist.
Drink green tea in the afternoon.
“Green tea is a star of the weight loss world for good reason,” Dr. Seti says. “The compound EGCG found in green tea helps to burn fat.”
Whether you want to relax with a hot cup of green tea or just want to feel refreshed, this beverage keeps proving its worth to anyone who wants to feel healthy and happy. Here are 7 Amazing Benefits of Drinking Green Tea
Sip on water throughout the day.
“It doesn’t get much easier than sipping on water,” Dr. Seti says. “Water helps keep you hydrated, which helps keep your metabolism running optimally. If plain water doesn’t appeal to you, try infusing your water with fruit or herbs.”
There are no two ways about it—you need to stay hydrated to lose weight and water can only make you shed calories faster. Next time you want an extra boost, go straight for your water bottle. Here’s How Much Water You Need to Drink for Weight Loss.
Add beans to your meals.
“There are many reasons why these superfoods can make it easier to reach or maintain a healthier weight, but among them is the fact that your body may not absorb all of the calories from them,” Cassetty says. “[Try] them in foods you already like, for instance, by adding black beans to tacos.”
When you need that extra push, beans can take your day to the next level and make you feel great. Whether you need some extra fiber, protein, or iron, beans won’t let you down.
“[These] plant-based proteins can give you a metabolic edge,” Cassetty said. “Findings from 21 studies suggest that including about one serving of pulses [such as lentils] per day resulted in slight weight loss, even though the study diets were designed for weight maintenance.”
When studies show how great a food item is for weight loss, it leaves no doubt that they can do some incredible things. Keep your body fit and tight with lentils next time you need to slim down.
Sprinkle on some walnuts.
When you feel ready to take the plunge and lose some weight, walnuts can help with just about anything.
“One study published in Nutrition showed that healthy, young adults who regularly consume foods that contain polyunsaturated fats (PUFA), like walnuts, may experience favorable changes in appetite hormones associated with hunger and satiety,” Cassetty says. “Participants who consumed a PUFA-rich diet had a significant decrease in fasting ghrelin, a hormone that increases hunger… these hormone changes could help with better appetite control, and therefore, better weight control.”
Don’t be afraid of whole grains.
You’ve heard whole grains can strengthen your overall nutrition, now get ready to accept these filling foods as a surefire way to charge up your metabolism.
“Instead of shunning carbs, choose your carbs wisely,” Cassetty said. “One study found that whole grains can help you burn more calories, which might account for the fact that these grains are also linked with healthier body weights. In the study, people who consumed whole grains burned about 100 more calories per day compared to those eating refined grains. Trade your white bread for whole wheat bread and swap white rice for brown rice.”
Pile your plates with fibrous vegetables.
“You need about 2 1/2 cups of veggies every day, but only 10% of Americans meet this target,” Cassetty explained. “Upping your veggie intake is one of the best things you can do for your health and your metabolism. Study after study shows that increasing your veggie consumption reduces your odds of becoming overweight or makes it easier to lose weight.”
“One reason is because of their high fiber content,” Cassetty says. “Fiber-filled foods help keep you full, and they promote a gut microbiome that positively impacts your metabolism.”
Everyone knows vegetables can make or break any eating plan, but who could have guessed how much they would help with weight loss and regulation! Next time you need to shed some pounds, going back to the basics can keep you in shape and ready for anything your weight loss journey can throw at you. Here are 12 Surprising Vegetables That Become Healthier When They’re Cooked.