For years you’ve been told to cut carbs if you want to lose weight. The potato-chip variety, sure — but not these guys.
Whole grains — yes, even bread — are magic for your waistline. In a study, individuals who ate whole grains while on a lower-calorie diet for 12 weeks lost significantly more belly fat than those who were given processed grains. What’s more, having a regular helping may extend your life — in part, by shielding you from heart disease.
A study found that eating pulses — a family of legumes that includes chickpeas, beans, peas, and lentils — can prevent overeating and help keep your weight in check.
A study found that adults who ate at least 30 grams of fiber per day lost almost five pounds in a year, without making any other changes to their diet. A medium pear packs six grams of the stuff — more than most fruits, including apples.
This powerhouse grain contains nearly twice as much fiber as its peers, but it’s also a complete protein — meaning, you can skip the saturated fats in, say, a steak and still get the amino acids your body needs to build muscle. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn.
Each handful is packed with whole grains and fiber, and it shows: In one study, volunteers ate fewer calories and reported feeling more satisfied when snacking on popcorn than they did when eating potato chips.
They’re rich in soluble fiber, which has been shown to reduce the deep, visceral fat that can plump your waist and put you at increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.
Just one of these tasty root vegetables contain about 27 grams of carbs, but don’t let that dissuade you: They’ve been shown to increase levels of the hormone adiponectin, which helps regulate blood sugar, so your metabolism works more efficiently. Sweet potatoes are also fat-free and have fewer calories and less sodium than white potatoes.
Pasta might seem off limits, but the whole-wheat kind has actually been linked with a lower body mass index — at least when it’s part of a traditional Mediterranean diet, stocked with plant-based foods and healthy fats. Stick with a single serving of whole-wheat noodles (roughly 1/2 cup, uncooked), topped with olive oil and lots of vegetables.
You really should eat your peas. A half cup delivers about four grams each of protein and fiber — so already, peas keep you feeling full — but the legume is also an excellent source of zinc, which has been linked with higher levels of the satiety hormone leptin.
Oatmeal has a reputation for being a belly-warming comfort food, but that doesn’t mean it’s without virtue, Lenchewski says. Oats’ complex carbs are super filling, so you’re less likely to overindulge after you eat them. Just steer clear of instant oatmeal with added sweeteners, she says: Instead, use cinnamon, almond butter, or a teaspoon of coconut sugar for flavor.
Making the switch from white to brown rice will do your body a whole lot of good. Since white rice is stripped of most of its nutritional value, eating brown instead will give you a healthy dose of fiber, magnesium, and vitamin B-6, all while filling you up.