HEALTH TALK: Foods to help you lose weight

Dr. Victor Emanuel MD
Dr. Victor Emanuel MD

This is the time of year when many of us might be tempted to eat a little (or a lot) more that we should. And then come early in the year, we try our best to shed those extra pounds we might put on.

I’m no nutritionist, or dietitian. They have their job and I’ll leave them to it, like I say to many of you who’ve asked me about foods, dieting and weight loss, and such. But I do happen to know more than I may let on about a lot of things regarding foods; I happen to do a fair bit of research.

And so it is that I know something about ‘bad’ foods that are good for weight loss, some things that may even run contrary to what you’ve always thought or were told by granny or mommy or maybe even a health professional or the media. So here’s a discussion: “Bad” Foods Can Help You Lose Fat.

Seductive foods seem to lurk at every turn, especially when you’re trying to lose weight. But many foods that have gotten a bad rap aren’t so terrible after all. Learn which tempting treats can actually help you lose weight and keep it off.


When it comes to healthy eating, few foods have sparked as much debate as eggs. The latest research suggests an egg a day is safe and nutritious for most adults – and if you eat that egg for breakfast, you’ll boost your odds of losing weight. The reason: Eggs are packed with protein, which takes time to digest. Eating protein in the morning keeps your stomach full, so you eat less during the rest of the day. The research also says that cholesterol is not an issue with eggs, except you were to eat five, ten a day. You get the picture.


For years, health experts have been admonishing us to eat less red meat. But steak is not always bad for the waistline. In fact, a lean cut of beef has barely more saturated fat than a similar sized skinless chicken breast. Like eggs, steak is loaded with protein and can keep you feeling full longer. To get plenty of protein with less fat, choose tenderloin, sirloin, or extra lean cuts – and limit portions to the size of your palm.


Talk about a bad reputation – the term “pork” is used to describe all kinds of excess, so it’s no wonder dieters often steer clear. Here’s a case where the meat itself is not what it used to be. Today’s cuts of pork tenderloin are 31% leaner than 20 years ago. That makes this white meat a lean source of protein with benefits similar to those of lean beef.


Instead of avoiding pasta when you’re dieting, make the switch to whole grain and keep your portions small. Research suggests people who eat several servings of whole-grain foods per day are more likely to slim down and maintain healthy weights. According to one study, eating whole grains rather than refined grains can also help burn belly fat.


Nuts may be high in fat, but it’s the good kind. And they are also rich in nutrients, protein, and fiber, which can help stabilize blood sugar. Sure, you’ll get a few extra grams of fat from munching on a handful of nuts, buts it’s worth it if it helps you avoid reaching for cookies or other sweets. Even peanut butter can be a dieter’s friend. Studies show small amounts of this favorite food can control hunger without causing weight gain.


Dieters often try to cut calories by nixing calcium-rich dairy foods, but some studies suggest this is a mistake. One theory is that the body burns more fat when it gets enough calcium, so eating low-fat cheese, yogurt, and milk actually contribute to weight loss. Calcium supplements don’t seem to yield the same benefits, so high-calcium diets may have other factors at work as well.


Coffee only falls in the “bad” category when you drink too much of it or mix in cream, sugar or flavored syrups. If you drink it black, you get a metabolism boost without added fat and calories. Drink it skinny: Stir in skimmed milk for added calcium and vitamin D, and artificial sweetener or one teaspoon of sugar.

Bad Foods – Good Portions

Just about any “bad” food can be part of your weight loss plan if you stick to small enough portions. In fact, dietitians advise against barring your favorite treats. Depriving yourself of the foods you crave could set you up for failure. A better strategy is to set limits on quantity – for example, one chocolate truffle a day – and stick to them.

Let me take this opportunity to wish you all a very merry Christmas. May you be filled with the spirit of the Creator through the season and the coming year. And may you enjoy good health, peace, prosperity and success in all spheres of your lives for the entire New Year and beyond.

See you soon.


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  1. cynthie
    December 21, 2013

    Thanks for the info great tips. Havea bless day

  2. Peeping Tom
    December 20, 2013

    Another practical and important contribution by the doc. Thank you.

  3. Anonymous
    December 20, 2013

    Thanks Doc keep on keeping on, one of your patient in California, happy holidays to you and your family

  4. Master-B
    December 20, 2013

    Thanks Doc for the healthy eating tips. Surely came at a good time. Merry Xmas and a happy new year to everyone.

  5. Anonymous
    December 20, 2013

    Thank you doc. i will be home early next year to see you, wish you and your family a merry christmas.

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