Americans spend an estimated $30 billion each year on diet products - and (not surprising) many of them don't work. So, how do you cut through the clutter of those that are a complete rip off and find the ones that are actually good for you? It's easier than you think.
You can start by just going to the grocery store. There are more than a dozen foods that are probably in your home that will help you beat the cravings, fight hunger, boost your metabolism and lose a few pounds. Here are 5 that can help you lose weight right now.
OK, it's hard, but ditch the sugary granola bar. Eggs are full of protein and will help you feel fuller longer. A recent study of 30 overweight or obese women found that those who ate two scrambled eggs (with two slices of toast and a reduced-calorie fruit spread) consumed less for the next 36 hours than women who had a bagel breakfast of equal calories. It's also been shown that protein may also prevent spikes in blood sugar, which can lead to food cravings.
Did you know that cholecystokinin (great Scrabble word!) is one of your best weight-loss pals? Cholecystokinin is a digestive hormone that's a natural appetite suppressant found in beans. Bonus - high-fiber beans can lower your cholesterol.
You can control your calorie intake the easy way - start your meal with a large salad (but ditch the dressing!). A Penn State University study showed that those who ate a big, low-cal salad consumed 12 percent less pasta afterward-even though they were offered as much as they wanted. What's the secret? The sheer volume of the salad made the test subjects too full!
4. Green tea
Charlotte's a breast cancer survivor who ditched coffee when she was going through chemotherapy. Her drink of choice became green tea and she's never without it. She drinks it because it's hot and caffeine-free, but there are other reasons to enjoy it. The drink is just brimming with antioxidants called catechins that help speed metabolism and fat burning. Health bonus: green tea has also been shown to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol.
5. Hot red pepper
Another Charlotte favorite is anything spicy - from peppers to me (Ok, I had to throw that one in). Eating a bowl of spicy chili regularly can help you lose weight. The magic ingredient may be capsaicin, which helps suppress appetite.