Feature Archive

Secret Summer Diet Foods

Slim down by enjoying these low-calorie fruits of summer

By Janice McDonald
WebMD Feature

Reviewed By Charlotte Grayson, MD

The sun is shining, temperatures are rising. Summer is the time to shed layers of clothes, as well as some pounds. You could opt for a stringent diet regime, but what about simply enjoying all the wonderful foods the season brings? You'll still slim down, and do wonders for your health.

It's a natural trend to eat lighter during the summer, and you can easily do so without feeling deprived. If you follow the U.S. government's 2005 dietary guidelines of four-and-a-half cups of fruits and vegetables and three servings of fat-free or low-fat dairy each day, you'll be getting plenty of naturally low-cal foods that are high in fiber, calcium, and important nutrients.

"Fiber helps in weight control because it promotes a feeling of satisfaction or satiety," explains Registered Dietitian Cheryl Orlansky, of the Computer Science Corporation. "High-fiber foods, eaten consistently, prevent that rebound effect of feeling full one minute and looking for something else to eat the next. It also helps modulate blood sugars by slowing down the digestion of sugars to prevent a quick surge into the bloodstream."

Much of summer's bounty has extra nutritional benefits you may not be aware of. Fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants and other phytonutrients that may slow aging, protect against cancer and stroke, improve blood pressure, and keep your heart healthy. And just about all are low-calorie, so your waistline stays in check, another big health benefit.