The Truth About 3 Weird Weight Loss Foods

Meet the trendy new crop of fat-fighting ingredientsMeet the trendy new crop of fat-fighting ingredientsBy Laura Tedesco, Women's Health

The Atkins legacy lives on: More than ever, weight-conscious eaters are focused on filling foods that are high in protein and low in carbs, according to the November issue of Food Technology, a trade publication.

So which foods fit the bill? The article suggests the usual suspects liked almonds and dairy-based proteins, but there are also a few surprising--even weird--ingredients on the must-eat list. So will these odd foods really help you battle the bulge?

PLUS: What Women Who've Lost a Ton of Weight Want You to Know

Rice Protein
What it is:
A vegetarian protein powder derived (obviously) from brown rice, this is often used as an alternative to whey and casein proteins. Plant-based proteins are often less concentrated with amino acids than animal-derived powders, but they do have one advantage: They don't contain common allergens, like lactose.

What the science says: In a 2013 University of Tampa study, exercisers were given either 48 grams of rice protein or whey protein after resistance workouts. The two groups gained equal amounts of lean muscle and shed similar amounts of fat. We call that a win! Want to switch up your shakes? Try Oryzatein brown rice protein powder, the brand used in the study, mixed with about 17 ounces of water.

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Potato Protein Extract
What it is: According to the makers of Slendesta--a diet pill that contains potato protein extract=-the primary ingredient is "potato proteinase inhibitor II." This substance supposedly affects the release of CCK, a satiety hormone.

What the science says: Nothing satisfies like a baked potato, but can spuds really work a weight-loss miracle? In a recent Japanese study, when rats were given potato extract--made by concentrating and filtering potato juice--they tended to eat less food than those given casein or soybean protein. The scientists credit this to a spike in CCK. The health-food company Fullbar has recently incorporated the extract into its bars and shakes, but until there are solid human studies (that aren't sponsored by a diet pill company), we say you're better off sticking to real spuds (in moderation!).

PLUS: 12 Reasons You Can't Lose Weight

Saffron
What it is:
An Asian spice derived from the saffron crocus flavor, this ingredient is known for its yellowish hue and honey-like taste.

What the science says:
The research is slim, but one French study, published in 2010, did find that overweight women who took Satiereal, a saffron extract, snacked less frequently, felt more satisfied, and lost a small amount of weight. Don't want to pop a pill? You can try sprinkling the spice on your risotto or rice--but you'll pay a price: Saffron is one of the most--if not the most--expensive spices in the world.

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