A lot of people mistakenly believe that eating for weight loss means boring meals and snacks. They assume that low-calorie meals must be devoid of flavor.
And while some diets are incredibly dull – like the potato diet, for example – dieting does not have to mean saying goodbye to tasty meals.
In fact, it’s worth avoiding bland diets if you can because they’re usually harder to stick to. After all, if you dread your next weight loss meal, you are MUCH more likely to break your diet and give in to your cravings. It’s human nature!
The good news is that there are lots of very low-calorie ingredients you can use in your meals that will save you from nutritional boredom.
Herbs and spices can turn what would have been a bland meal into something delicious, and there are loads of low-calorie vegetables that have unique flavors and textures. Some are so tasty and filling that they will make sticking your diet a breeze.
So, are onions good for weight loss? Most definitely.
Onions are low in calories and high in taste, which means they’re the perfect addition to any weight loss diet.
You probably won’t be able (or want) to eat more than an onion or two per day, but adding onions to your weight loss meals will invariably make them tastier and more enjoyable, which will make sticking to your diet that little bit easier.
In this article, we reveal how onions could help you lose weight.
Are Onions Good for Weight Loss?
What are Onions?
Onions are grown all over the world. There are many different varieties, including red onions, wild onions, white onions, shallots, scallions, leeks, and chives.
Onions are bulb-shaped vegetables, and they grow underground.
The different onion varieties vary significantly in size and flavor, but all share a layered structure, and most have a strong flavor and odor.
Onions can be eaten raw, and can also be baked, fried, roasted, sautéed, and boiled. They’re used as a side dish or as part of many recipes and usually to enhance flavor.
The humble onion is very low in calories, but most varieties pack a big, flavorsome punch despite this. Adding onions to a recipe will enhance the taste, and onions are the basis of most soups, stocks, and sauces.
As well as being low in calories, onions may provide several worthwhile health benefits.
Raw onions are very low in calories. However, frying them in butter or coating them in batter (onion rings) will significantly increase their caloric value. The nutritional values for 100 grams (3 ½ ounces) of raw onion are:
- Calories: 40
- Protein: 1.1 grams
- Carbs: 9.3 grams
- Sugar: 4.2 grams
- Fiber: 1.7 grams
- Fat: 0.1 grams
Onions also contain beneficial amounts of several important vitamins and minerals, including:
- Vitamin C
- Folate (Vitamin B9).
- Vitamin B6
In addition to these well-known vitamins and minerals, onions also contain several antioxidant plant compounds. These are what makes onions so healthful. The most abundant antioxidants in onions are:
- Sulfur compounds
Yellow and red onions are usually higher in antioxidants than white onions, and raw onions contain more antioxidants than cooked.
Onions and Weight Loss
Onions may help you lose weight in a couple of different ways…
Low in calories – onions contain a lot of water and fiber, both of which are calorie-free. As such, even a large onion won’t add many calories to your meal. However, they’re very filling and flavorsome, which is exactly what you want on a weight loss diet.
Adding onions to any recipe will make that meal larger without adding many calories, giving the illusion that you are eating more than you really are.
Lower blood glucose – eating onions may help prevent your blood glucose from spiking after eating. While this is mainly a benefit for diabetics, it can also be helpful for weight management.
Low, stable blood glucose levels are linked to less hunger and fewer cravings. In addition, low blood glucose also creates the perfect internal environment for fat burning.
Better gut health – onions contain soluble fiber, which is a powerful prebiotic food. Prebiotics boost the number and health of your good gut bacteria. Good gut health is crucial for weight loss and fat burning.
Increased metabolism – some studies suggest that one of the antioxidants in onions (quercetin) may increase your metabolism, which is the number of calories your body burns per day. While this effect is small, when it comes to weight loss, any boost is very welcome.
Additional Benefits of Eating Onions
As well as being useful for weight loss, eating onions offers several other benefits:
Better bone health – onions may offer protection from age-related bone loss, which, if untreated, can become osteoporosis, a condition characterized by weak, porous bones.
Regular onion consumption is linked to increased bone mass in postmenopausal women.
Reduced cancer risk – cancer is a leading cause of illnesses and death and is characterized by uncontrolled cell growth.
Eating onions regularly may reduce the risk of developing several different cancers, including breast, stomach, prostate, and colon.
Eating onions may even stop existing cancer cells from growing and spreading.
Lower risk of heart disease – eating onions may help lower bad LDL cholesterol levels while increasing HDL cholesterol levels. A ratio of low LDL to high HDL cholesterol is commonly associated with a lower risk of coronary heart disease and is attributed to the antioxidants in onions, especially quercetin.
Antioxidative effect – unstable molecules called free radicals are thought to be the cause of a host of medical problems, including heart disease, macular degeneration, dementia, and some cancers, as well as the aging process in general.
Onions contain four highly regarded antioxidants that can help minimize free radical damage.
Anti-inflammatory effect – cellular inflammation (reddening, swelling) is linked to a wide range of medical problems, not least Alzheimer’s disease, several cancers, as well as chronic pain. Onions contain natural anti-inflammatory compounds, which may help minimize this issue.
Onions are usually well tolerated. However, a small number of people are allergic to onions and will feel ill if they eat them. Signs of an onion allergy include stomach upset, gas, bloating, and heartburn.
There are also some drugs that may interact with onions, such as:
- Liver medications
If you take any of these medications, you should talk to your doctor before increasing your onion intake.
Peeling and cutting some types of onions can make you cry, but there is nothing sad about onions! In fact, they’re very healthy, tasty, and could even help you lose weight.
As for the whole tear issue, try leaving the root intact while you peel them, as this is the main source of irritation.
Onions are very low in calories and can be cooked in various ways as well as eaten raw. They’re incredibly versatile and can be added to lots of different recipes, but despite being low in calories, they pack a powerful flavor punch.
As well as being a helpful weight-loss food, eating onions is good for your health and can help ward off a host of illnesses, not least heart disease, osteoporosis, and some types of cancer.
With lots of different varieties to choose from, you should have no problem finding a type of onion you enjoy, from mild chives to very pungent white onions.
Experiment and cook them in different ways. If you really want to maximize the health-boosting effect of onions, try eating them raw, as cooking may reduce the potency of the antioxidants they contain.
Remember, though, deep-fried onion rings are NOT the best way to eat onions for weight loss!