8 Best Foods to Eat for Weight Loss

8 of the best secret-weapon foods for weight loss.

—Brierley Wright, M.S., R.D.

Which are the best foods for weight loss? If you're trying to drop pounds, you probably already know the foods you eat are important. The best foods to eat for weight loss can boost your efforts and give you a little bit of an edge. Of course the foundation for successful weight loss is eating well and exercising, but if you want to power up your efforts, check out this cheat sheet of foods that do a little of the work for you. Research shows that these 8 top weight-loss foods are some of the best you can eat to help you lose weight.

Cheese & Spinach Stuffed Portobellos

1. Mushrooms

Research reports that when people ate mushroom-based entrees, they felt just as satisfied as when they'd eaten those same dishes made with beef—though they'd taken in a fraction of the calories and fat. Swap mushrooms for meat in a Portobello "Philly Cheese Steak" Sandwich and more marvelous mushroom recipes.

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Slimming Vegetarian Dinners
Meatless Monday: Vegetarian Recipes You Must Try

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2. Eggs

In one study, dieters who ate eggs for breakfast felt full for longer and lost more than twice as much weight as those who got the same amount of calories from a bagel for breakfast. Think beyond breakfast, too: eggs boost a salad's staying power and make for a satisfying snack. Here are two dozen easy recipe ideas for eggs.

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Satisfying Recipes with Hard-Boiled Eggs
Healthy Egg Recipes and Cooking Tips

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3. Apples

For a mere 95 calories, a medium apple contains 4 grams of fiber. And recent research, published in the Journal of Nutrition, suggests that boosting your fiber intake may help you to prevent weight gain—or even encourage weight loss. Find 15 fiber-rich recipes to lose weight here.

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Grab & Go High Fiber Breakfasts

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4. Low-Calorie Desserts

OK, so this isn't exactly a "health food," but we welcome the news that it may be easier to stick to your diet if it includes a little sweet treat. According to a new study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, banning sugary foods could lead to overeating. One reason may be that removing access to sweet foods stimulates the release of a molecule in your brain called corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF), produced when you're afraid, anxious or stressed, says Pietro Cottone, Ph.D., lead study author. And increased stress levels may lower your motivation to eat more nutritious foods, making it more likely that you'll binge on junk food. (Indulge a little with these 100-calorie sweet treats.)

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5. Soup

Research published in the journal Appetite has shown that people who start a meal with vegetable soup eat 20 percent fewer calories over the course of their meal. Here are 7 recipes to start your meal with and help you lose weight.

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Healthy Soup and Bread Recipes and Cooking Tips

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6. Oatmeal

Eating a breakfast made with "slow-release" carbohydrates, such as oatmeal or bran cereal, three hours before you exercise may help you burn more fat, suggests a recent study in the Journal of Nutrition. Here's why: in the study, eating "slow-release" carbohydrates didn't spike blood sugar as high as eating refined carbohydrates, such as white toast. In turn, insulin levels didn't spike as high and because insulin plays a role in signaling your body to store fat, having lower levels may help you burn fat. Want options beyond oatmeal? Here are 10 breakfast recipes to help you fight fat.

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Overnight Oatmeal
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7. Hot Chile Peppers

In one study, consuming a little hot pepper (in tomato juice or in capsules) 30 minutes before a meal helped study participants feel less hungry and eat about 10 percent less. Turn up the heat with these spicy recipes.

See How to Eat to Lose Weight

8. Almonds

Chew more to curb hunger. That's what researchers concluded in a recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in which they asked participants to chew a 2-ounce serving of almonds 10, 25 or 40 times. Participants got maximum satisfaction—they felt fuller longer—from the nuts when they chewed 40 times. Chewing more may cause a greater release of fat from the almonds, which triggers hormones that curb hunger, speculates Rick Mattes, Ph.D., R.D., professor of foods and nutrition at Purdue University, study author and an EatingWell advisor. (Find more energy-packed snacks here.)

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