When I started my intermittent fasting (IF) I had one primary goal - to lose over 30lbs within one year. I didn’t want to get into a crash diet that I could not sustain.
I was determined to get back my body in a healthy and sustainable way. One of the questions I was asking was the best foods I could take and still realize my goals. I did my research and experimented with various foods.
Here are the 10 food groups that will help you in your IF journey.
But before that, let’s look at the relationship between satiety, insulin resistance, and weight loss and how that informs the type of food we choose.
Insulin Response, Satiety, and Weight Loss
Since you want to lose weight, you want to eat foods that keep you satisfied the longest (so that you don’t need to keep eating) and spike your insulin the least.
These are mostly non-processed foods and will keep you feeling full for between 6-12 hours.
Proteins are the most satiating and have minimal insulin spikes.
Simple carbs cause a huge insulin spike and are the least satiating but complex carbohydrates are more satiating and raise blood sugar slightly.
While fats have the least impact on your blood sugar, they have lower satiety, and hardly would you eat them by themselves.
Therefore, it’s the combination of food that determines whether you lose weight and how soon you do that since we don’t eat our food in isolation.
Within your eating window, you cannot eat anything you want! Otherwise, you may not achieve your weight loss goals.
10 Most Satisfying Foods for Weight Loss
1. Leafy Green Vegetables
Collards, kales, and spinach are great examples of almost zero-calorie foods. When combined with fat such as olive oil and dressed with vinegar, they will leave you satisfied for a longer period.
If you’ve to add carbohydrates, ensure it’s high-fiber and whole, but in small quantities such as boiled sweet potatoes.
Combining it with deep-fried foods will spike your insulin levels, meaning a longer time to lose weight.
2. Non-Starchy Vegetables
These have a low glycemic index and include:
The best part is that you can combine a number of these vegetables by themselves and be satisfied. I love blanching cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, green peas, and butter. If I’ve to add something during longer fasts, I do a whole egg and I can easily do a 24-hour fast.
3. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts are high in fats and low in carbohydrates. When fasting becomes a little challenging and you’d rather take something small instead of breaking your fast, high-quality nuts are a great option.
Examples of nuts to stock:
Chia seeds and pumpkin seeds are among the best types of seeds for maximum weight loss. You can combine them with natural plain yogurt, and you are good to go.
When taking nuts, such as groundnuts, it’s safe to take the skin as well since it’s high in fiber and increases satiety, making it easier to push your fasting window.
4. Whole Egg
Eggs have been bashed for all the wrong reasons as attracting bad cholesterol and increasing the risk of heart disease. Those are just myths and misconceptions.
In reality, eggs
- Contain healthy fats
- Have high protein levels
- Contain various minerals and essential vitamins
With quality eggs, organically grown, you’ll remain fuller for longer, reduce blood sugar spikes and help your body get into a fat-burning mode sooner.
You can combine your eggs with avocado, leafy green vegetables, non-starchy vegetables, or even nuts.
5. Chicken with Skin
Chicken skin is high in unsaturated fats, Omega 3 and 6, and also other fatty acids. Unsaturated fats have been linked with lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol.
Pasture-raised or free-range chickens are the best. They are allowed to choose what they eat and this enhances the quality of meat. They also produce high-quality eggs.
The best ways of preparing your chicken are roasting or grilling in the oven. Avoid deep frying it in seed oils as they are loaded with chemicals and increase inflammation.
Such deep-fried chicken will interfere with your body’s ability to start fat burning.
Avocados are among the best foods as they are loaded with minerals, vitamins, and healthy fats.
They are great for improving digestion, promoting a healthy heart, and boosting your metabolism.
Combined with another healthy meal, they can keep you feeling satiated longer and prevent the urge to snack. You can combine it with meats such as chicken, beef, or fish.
You can also prepare guacamole and combine it with vegetables.
7. Beef with Fat
The best beef is from grass-fed cattle as it has the right Omega 3 to 6 ratio. Since this is how nature designed it to be, it’s best taken that way for maximum health benefits.
Getting high-fat beef is good as it contains fat-soluble vitamins, necessary for optimal health.
Animal fat is naturally occurring and hasn’t been extracted through a high-heat process. As such, it’s good for your body and much better than seed oils.
Fatty beef is also more satiating, which is the goal when doing intermittent fasting. The longer your fasts are, the better your body gets fat-adapted and more fat burning for maximum weight loss.
8. Wild-caught Fish
The best fish are those caught in their natural habitats. They are low in chemicals such as mercury and lead, have the right Omega 3 to 6 ratio, and taste better. They are also high in essential vitamins such as zinc, potassium, and iron.
While they are pricier, they are the healthier option. Popular types of fish to include in your diet include:
- Ling fish
9. High-Fat Dairy
The mainstream media will condemn a high-fat diet and even market some low-fat milk as the best alternative to a healthy life.
But this is far from the truth - the fats have been extracted and the milk has been processed from its naturally-occurring state. This alters the nutrients and mineral combinations.
To achieve your weight loss goals, a whole meal, high-fat dairy diet is great. Some great examples of high-fat dairy include:
- Whole-milk cottage cheese
- Heavy cream
- Full-fat cheese
- Whole Greek Yoghurt
- Whole milk yogurt
I find it hard to take a high-fat dairy diet in isolation. Some of my best combinations include whole milk natural yogurt with nuts, melted butter in non-starchy vegetables, avocado, yogurt, and seeds.
10. A Treat - Dark Chocolate
Intermittent fasting isn’t some form of slavery - it’s a lifestyle to keep our bodies healthy for a better life.
The goal isn’t to quickly lose weight and get back to bad eating habits. Rather, it’s finding a sustainable approach that you can incorporate into your daily life.
As such, having a piece of dark chocolate is a great way to add spice to my weight loss journey. I take it as a reward for my longer fasts, usually the difficult ones.
I prefer my dark chocolate after a low-calorie meal, to prevent insulin spikes or too many calories that would slow down my weight loss journey.
Interested in intermittent fasting meal plans? Check out this article.
Food Groups to Avoid or Minimize for Weight Loss
For sustainable weight loss, you need to choose high-value, whole foods. You should minimize or avoid intake of:
- Deep-fried foods
- Processed foods
- Wheat products
- Sugar - found in most snacks
You should also avoid drinking calories - found in sodas, artificial juices, smoothies, and milkshakes.
Up to You Now!
You've a list of 10 food groups you can experiment with and enjoy sustainable weight loss faster.
Bottomline - the more naturally occurring the food is, the better.
But since you’ve enough stored fats you want to lose, limiting carbohydrates will also go a long way and portion control with IF will help you get results sooner.