Healthy Foods to Keep the Pounds Off

If you've been trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, you're not alone. An estimated 69 percent of all adults in the United States are overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That means most people would benefit from losing a few pounds.

But how? For many people who have tried to lose weight, it can seem like a never-ending cycle of weight loss and weight gain. And that can be incredibly frustrating. It's where the term yo-yo dieting came from. However, the most effective strategy for weight loss and weight management is a combination of regular exercise and a healthy diet.

For exercise, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least five days a week to maintain your weight. For weight loss, aim for 60 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week.

Eating to lose weight or maintain your weight also has some general rules you should follow. IN a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers followed 121,000 people for 24 years. They tracked their eating habits and measured changes in weight over time. And they found that the people who maintained a healthy weight or lost weight, included specific foods in their diet more often than those who packed on the pounds.

Healthy foods you should eat to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight include:

  • Nuts
  • Peanut butter
  • Fish
  • Yogurt
  • Low-fat cheese
  • Eggs
  • Fruits and vegetables

Foods to avoid to prevent tipping the scale in the wrong direction include:

  • Sugar-sweetened beverages
  • White bread
  • White rice
  • White potatoes
  • Red and processed meats
  • Cereals, breads, and pastas made from refined grains or starchy carbohydrates

Researchers found that eating too many foods from the list of what to avoid caused rapid spikes in blood sugar levels. These foods are measured based on the Glycemic Index, which is used to measure the impact of a food on blood sugar levels. Researchers found that people who ate more foods with a high Glycemic Index gained more weight during the study than those who didn't.

If you want to lose weight, or maintain a healthy weight, your exercise habits and food choices matter. For help planning healthy meals, check out MagicKitchen.com. Many of our meals include foods on the what-to-eat list identified in the study.