When it comes to diet foods, I consider two things essential:
- do they cover your nutritional needs?
- how filling are they are?
During a diet, it is critical to consume foods that will curb your hunger for an extended period of time.
Here are my most effective diet foods:
- Chicken breast: a lean protein that can be prepared in a variety of ways and it is easy to eat in office or on the go. An alternate would be tilapia.
- Flank steak: red meat is often being shunned during a diet but it has its benefits. Iron, zinc, and creatine will enable you to make it through your workouts with greater intensity, further leading to greater fat loss. The fats in red meat are also critical since they are building blocks for hormones such as testosterone and estrogen, that play a crucial role in maintaining a high metabolic rate.
- Eggs: I highly recommend eating eggs during a diet. They are a complete protein with many vitamins (D, E) and stearic acid. If your calorie count doesn’t allow for many whole eggs, mix them with egg whites in a 1:2 ratio. In general, all proteins are a great hunger-suppressant so it is advisable to consume them during a diet at every meal.
- Oats: a very filling complex carb, that is easy to prepare and even be kept at the office (just add water)
- Brown rice: a good alternative to oatmeal. It complements most meats and will keep insulin levels stable. By doing so, the dieter will not experience any hunger pangs.
- Nuts: it is critical to take in the right fats such as mono- and polyunsaturated. Nuts are a great and an easy way to achieve this. They also provide a certain amount of protein, which makes them an interesting choice for vegetarians. As for calorie content, granted it is high, but there is a loss of about 30% in the calories in nuts which can not be fully explained. The best available explanation is that their thermic expense is rather high during digestion.
- Avocado: another source of good fats and a good addition to salads, omelets, etc.
- Broccoli/lettuce/spinach/cauliflower: I label those free foods; due to their low caloric content, they can be consumed in unlimited quantities and they provide vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Plus, most of them are alkaline and will balance out the typical western diet which is more acidic.
- Asparagus: hardly any calories, very filling and a mild diuretic. The initial water loss can be very motivating for people to stay on the diet since they already lost a couple pounds.
- Grapefruit (whole fruit, not juice): there is some evidence that grapefruit itself is promoting fat loss but the evidence is questionable. However, grapefruits contain nargenin, which is a substance that blocks the metabolization of caffeine in the liver. Caffeine has fat burning properties which is why it is the main ingredient in many commercial fat burners. If consumed with grapefruit, one extends the active life of these products by 2-3 hours which over time sums up to greater fat loss.
In summary, the best diet is one you can stick to. If you can not stand chicken, find another lean protein. And yes, calories matter most, as there are no magic foods.
So keep cooking and training! If you like what you read, my book has more info along those lines.