If you're like most Americans, you've gained about 6 pounds since Thanksgiving. Each small holiday-season indulgence may have seemed like no big deal at the time, but added all together, they created the perfect storm for a juggernaut of jiggle. Don't believe us? Consider the caloric damage of typical holiday activities - weekly parties, with buffet tables lined with goodies and treats; cookies and cakes delivered by your well-intentioned neighbors; and seasonal beverages, from holiday lagers to rum-spiked eggnogs, that had you washing down those hundreds of extra calories with, well, hundreds of extrea calories. It’s no wonder the Baby New Year always makes her debut toting a gargantuan gut. In 2012, vow to eat better - not less, just better. Add these 6 flat-belly foods for weight loss to your daily (or weekly) diet, and watch as the pounds melt away.
5. Full-Fat Cheese
This dairy product is an excellent source of casein protein - one of the best muscle-building nutrients you can eat. What's more, Danish researchers found that even when men ate 10 ounces of full-fat cheese daily for 3 weeks, their LDL ("bad") cholesterol didn't budge.
4. Iced Coffee
Coffee reduces your appetite, increases your metabolism, and gives you a shot of antioxidants. A study published in the journal Physiology & Behavior found that the average metabolic rate of people who drink caffeinated coffee is 16 percent higher than that of those who drink decaf. Caffeine stimulates your central nervous system by increasing your heart rate and breathing. Honestly, could there be a more perfect beverage? Plus, frequent mini servings of caffeine (8 ounces of coffee or less) keep you awake, alert, and focused for longer than a single jumbo one would, according to sleep experts. When you quickly drink a large coffee, the caffeine peaks in your bloodstream much sooner than if you spread it out over time. Start your day with an 8 ounce coffee (the "short" size is available by request at Starbucks). Or, ask for a large half caf. Then keep the caffeine lightly flowing with a lunchtime cappuccino (it's got only 75 mg, which is about one quarter of what you'd get in a 16 ounce coffee).
In a recent study, Louisiana State University scientists discovered that people who ate half a grapefruit three times a day lost 4 pounds in 12 weeks, even though they hadn’t deliberately altered any other part of their diets. Although the mechanism isn’t clear, the researchers speculate that grapefruit’s acidity may slow your rate of digestion, helping keep you full longer.
Turns out, an apple a day may also keep the extra weight away. Penn State researchers discovered that people who ate a large apple 15 minutes before lunch took in 187 fewer calories during lunch than those who didn’t snack beforehand. (The apples had around 128 calories.) What’s more, they reported feeling fuller afterward, too. Sure, the fruit is loaded with belly-filling fiber, but there’s another reason apples help you feel full: They require lots of chewing, which can make you think you’re eating more than you really are, says study author Julie Obbagy, Ph.D.
Skip the cold cereal - eating eggs and bacon in the morning can help you control your hunger later in the day. Indiana University scientists determined that dieters who consumed their biggest dose of daily protein at breakfast felt full longer than those who ate more of the nutrient at lunch or dinner. The upshot: “They were less likely to overeat the rest of the day,” says study author Heather Leidy, Ph.D. To fend off hunger, shoot for at least 20 to 30 grams of protein at breakfast.