Here's why eating the three Ps regularly will help you drop pounds.
Protein fills you up. You need it to build lean muscle, which keeps your metabolism humming so that you can torch more fat, Dr. Aronne says. People in a weight-loss program who ate double the recommended daily allowance for protein (about 110 grams for a 150-pound woman) lost 70 percent of their weight from fat, while people who ate the RDA lost only about 40 percent, one study found.
Produce is packed with filling fiber. "It's very difficult to consume too many calories if you're eating a lot of vegetables, " says Caroline Apovian, M.D., the director of the Nutrition and Weight Management Center at Boston Medical Center and the author of The Age-Defying Diet. Case in point: Three cups of broccoli is a lot of food, yet only 93 calories. (Fruit is another story. It can be easy to overeat and can contain a lot of calories from sugar, so be sure
to monitor your intake.)
Plant-based fats like olive oil and those in avocados and nuts are healthy and extra satiating. "Low-fat diets make people irritable and feel deprived because fat tastes good and keeps you full, " Dr. Apovian says.
Use it to lose it. Aim to incorporate each of the three Ps into every meal and snack. People who eat protein throughout the day are able to keep weight off, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. In addition to meat, poultry and seafood, good sources are beans, lentils, eggs, tofu, and yogurt. As for fat, keep portion sizes in check by measuring out salad dressing, oil, and nut butters (shoot for one to two tablespoons). Finally, eat veggies or a little fruit at every meal. People who did that consumed 308 fewer calories but didn't feel any hungrier than when they didn't eat more produce, a study in the journal Appetite noted.