3 Small Diet Tweaks With Big Weight-Loss Benefits

Eat well without feeling deprived.

Medically reviewed in April 2021

When you think of trying to lose weight, what comes to mind? Feeling hungry all the time, eating foods that taste like cardboard, never having another bowl of ice cream? 

Not necessary. 

In fact, making drastic changes to your diet, especially ones that aren’t sustainable, can set you up for mealtime misery and yo-yo dieting. Instead, try these research-backed tricks that can help you cut calories, make smarter food choices, and slim down.

Be smart about fruit
Many fruits are high in natural sugars and carbohydrates, which may sound like a recipe for weight gain, but it doesn’t mean you need to banish them from your diet. A 2016 review of research published in the journal Nutrients found that not only does eating fruit not automatically lead to weight gain, but it may have weight-loss benefits.

Fruits are filled with fiber, water, and a variety of vitamins and nutrients, and they can increase feelings of satiety, all part of the recipe for good weight management.

Tip: Stick with fruits with high water content so you can eat more of them without worries. For about 100 calories, have one medium-size apple, one cup of grapes, 2 cups of strawberries, or 2 cups of watermelon. 

Ditch the white bread, for good
Eating white bread is an unhealthy rut to be stuck in because it lacks the filling and healthful fiber, minerals, and other nutrients found in darker, whole-grain breads. But there’s another reason to say no thanks to refined grains like white bread.

A 2014 study published in BMC Public Health looked at the eating habits of more than 9,200 Spanish adults and found that those who ate white bread—and had two or more portions per day—were 40 percent more likely to become overweight or obese than those who ate one serving or less of white bread per week. Adults who ate both white and whole-grain breads weren’t at increased risk for weight gain.

Tip: Challenge yourself to ditch white bread for 10 days and see how much you really miss it. Try some whole grain options instead. You’ll boost both your health and weight loss efforts. 

Pump up the volume
Foods that are whipped or puffed with air can make you feel satisfied without a lot of calories. The idea is that the food’s volume—the amount of space it takes up—can help with satiety.

Take popcorn (but hold the melted butter): It’s light and airy, so you end up eating about a third fewer calories than you would with an equivalent amount of more calorie-dense snacks, like potato chips. If you use cream cheese or other spreads, go for the whipped variety. They have fewer calories and fat per volume of measurement than regular varieties.

Tip: Try whipping air into eggs for fluffier omelets. To get maximum volume, mix them in a blender. When you’re ready to cook, don’t hold back on loading them up with nutrient-dense but calorie-light vegetables.

Article sources open article sources

Sharma SP, Chung HJ, Kim HJ, Hong ST. Paradoxical effects of fruit on obesity. Nutrients. 2016;8(10).
de la Fuente-Arrillaga C, Martinez-Gonzalez MA, Zazpe I, Vazquez-Ruiz Z, Benito-Corchon S, Bes-Rastrollo M. Glycemic load, glycemic index, bread and incidence of overweight/obesity in a Mediterranean cohort: the SUN project. BMC Public Health. 2014;14:1091.

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