14 Super Foods to Help Shed Pounds

The truth is you can lose weight eating just about any food. A nutrition professor at Kansas State University famously demonstrated this when he lost 27 pounds eating Twinkies alone.

Although it's possible to lose weight eating almost anything, some foods make it really difficult. Why? Because these foods create self-sustaining cravings. (A fact you're familiar with if you've ever consumed three too many bowls of cereal in one sitting). Processed carbs—like cereal, desserts, potato chips, pasta and bread—wreak havoc on your blood sugar, the appetite centers in the brain, and, ultimately, your waistline.

Some foods, however, do just the opposite. The following items pack a ton of nutrition into a relatively small number of calories while filling you up at the same time. Plus, every one of them has the added advantage of stabilizing your blood sugar, making it far less likely that you'll go on a waist-busting binge.

Rather than focusing on what not to eat, try building your diet around foods like the ones below. The only "side-effect" of this weight-loss plan is a major improvement in your overall health and well being.

More: Reach Your Weight-Loss Goal in 4 Steps

Beans: Fiber is the secret weapon in weight-control. It fills you up and prevents the blood sugar spikes that frequently lead to further hunger. No food on the planet supplies as much fiber as beans, typically 12 to 17 grams per cup. Beans are also a great source of protein and antioxidants. Research on the four areas of the globe (called "Blue Zones") where people routinely live to 100 in good health shows that beans are a staple in all of their diets.

Pumpkin: You may only know this vegetable for its central role in Thanksgiving celebrations, but it's also a fabulous weight-loss food. Plain old canned pumpkin is absolutely loaded with fiber (a whopping eight grams per serving). It's filling, it's delicious and it's one of the easiest foods in the world to prepare.

More: The Health Benefits of Pumpkin

Grapefruit: Turns out there may be a grain of truth to the infamous "grapefruit diet." In a recent study at the Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, researchers found that eating half a grapefruit before every meal helped people drop weight. As an added benefit, grapefruit contains cancer-fighting compounds, and red grapefruit has been shown to help lower triglycerides. Half of a grapefruit has only 39 calories. What's not to love?

Grass-Fed Beef: Meat is a great weight-loss food, but for a nutritionist, it's difficult to recommend, as it's so often loaded with antibiotics, steroids and hormones. Get grass-fed and avoid the unhealthy additives while reaping all the benefits. Higher protein diets are associated with weight loss for a variety of reasons: protein stimulates the metabolism, helps you feel fuller longer and decreases the desire to overeat. Additionally, grass-fed beef has higher levels of anti-inflammatories, a big plus for runners.

More: 3 Recipes for Sustainable Meats

Green Tea: Green tea is the ultimate weight loss beverage as it raises the metabolism by speeding up the rate at which fat is oxidized or "burned" in the cells. Added bonuses: green tea is rich in antioxidants, promotes heart health, aids digestion and can even help regulate blood sugar. Green tea also contains a natural relaxant, so it won't make you as jittery as coffee.

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