Chef Alton Brown is no stranger to food. In fact, as host of The Next Iron Chef and Good Eats, he’s a well-respected authority on all things that go on in the kitchen. That’s why, when he decided it was time to lose some weight, he came up with four food lists that were instrumental in helping him drop a whopping 50 lbs, a weight loss that he’s been able to maintain for over two years.
List 1: Foods to Eat Daily
- Dark leafy greens
- Green tea
- Whole grains
These foods should be a part of your daily diet. Whole grains, like oats, are rich in fiber so they fill you up and keep you satiated for longer. Also, soluble fiber keeps your cholesterol levels in check and lowers your risk of heart disease. And fruits, especially purple ones like blueberries, blackberries and Concord grapes are rich in antioxidants and resveratrol, known to promote longevity. To get these foods in every day, Brown freezes the berries into pre-portioned packets and either uses them in smoothies or just eats them as is. Additionally, nuts are a good source of protein and you can fit them in easily every day by eating a handful about 15 minutes before a big meal to help curb overeating.
List 2: Foods to Eat Three Times a Week
- Sweet potato
- Oily fish
These foods are healthy for you in moderation. For example, sardines are high in protein, and omega-3 fatty acids, which are very good for your heart; plus, the tiny bones contain calcium. Additionally, tofu makes a great low-calorie meat substitute that actually has more protein per calorie than ground beef. Brown frequently uses tofu in pasta sauces, tacos and stir-fry dishes. Cauliflower and broccoli are cruciferous vegetables that have been praised for their cancer-fighting properties, like antioxidants that help rid your body of toxins that might damage cells.
List 3: Foods to Eat Once a Week
- Red meat
- White starch
These are foods you should only indulge in every once in a while. With alcohol, for instance, Brown’s motto is, “If you’re going to have one drink a week, make it count.” So choose a drink or dessert you really enjoy and savor it, rather than going for something that you might drink more of, but not like as much.
List 4: Foods to Never Eat / Foods to Avoid at All Times
- Processed meals
- Canned soups
- “Diet” anything
These are foods you should cut out completely. Brown found that when he drank diet soda or ate processed foods, he would crave and eat sweet and processed things more often, contributing to his weight gain. And artificial sweeteners may be to blame. Studies have shown that artificial sweeteners can be addictive and put taste receptors into overdrive, causing the body to release more insulin – a hormone instrumental in storing body fat. So, instead, he stopped incorporating these foods into his diet altogether.