5 secret weight loss ingredients

Foods flying in the kitchen with zero gravity

By Dr. Sarika Arora, MD

There’s so much conflicting science about weight loss. What’s best? Counting calories? Increased exercise? A detox diet? It’s no wonder weight loss is still a mystery for most of us.

With all the confusing information, I always remind my patients of one thing. No matter what they hear, not all calories are equal.

In fact, some foods actually give us 5 key ingredients that can help boost weight loss. For many of my patients, eating these foods has been the secret they’ve been seeking for years.

1. Fiber

Fiber fills us up and minimizes the insulin surge that happens after eating. This keeps your blood sugar balanced during the day. And with lower insulin, you’re less likely to store sugar as fat.

Yet only 10 percent of Americans meet the daily fiber requirement of 25 to 38 grams. Studies show that increasing fiber intake to at least 30 grams per day can lead to weight loss, along with reduced blood pressure and blood sugar.

Fiber also allows healthy weight-loss bacteria to flourish in the gut. Scientists found that with high fiber diets, there was a shift in the proportion of a bacteria associated with leaner bodies to a bacteria associated with obese bodies. How exciting is this?

How to get more fiber

It’s easy to add fiber. Just fill your plate mostly with vegetables and fruits and you’re on your way!

2. Alpha lipoic acid

Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. It’s found naturally inside of the part of our cells that produce energy: the mitochondria. ALA enhances our ability to convert food into energy and contributes to healthy, youthful cells.

Supplementing with 1,800 milligrams per day of ALA can assist other weight loss efforts (such as a reduced calorie intake). Research also suggests that ALA:

  • Improves insulin sensitivity (i.e. it takes less insulin to stabilize blood levels)
  • Lowers blood sugar and cholesterol
  • Decreases inflammation and oxidative stress

What foods have ALA?

Grass-fed organic red meat (a couple of times per week) and organic organ meats provide the most natural sources of ALA. Taking an ALA supplement can be just as helpful.

Woman choosing foods with secret ingredients for weight loss

3. Vitamin D

Vitamin D has multiple benefits in our bodies, including help with weight loss. A recent study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that women with healthy blood levels of vitamin D (at least 32 ng/mL) lost more weight and had better body composition compared with women whose vitamin D blood levels were not in the healthy range. Be sure and have your vitamin D levels tested as part of your annual physical.

How to increase your vitamin D levels

The best way is to get out in the sun for at least 15 minutes per day. But so many of us work inside or live in areas where winter sunlight is not powerful enough to boost vitamin D levels into a healthy range. It’s easy to make up the difference by supplementing with vitamin D3 daily. For adults, I recommend vitamin D3 2000-5000 IU depending on where you live, the season and your current vitamin D level.

4. Carnitine

Carnitine is a critical compound (or group of compounds) for energy production and metabolism. It carries the fatty acids from our blood into our cells to create energy. Optimum fatty acids provide the best outcome, especially omega-3 fatty acids. Importantly, carnitine declines as we age.

Where can you find carnitine?

The best sources of carnitine are found in organic grass-fed red meat, wild fish and organic poultry. You can also supplement with carnitine to encourage healthy energy metabolism at the cellular level.

5. Chromium

Chromium is a nutrient that our bodies require in order to metabolize sugar and fat. When chromium is low, we build excess body fat. Here are some benefits of chromium that affect weight:

  • Lowers blood sugar
  • Lowers insulin
  • Increases HDL (“good”) cholesterol
  • Regulates appetite
  • Reduces sugar cravings
  • Lowers body fat

What foods have chromium?

You can boost chromium levels by eating more organic broccoli, green beans, romaine lettuce and gluten-free oats.

Achieving a healthy weight doesn’t have to be an unending mystery. Support your body at the cellular level by adding key ingredients to any other weight loss plan to boost your efforts — without depriving yourself of food groups or spending extra time at the gym.

For 6 natural steps to weight loss, see what Dr. Arora recommends with her article Natural weight loss tips.