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Which foods should you include in your weight loss diet? Which foods should you exclude? Your choices will lead to either success or failure in your attempt to lose weight. Which foods we eat are a matter of habit, and habits are hard to change. You may be able to substitute a similar, but much healthier food for some of your favorites. Here are some tips on substitutions and better choices in the foods you eat.

You need some protein, but on a weight loss diet you want to exclude fatty meats like beef, pork and lamb. If you live on hamburgers, they are part of the reason you became overweight. There are better sources of protein that lack the saturated fats in red meat. Low fat chicken and turkey can be substituted for red meat. They can be made into burgers, meatballs or meatloaf that are similar to recipes you formerly used, but are far healthier. If you have not tried tofu, give it a try. While lacking in taste by itself, it can be prepared with spices that give it good flavor. Soy provides protein and helps lower cholesterol. Try marinating slices of tofu in a sauce, then baking them in the oven.

Vegetables should make up at least half of your weight loss diet. There is a wide variety, all of which provide lots of vitamins, minerals, nutrients and micro-nutrients. They give your body the nourishment it needs to stay healthy. Cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli and kale are essential. They help your digestive organs eliminate toxins. As you lose fat, you are burning off the toxins accumulated there. Try to include a serving of one of these vegetables in your diet every day.

Certain foods can increase your metabolic rate, causing you to burn up more calories. Spices such as turmeric and cayenne can help. Herbs such as green tea, dandelion and nettle are called thermogenic because they speed up metabolism.

Drink the daily recommended eight cups of water daily. This will help flush out your system. Try a diuretic tea to help flush out toxins and lose water weight. Equisetum, or horsetail tea, is a traditional herbal diuretic.

You may want to take some supplements to speed up weight loss. Niacin is an important one, as it improves your metabolism, helps burn up fats, carbohydrates and proteins more effectively, and raises your energy level.

Find a substitute for sugar in your diet. You need some sweet taste, but need to avoid refined sugars as much as possible. Agave nectar is a sweetener with a low glycemic index. Stevia is a plant-derived sweetener with almost zero calories. Honey and maple syrup can be used in moderation to add some sweetness to your diet occasionally.

You can find good-tasting substitutes for unhealthy foods you formerly ate and enjoyed. Also, as you consume these alternative foods, you form new habits that will keep you from regaining the weight once you reach your target weight. The foods that help you lose weight can become your new favorite foods.

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