With so much conflicting information about weight loss and dieting, it’s no wonder people find it hard to make sensible and healthy choices.
However, a crucial tip that all nutritionists agree on is that combining different types of food groups in the right proportions is best for weight loss, for example, protein combined with healthy, high-fiber foods. Of course, no one-size-fits-all diets guarantee weight loss because everyone is different. But your overall food choices, especially the balance of macros like protein and fiber, can significantly impact your weight loss journey.
Why is protein good for weight loss?
Protein is an essential macronutrient that supports multiple bodily functions and overall health. Additionally, studies say that protein-rich foods can help you feel fuller for a longer period of time, thus helping with weight loss.
Protein slows down digestion, prevents overeating and reduces your overall calorie intake. If these calorie savings occur over several days, there is a chance for successful weight loss!
Thermic effect is another essential factor behind protein and its role in weight loss. The “thermal effect of food” is the energy your body uses to digest, absorb and metabolize food. Protein has a higher TEF than carbohydrates and fat, meaning the body burns more calories to process protein than it does to process carbohydrates or fat. Therefore, incorporating protein-rich foods into your weight loss strategy can help you burn more calories as part of the thermic effect.
The protein recommended for weight loss varies from person to person. For an average sedentary person, 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight per day is sufficient. However, the recommended amount is about 1.2-1.7 grams of protein per kilogram for people who exercise regularly based on their intensity of exercise/physical activity.
Why is fiber good for weight loss?
There are two types of fiber: insoluble and soluble. The soluble fiber slows down the rate of digestion, giving you a steady supply of energy. It makes you feel full and can help you stay satisfied longer.
As a result, you eat less and grab a bag of chips or other snacks less quickly an hour later after your meal. A studies shows that dietary fiber intake promotes weight loss in overweight or obese adults following a calorie-restricted diet.
However, when you eat foods that lack fiber, your blood sugar levels crash, leaving you hungry, overeating, and consuming more calories than you need.
Before buying a seemingly healthy-looking packaged food that claims to be high in fiber, read the label carefully and check the actual fiber content. Or you can simply use the eight lifestyle trackers with a HealthifyMe subscription. You can log your meals on the nutrition tracker to monitor your protein, carbohydrate, fat and fiber intake.
HealthifyMe’s trackers and AI-powered system provide accurate macronutrient breakdowns as they scan through the largest database of over 10,000 Indian foods.
High fiber foods to help you lose weight
Beans and legumes
Beans and legumes are the best options for increasing your fiber intake. You can eat lentils, kidney beans, edamame, white beans, chickpeas, and black beans.
These beans provide between 10 and 40% DV of fiber. For example, half a cup of cooked navy beans provides 34% of your daily recommended fiber.
Craving something crunchy? Crispy roasted chickpeas are a high protein and high fiber option instead of reaching for crisps. Or adding just a half-cup of edamame to your mid-morning snack list can help you get four grams of fiber.
Whole grain bread
One slice of real whole-grain bread contains more than 4 or 5 grams of fiber. Enriched whole-wheat bread comes with more than 10 grams of fiber per slice. However, multigrain bread means that different types of grains are present. So choose bread with whole wheat as the first ingredient.
Unsalted, air-popped popcorn is relatively high in fiber. Plus, with no unwanted calories or artificial flavors, air popcorn is a healthy snack for a weight loss diet.
Steel cut oats
Steel-cut oats provide twice the fiber than rolled oats. You’ll get about 4.1 grams per 1/4 cup, which is 15% DV. You can replace it with 1 cup of bran flakes, which provides almost 6 grams of fiber.
Almonds and other nuts
Raw, natural or unroasted almonds contain nearly 4 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein per one-quarter-cup serving (a handful). You can add them to your oatmeal, salad, smoothie or yogurt for a generous dose of fiber in your day.
Chia, flax or pomegranate seeds are superfoods packed with fiber. Sprinkle a spoonful of these nutrient-rich seeds into salads, smoothies or yogurt to reap the digestive benefits.
Very fresh fruit is high in fiber, high in water and rich in antioxidants. However, drinking the juice instead of eating the whole fruit with pulp does not guarantee the same dose of fiber.
Here are some fiber-rich fruits:
- Apple (medium size, with skin intact): 4.4 grams
- Pears (medium size, with skin intact): 5.5 grams
- Oranges (peeled): 4.42 grams
- Figs (3 medium): 4.35 grams
- Banana (peeled): 3.07 grams
- Avocado: 10-13 grams
Fiber rich vegetables
- Broccoli (1 cup cooked, chopped): 5.14 grams
- Medium sweet potato (baked, with skin): 3.76 grams
- Carrots (1 cup, raw): 3.58 grams
- Medium russet potato (baked, with skin): 3.98 grams
- Artichoke hearts (½ cup cooked): 4.79 grams
High protein foods to help you lose weight
Lean meat and poultry
Lean cuts of meat and skinless poultry are excellent protein-rich food choices for an overall healthy weight-loss diet. In addition to protein, they provide essential micronutrients such as iron, vitamin B12, magnesium and potassium.
A 16-week weight loss trial studies showed that women who ate lean meats and those who restricted all red meat had similar weight loss, but the group who ate lean meats reported less cravings.
Fatty fish, such as salmon or mackerel, provide higher amounts of protein and essential omega-3 fatty acids. But if your goal is weight loss, make sure your fish isn’t breaded or battered and fried.
Eggs are one of the most popular, versatile and inexpensive protein sources. A whole egg contains about 6-7 grams of protein and other essential micronutrients. You can eat hard-boiled, scrambled, fried or poached eggs for a fantastic dose of protein.
Beans and legumes are popular protein choices for vegetarians and vegans. You’ll get about 18 grams of protein and about 16 grams of fiber in a cup of lentils.
A studies shows that adding beans, lentils and other legumes to the diet leads to modest weight loss without intentionally restricting calories. You can also combine different plant proteins, such as beans and nuts, to get all the essential amino acids your body needs.
Although high-protein dairy products are healthy, those who want to lose weight should exercise moderation. For added benefits, eat fermented dairy products such as plain low-fat yogurt, low-fat Greek yogurt, and cottage cheese. Always choose low-fat or low-fat milk or milk products as your protein dosage.
The HealthifyMe note
Beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole fruits, vegetables and lean meats are rich in fiber and protein. However, one important thing to realize is that simply eating more protein or fiber will not automatically help you lose weight. Consuming in excess can still lead to weight gain, just as eating excess carbs or fat would, which is why mindful eating is key to successful weight loss.
Balance your protein and fiber the pro way
Depending on various factors such as age, weight, gender, activity level or medical conditions, everyone needs different amounts of dietary fiber and protein. However, it’s crucial not to go overboard, as eating too much protein or fiber can mean neglecting other food groups you need, such as complex carbs and healthy fats.
With a HealthifyMe subscription, you get detailed insights into your current eating habits and how the protein or fiber-rich foods you eat affect your health and well-being.
To see what works best for your weight loss plan, experiment with different percentages of macronutrients, such as increasing your protein and dropping your carbs. However, under the guidance of a HealthifyMe health coach and nutritionist, it is safer to make such dietary changes.
In addition, they ensure that any change in the diet meets your personal wishes and is easy to maintain. This way you can be sure to get the most out of your diet and enjoy it too!
Above all, the most crucial factor to remember is your blood glucose level and response to your diet. Whether you’re trying to lose weight or not, keep your glucose levels in the normal range. HealthifyPRO comes with a continuous glucose monitor (CGM), which helps report sudden drops or rises in your glucose levels.
For example, oatmeal is a staple breakfast for weight loss. But you wouldn’t know if it’s causing a glucose spike without real-time data. So here’s exactly where HealthifyPRO CGM comes in. CGM’s real-time insights and alerts provide quick insight to understand what you need to change or how you react to a particular food.
Here are some other healthy ways you can boost your protein and fiber intake:
- Opt for Greek yogurt because it contains twice as much protein as traditional yogurt.
- Include protein-rich foods in every major meal you eat in a day.
- Choose lean cuts of meat.
- Munch on nuts, seeds, edamame, and low-fat cheese for a protein boost.
- Enjoy more whole grains such as buckwheat, oats, couscous, wild rice, brown rice, millet and teff.
- Eat non-starchy vegetables as they are low in calories and high in fiber.
- Eat whole fruits and vegetables, no juice.
- Consider taking a supplement if your dietary protein and fiber intake is low.
- Replace white or all-purpose flour with high-fiber flours, such as whole wheat, chickpea, buckwheat, and barley flours.
- Include plenty of legumes in your diet.
Healthy eating is different from dieting. It’s more than losing weight. Consuming the recommended amount of protein and fiber alongside other food groups supports overall good health.
You can adjust your protein and fiber intake to meet your specific needs. HealthifyMe and the Pro plans can help you focus on eating the right ratio of protein and fiber and provide real-time guidance on making healthier lifestyle choices, managing nutrition, tracking calories, monitoring the glucose response and more.