With so much contradictory information out there about weight loss and dieting, it’s no wonder people find it difficult to make wise, healthy choices.
However, one important piece of advice that all nutritionists agree on is that combining different types of food groups in the right proportions is best for weight loss – for example, proteins mixed with healthy, high-fiber foods. Of course, there is no one-size-fits-all diet that guarantees weight loss because everyone is different. But your overall food choices, especially the balance of macros like protein and fiber, can greatly affect your weight loss journey.
Why is protein good for weight loss?
Protein is an essential nutrient that supports multiple bodily functions and overall health. In addition, studies show that protein-rich foods can help you feel full for extended periods of time, thus aiding in weight loss.
Protein slows digestion, preventing overeating and reducing total caloric intake. If this calorie saving occurs over several days, there is potential for successful weight loss!
The thermogenic effect is another primary factor behind protein and its role in weight loss. The “thermic effect of food” is the energy your body uses to digest, absorb and metabolize food. Protein has a higher TEF than carbohydrates and fats, which means the body burns more calories processing protein than processing carbohydrates or fats. Therefore, including protein-rich foods in your weight loss strategy can help you burn more calories as part of the thermic effect.
The recommended protein for weight loss varies from person to person. For the average person, 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight each day is enough. However, the recommended amount is around 1.2-1.7 grams of protein per kilogram for people who exercise regularly based on the intensity of exercise/physical activity.
Why is fiber good for weight loss?
There are two types of fiber: insoluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber slows digestion, giving you a steady supply of energy. It makes you feel full and may help you stay satisfied for longer.
As a result, you eat less and you’re less likely to reach for a bag of chips or other snack an hour after your meal. A study shows that dietary fiber intake promotes weight loss in overweight or obese adults who eat a calorie-restricted diet.
However, when you eat foods that lack fiber, your blood sugar drops, causing hunger, overeating, and getting more calories than you need.
Before you buy a packaged food that looks healthy and claims to be high in fiber, read the label carefully and check the actual fiber content. Or you can simply use 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 an accurate breakdown of macronutrients while scanning through the largest database of over 10,000 Indian foods.
High-fiber foods help you lose weight
Beans and legumes
Beans and legumes are the best choices for boosting your fiber intake. You can eat lentils, kidney beans, navy beans, chickpeas, and black beans.
These beans provide between 10 and 40% DV of fiber. For example, 1/2 cup of cooked navy beans provides 34% of your recommended daily fiber.
Are you craving something crunchy? Crunchy roasted chickpeas are a protein-rich, fiber-rich option instead of reaching for potato chips. Or adding just half a cup of edamame to your list of mid-morning snacks can fill you up with four grams of fiber.
Whole grain bread
One slice of wholegrain bread contains more than 4 or 5 grams of fiber. Fortified whole grain bread comes with more than 10 grams of fiber per slice. However, multigrain bread means there are different types of grains. Therefore, choose bread with whole grains as the first ingredient.
Unsalted, air-popped popcorn is relatively fiber-friendly. Plus, popcorn without unwanted calories or artificial flavors is a healthy snack for a weight loss diet.
Solid cut oats
Steel cut oats offer twice the amount of fiber than rolled oats. You get about 4.1 grams per 1/4 cup, which is about 15% of the daily value. You can replace it with 1 cup of bran flakes, which provides nearly 6 grams of fiber.
Almonds and other nuts
Raw, natural or not roasted almonds They contain nearly 4 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein per 1/4 cup (handful). You can add them to your oatmeal, salad, smoothie or yogurt to get a big dose of fiber into your day.
Chia, flaxseed 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.
Fresh, whole fruit is high in fiber and rich in water and antioxidants. However, drinking the juice instead of eating the whole fruit with pulp will not guarantee the same dose of fiber.
Here are some high-fiber fruits:
- Apple (medium size, healthy skin): 4.4 grams
- Pears (medium-sized, skin intact): 5.5 grams
- Orange (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 and chopped): 5.14 grams
- Medium sweet potato (baked with skin on): 3.76 grams
- Carrots (1 cup raw): 3.58 grams
- Medium russet potatoes (baked with skin on): 3.98 grams
- Artichoke hearts (½ cup cooked): 4.79 grams
Foods rich in protein help you lose weight
Lean meat and poultry
Lean cuts and skinless poultry are high-protein 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 pilot study showed that women who ate lean meat and those who restricted all red meat had the same weight loss, but the group that ate lean meat reported less cravings for meat.
Fatty fish, such as salmon or mackerel, provide higher amounts of protein and omega-3 essential fatty acids. But if weight loss is your goal, make sure the fish is not fried, breaded, or deep-fried.
egg It is one of the most popular, versatile and inexpensive sources of protein. One 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 great dose of protein.
Beans and legumes are popular protein choices for vegetarians and vegans. You get about 18 grams of protein and about 16 grams of fiber in 1 cup of lentils.
A study showed that adding beans, lentils, and other legumes to the diet resulted in modest weight loss without deliberately restricting calories. You can also combine different plant proteins, such as beans and nuts, to get all the essential amino acids your body needs.
While high-protein dairy products are healthy, those looking to lose weight should practice moderation. For added benefits, eat fermented dairy products such as plain nonfat yogurt, low-fat Greek yogurt and cottage cheese. Always choose fat-free or low-fat milk or dairy products as your dose of protein.
Beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole fruits, vegetables, and lean meats are rich in fiber and protein. However, the important thing to realize is that eating more protein or just fiber won’t automatically help you lose weight. Excessive consumption can lead to weight gain, as can eating excess carbohydrates or fats, so the key to successful weight loss is mindful eating.
Balance protein and fiber the professional way
Depending on various factors such as age, weight, gender, activity level, or medical conditions, each person needs different amounts of dietary fiber and protein. However, it is essential not to overdo it with protein or fiber, which may mean neglecting other food groups that you need, such as complex carbohydrates and healthy fats.
With a HealthifyMe subscription, you can get detailed insights into your current eating habits and how the protein or high-fiber foods you eat affect your health and well-being.
To see what works best for your weight loss plan, you can experiment with different ratios of macronutrients, such as increasing protein and decreasing carbs. However, with the guidance of a health coach and nutritionist, HealthifyMe, it will be safer to make such dietary changes.
In addition, they will ensure that any dietary change suits your personal needs and is easy to maintain. This way, you can make sure that you are getting the most out of your diet and that you are enjoying it too!
Above all, the most important factor you should remember is your blood glucose level and its response to your diet. Whether you are trying to lose weight or not, keep your glucose levels in the normal range. HealthifyPRO comes with a continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) device, which helps alert you of any sudden drops or spikes in your glucose levels.
For example, oatmeal is a staple breakfast for weight loss. But you won’t know if it’s causing your glucose to spike without real-time data. So that’s exactly where HealthifyPRO CGM comes in. Real-time insights and alerts from CGM give quick insight into what you need to change or how you respond to a particular food.
Here are some other healthy ways you can increase your protein and fiber intake:
- Choose Greek yogurt because it contains twice as much protein as traditional yogurt.
- Include protein-rich foods with every main meal of the day.
- Choose lean cuts of meat.
- Eat nuts, seeds and low-fat cheese to increase your protein.
- Enjoy more whole grains such as buckwheat, oatmeal, couscous, wild rice, brown rice, millet and turnips.
- Eat non-starchy vegetables because they are low in calories and high in fiber.
- Eat whole fruits and vegetables, not juice.
- Consider taking a supplement if your protein and fiber intake through diet is low.
- Replace white or all-purpose flour with higher-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 just losing weight. Consuming the recommended amount of protein and fiber along with other food groups supports overall good health.
You can adjust the amount of protein and fiber you eat according to your own needs. HealthifyMe and Pro Plans can help you focus on eating the right ratio of protein and fiber, provide real-time guidance for making healthier lifestyle choices, manage nutrition, track calories, monitor glucose response, and more.