What makes some grub extra satisfying? "Fiber and protein can help," says Barbara Rolls, author of "The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet." Getting more bang for your bite matters, too: Low-energy-density foods, which yield big portions for few calories, "allow you to eat more without gaining weight," Rolls says. Want some of that? Make room for these secret-weapon picks.
Flailing in the swell of bestselling diet books, infomercials for cleanses, and secret tips in glossy magazines, is the credibility of nutrition science. Watching thoroughly-credentialed medical experts tout the addition or subtraction of one nutrient as deliverance—only to change the channel and hear someone equally-thoroughly-credentialed touting the opposite—it can be tempting to write off nutrition advice altogether. This month we hear something is good, and next we almost expect to hear it’s bad. Why not assume the latest research will all eventually be nullified, and just close our eyes and eat whatever tastes best?
Thanks to its flexibility, easy-to-understand system, and group support, Weight Watchers came out way (weigh?) ahead, winning "best weight loss," "best fast weight loss," and "best commercial diet" in the U.S. News & World Report rankings. (Oprah's endorsement probably didn't hurt either!) They recently revamped their signature plan to include "free" foods like chicken breasts and fresh produce so you'll never feel hungry even while dropping pounds. In addition, their app makes tracking your food a piece of cake—which you're totally allowed to have on the program, by the way. (Even better news: Research supports the fact that Weight Watchers is one of the best weight-loss diets.)
How it works: The acronym FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols. These are all different carbohydrates that if poorly absorbed can pass through the small intestine and into the colon. Bacteria in the colon then feed on the FODMAPs, producing gas, bloating and pain. A low-FODMAP diet eliminates FODMAP foods for six to eight weeks. After that, small amounts of FODMAP foods are gradually re-introduced to find your personal level of tolerance.
It’s easy to see the front of a package and get lured in by misleading claims, particularly those that say they’re “free-from” something, says Taub-Dix. She points out that gluten-free foods may also be high in sugar, salt, calories, and fat and contain less fiber—and thus be weight-promoting. Reading the nutrition label will give you the real truth for what you’re buying.