By Dr. Alexander Orlov
The idea of losing weight by eating seems counter-intuitive, but when we take a closer look, weight loss depends on WHAT you eat, not necessarily how much you eat. As the mainstream diet becomes increasingly comprised of processed foods, high-fructose corn syrup, and non-organic produce, it is important to focus on where your food comes from, and most importantly, what's in it. Here are a few nutrients that will help you lose weight fast, and keep it off.
Studies show that people who consume a healthy amount of Omega-3s are able to burn fat 26% more effectively than those who do not. Omega-3's help to significantly lower insulin levels in the blood, making one's own fat available to burn as fuel. Lower insulin levels are also important in the prevention of diabetes.
Suggested foods containing Omega-3s: Tofu, enriched eggs, shrimp, salmon, tuna, walnuts, flax, and flaxseed oil.
Sufficient intake of calcium has been shown to reduce the incidence of weight gain in postmenopausal women by 11%, and increased the likelihood for women to maintain and even lose weight, according to a recent study by the Women's Health Initiative, which included over 36,000 women in the U.S. aged 50 to 79. Weight loss and regulation was especially effective in women who were already deficient in these crucial nutrients.
Suggested foods containing Calcium: Almonds, Oats, dark leafy vegetables (such as kale), salmon, and mackerel.
Vitamin D helps aid in proper thyroid function. A condition called hypothyroidism, or when the thyroid gland is underactive, has been linked to vitamin D deficiency. A person who is vitamin D deficient will have more difficulty losing weight. Through proper thyroid function, vitamin D helps regulate the metabolism and can aid in weight loss and weight management.
Suggested foods containing Vitamin D: Soy milk, tofu, salmon, mackerel, catfish, and fish oil.
Eating foods that are high in fiber will not only provide the body with valuable nutrients, but are typically low in calories, and have a high satiety point; in other words, they make you feel more full, which lowers food intake and helps you lose weight faster. Additionally, foods high in insoluble fiber, or fiber that won't dissolve in water, help to pull carbohydrates along the digestive track quicker, keeping blood sugar levels even, which also helps with weight loss.
Suggested foods containing Fiber: Brown rice, oatmeal and oat bran, barley, whole grain breads and cereals, carrots, apples, pears, citrus fruits, artichokes and beans.
Vitamin B12 speeds up the metabolism, allowing the body to burn calories at a faster rate. It is also sometimes known as the "energy vitamin" because it increases the amount of hemoglobin in the blood. Hemoglobin helps red blood cells transport oxygen to all parts of the body. An increase in hemoglobin makes fuel consumption more efficient, which produces a boost in energy. Increased energy helps aid weight loss by reducing stress and depression, helping people stay motivated with their diets, and increasing the ability to exercise.
Suggested foods containing Vitamin B12: Nutritional yeast with B12, Soy milk fortified with B12, dairy products, and eggs.
Dr. Orlov is the medical director of Lufkin Health and Wellness Clinic. He is a physician with over 17 years experience practicing medicine. He received his medical degree in 1992 from the University of North Texas Health Sciences Center, and obtained post-graduate training in surgical specialties at Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii.