Lose Weight, Get In Shape, And Build Your Bones With These 7 Scrumptious Foods
While weight loss is certainly not the goal of the Save Our Bones Program, it may sometimes be a personal goal of some Savers, especially as spring approaches in the Northern hemisphere.
The Program itself is easy to adjust for either weight loss or weight gain, and understanding what foods promote weight loss is part of the customization process. As you’ll discover in today’s post, the following seven foods are Foundation Foods on the Save Our Bones Program, so they are exceptional at renewing and building bone as well.
And these foods, aside from being delicious, are filling, easy to obtain, low in calories, and rich in bone-healthy nutrients.
The first one we’re going to look at is an old favorite with an interesting history…
This iconic fruit has come to symbolize the United States (“as American as baseball and apple pie,” is a common saying); yet this crisp, juicy fruit did not find its way to North America until 1625, when America’s first apple orchard was planted in Boston. Heretofore, the only apple available in what is now the United States was the crab apple.
Prior to the Boston orchard, the apple was being enjoyed elsewhere in the world. The familiar domestic apple tree, Malus pumila, has its roots (quite literally) in Central Asia, where apples’ original wild ancestor, Malus sieversii, can still be found. From there, apple trees spread across Asia and Europe, where they have been cultivated for thousands of years. European colonists brought apples with them to America.
It’s no wonder that they wanted to take these valuable fruits with them to a new world. Apples were a mainstay in Europe, and while these early colonists did not have an understanding of specific nutrients, they valued apples for their flavor, versatility, convenience, and ability to stand up to long storage times. We now know that apples have key nutrients like Vitamin C, antioxidants, trace minerals (including bone-smart boron), and fiber. If you’d like to read more about the bone-building nutrients found in apples, this post, Powerful Bone-Building Antioxidants Found In Apples, provides interesting and pertinent information.
But what is it in apples that promotes weight loss specifically? The answer lies mainly in their pectin content. If you’ve ever made homemade jams or jellies, then you are familiar with this substance; it’s the reason why many old recipes for fruit jelly call for apples to facilitate the gelling process.
Pectin’s gel-like attributes make it an excellent filler, even more so than fiber, according to a Tufts University study. Researchers tested various forms of apples (whole apples, applesauce, and apple juice) to find out which form contributed to feelings of satiety and fullness when consumed before a meal. They found that those who ate whole, raw apples before a meal consumed less food and fewer calories during the meal than those who consumed apples in other forms, including apple juice with added fiber.1
The scientists concluded that:
“These results suggest that solid fruit affects satiety more than pureed fruit or juice, and that eating fruit at the start of a meal can reduce energy intake.”1
Much of the healthful nutrients in apples are found in the skin, so that’s one more reason to choose organic whenever possible. Conventionally grown apples tend to be heavily sprayed with pesticides and fungicides.
There’s a reason why oatmeal is a popular breakfast food. Rich in bone-building manganese, silicon, and B-complex vitamins, oats are very satisfying. The primary reason is their absorbability: oats readily soak up liquids, which is why they are so easy to cook into a soft cereal. It’s also a major reason why they make you feel full for a long time.
The high fiber content of oats contributes to the feelings of satiety that they generate. Fiber adds bulk and slows down the digestive process, so you feel fuller for longer. In fact, oats contain more soluble fiber than any other grain, which turns to a soothing, gel-like substance in the presence of water.
Despite their stellar nutritional profile, oats have not always enjoyed such a good reputation. They were not considered nutritionally valuable by the Romans, who scorned them as the food of barbarians. Oats were among the last grains to be domesticated, around 3000 BC in Europe, having originated as pesky weeds that hampered the production of other crops.
Despite their humble beginnings, oats are recognized as a nutritious food that has a place in bone-building and general health, and also weight loss. Oats were shown to reduce hunger more than ready-to-eat breakfast cereal in a recent study. Forty-eight participants ate instant oatmeal, old-fashioned, slow-cooking oatmeal, or cold breakfast cereal for breakfast. Participants’ appetites were measured before breakfast, after four hours, and after the meal.
The researchers found that instant oatmeal increased fullness and suppressed appetite more than the prepared cereal, and slow-cooking oats reduced “prospective intake” of food more so than the prepared cereal. The researchers studied the β-glucan content of the two types of oats and the prepared cereal, and found both types of oats had higher β-glucan than the boxed cereal.2
β-glucan is a type of polysaccharide that is found in various grains; in oats, β-glucan increases the viscosity, or thickness, of the oats in the digestive system. This is likely another key to oatmeal’s filling qualities.
Oats are acidifying, but for ideas on how to consume this delicious breakfast grain, check out this post on how to alkalize oatmeal.
3. Sweet Potatoes*
Unrelated to the familiar white potato, sweet potatoes are a tuberous root with orange flesh that’s rich in manganese and antioxidant beta-carotene. The white potato is a nightshade, while sweet potatoes are in the morning glory family (Convolvulacea). As a matter of fact, the whole sweet potato plant is edible, from the leaves and stems to the delicious orange roots. (The stems and leaves of white potatoes are poisonous.)
Despite the differences, white and sweet potatoes are often used interchangeably, with sweet potatoes acting as an alkalizing substitute for peeled potatoes (potatoes are alkalizing only when eaten with the peel). They also help with weight loss, thanks to their high-fiber, low-calorie nutritional profile.
Fiber, as mentioned earlier, adds bulk to foods without adding calories, and sweet potatoes are full of fiber: one sweet potato has 4 grams. Sweet potatoes also have a high water content, which contributes to feelings of satiety.
As a relatively high-carb food, sweet potatoes have unfortunately been shunned by those who are trying to reduce carbohydrate intake. But there is a difference between healthful carbs and unhealthful ones, as I explain in this post: 8 Scientifically-Based Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid Of Healthy Carbs. Sweet potatoes are firmly in the “healthy carb” category, and with their bone-nourishing nutrients, they make an excellent food for increasing bone while decreasing fat.
While many beans are acidifying, lima beans, snap peas, and green beans are alkalizing. Nonetheless, all beans are Foundation Foods because of their remarkable bone-building nutritional value. And there is so much variety! Garbanzo beans form the base for hummus; magnesium-rich black beans can be made into chili, soups, burgers, and more! There’s a whole lot to the world of beans.
Beans contribute to a healthy weight because of their high fiber content and, like oats, their ability to absorb a lot of water. All of that helps take up space in your stomach and slow digestion, keeping hunger at bay for longer. Additionally, beans contain a particular kind of starch called resistant starch, which functions more like fiber than sugary starch that converts quickly to glucose in the digestive system.
Resistant starch is one of the secrets to beans’ ability to induce feelings of fullness and promote weight loss. It plays a direct role in “feeding” healthful gut bacteria, providing short-chain fatty acids that these microbes need to flourish.3 Healthy digestion and thriving gut flora are essential for bone health and optimal weight.
These lens-shaped legumes have an ancient history. Lentil seeds as old as 8,000 years have been discovered in Egyptian tombs. Lentils were brought to India around the first century AD and have come to be closely associated with that area of the world.
They pair nicely with alkalizing vegetables to balance the pH of a dish containing acidifying legumes. Not only are they delicious, but lentils provide a plethora of Foundation Supplements such as molybdenum, folate, potassium, copper, manganese, and zinc. They also offer boron and B-complex vitamins, as well as protein and fiber.
Another plus for lentils (also known as pulses) is their versatility. You can use them in tacos, chili, soups, stews, burgers, and more. And they are satisfying – a 2010 review concluded that:
“…pulse consumption increases satiety over 2–4 hours… Randomized controlled trials generally support a beneficial effect of pulses on weight loss when pulse consumption is coupled with energy restriction… Overall, there is some indication of a beneficial effect of pulses on short-term satiety and weight loss during intentional energy restriction.”4
Pears come in a variety of shapes and colors, but they are all alkalizing and excellent for bones. They contain boron, copper, Vitamin C, and Vitamin K, as well as antioxidants. Like apples, a great many nutrients are found in the skin, so choose organic whenever possible and don’t peel the pears!
Pears are rich in satisfying fiber with about 6 grams per fruit. This fiber content has much to do with how pears help you feel full and promote weight loss. In a study that also included apples, pear consumption was compared to the consumption of oatmeal cookies. Those who consumed the fruit:
“…lost 1.22 kg…whereas the oat group had a non-significant weight loss of 0.88 kg (0.37–2.13). … A significantly greater decrease of blood glucose was observed among those who had eaten fruits compared with those who had eaten oat cookies… Intake of fruits may contribute to weight loss.”5
Pears are delicious raw or cooked. I like to enjoy them with another food on this list, oatmeal, as in the recipe in this post: Pears: Why You Should Be Eating This Powerful Bone Building Fruit.
I’ve saved the best for last! Yes, cacao (chocolate) is a Foundation Food, but not rich, milk chocolate candy with cream fillings and other sugary additives. The kind of chocolate recommended on the Program is polyphenol-rich, dark chocolate – specifically, cacao – which delivers quite a lot of bone-renewing antioxidant power, bone-building nutrients and contains no sugar. Even small amounts of dark chocolate that contain sugar and are at least 70% cacao can be enjoyed as part of the Program’s clinical nutrition plan. And like many healthful foods, chocolate is acidifying, but goes well combined with alkalizing foods, including fruits.
While you may have been surprised to learn that dark chocolate is a bone-healthy treat, it may boggle your mind even more to discover it can aid in weight loss. In a German study, participants between the ages of 19 and 67 were divided into three groups. One group went on a low-carb diet along with eating 42 grams (about 1.5 ounces) of 81% cacao chocolate daily. The second group went on the same low-carb diet, but did not consume chocolate. A third group acted as a control, eating their normal diet without making any restrictions. All participants were encouraged to weigh themselves daily. Here is what the researchers found:
“Subjects of the chocolate intervention group experienced the easiest and most successful weight loss. …weight reduction of this group exceeded the results of the low-carb group by 10% after only three weeks. …While the weight cycling effect already occurred after a few weeks in the low-carb group, with resulting weight gain in the last fifth of the observation period, the chocolate group experienced a steady increase in weight loss.”6
Even more encouraging, this study noted that the chocolate group had a greater sense of personal well-being,6 an often-overlooked but very important aspect of bone health.
So chocolate not only aided weight loss, it helped keep the weight off and enhanced mood. Great news for chocolate lovers!
Renewing Your Bones Also Means Getting In Shape
I want to reiterate that the Save Our Bones Program was not designed to promote weight loss. But when you decide to embark on the Program and reverse your osteoporosis or osteopenia without drugs, getting in shape and reaching an optimal weight are just about inevitable!
Besides the healthful foods recommended in the Program, another reason this happens is because building bone must include regular exercise. Not only does exercise stimulate bone growth as per Wolff’s Law, but it also offers a vast number of other benefits, including healthful weight.
That’s why I created the Densercise™ Epidensity Training System. It is meant to be used in conjunction with the Save Our Bones Program that, as we’ve just seen, includes many delicious Foundation Foods that promote weight loss. With Densercise™ as part of your bone-building plan, the stage is set for a more energized, in-shape, osteoporosis-free you!
Take Exercising For Your Bones to the Next Level!
Learn the 52 exercise moves that jumpstart bone-building – all backed by the latest in epigenetics research.
Till next time,
1Flood-Obbagy, Julie E. and Rolls, Barbara J. “The effect of fruit in different forms on energy intake and satiety at a meal.” Appetite. 52. 2. (2009): 416-422. Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2664987/
2Rebella, Candida J., et al. “The role of meal viscosity and oat β-glucan characteristics in human appetite control: a randomized crossover trial.” Nutrition Journal. 13. 49. (2014). Web. https://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1475-2891-13-49
3Topping, D. L. and Clifton, P. M. “Short-Chain Fatty Acids and Human Colonic Function: Roles of Resistant Starch and Non-starch Polysaccharides.” Physiol. Rev. 81. 3. (2001): 1031-1064.
4McCrory, Megan A., et al. Pule Consumption, Satiety, and Weight Management.” Advances in Nutrition. 1. 1. (2010): 17-30. Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3042778/
5De Oliveira, Maria Conceicao, RD, PhD, et al. “Weight Loss Associated With a Daily Intake of Three Apples or Three Pears Among Overweight Women.” Nutrition. 19. 3. (2003): 253-256. Web. http://www.nutritionjrnl.com/article/S0899-9007(02)00850-X/abstract
6Bohannon, Johannes, et al. “Chocolate with high Cocoa content as a weight-loss accelerator.” International Archives of Medicine. 8. 55. (2015). Web. http://melaniestefan.net/Bohannon.pdf