Many vitamins and minerals play a role in supporting a healthy weight. If you eat a well-balanced, nutritious diet, you likely get all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients you need.
“However, in today’s busy life, most people end up eating similar kinds of food again and again and do not get a well-balanced nutritious meal,” says Dr. Gupta.
Here’s what to focus on, according to experts.
For the general population, registered dietitian Maryann Walsh, owner of Nutrition Counseling in Palm Beach, Florida recommends a quality multivitamin, which can provide important minerals.
“A multivitamin will typically contain B-vitamins, which play an important role in energy metabolism,’” says Walsh.
Specifically, look for one with iron. “Iron is crucial for carrying oxygen to the cells in our body, many of which are involved in not only helping us to feel our best, but also to effectively support numerous metabolic processes, including building lean muscle mass,” she adds, recommending both Nature Made Multivitamin with Iron and Centrum Multivitamin and Multimineral as ideal supplements.
Another critical nutrient that plays a role in maintaining a healthy weight is magnesium, according to Ashley Kitchens, owner and registered dietitian nutritionist at Plant Centered Nutrition in Durham, North Carolina. “Magnesium deficiency can weaken your body’s ability to utilize sugar (glucose) for energy,” she says.
A systematic review in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition found a reduction in body mass index (BMI) after magnesium supplementation, as well as a reduction in body weight and waist circumference for certain subgroups, including people with insulin resistance related disorders, hypertension, obesity and magnesium deficiency.
Many U.S. adults do not get the recommended amounts of magnesium through food and beverages, according to the National Institutes of Health. “If you’re low in one nutrient, this may affect other nutrients,” says Kitchens. “For example, low magnesium levels may inhibit vitamin D’s ability to function properly.” Magnesium is also essential for protein synthesis and energy production. Speak with your doctor about whether you may benefit from a magnesium supplement.
B vitamins can support a healthy weight balance due to their role in energy production. “Vitamin B3 (niacin) can play an important role in helping the body break down carbohydrates and convert them into energy,” says Kitchens.
Some research suggests a link between low vitamin B12 levels and extra weight and obesity, while other findings are mixed. High doses of vitamin B3 and vitamin B1, however, have also been linked to insulin resistance, so be cautious in your consumption—and always talk with your doctor first.
Protein helps promote weight loss in a few ways: you burn more calories digesting it, it helps you stay full for longer and it supports metabolically active lean muscle. “Because proteins are complex, it takes your body longer to break them down,” says Kitchens. This means that your body uses more energy to break down protein than it does for fat or carbs. Increasing the protein ratio in your diet may add a slight extra calorie burn to your day.
Protein shakes may also help with weight loss because they can reduce hunger and keep you satisfied for longer. “Including protein at every meal and snack can help you feel full and satiated,” says Kitchens.
Lastly, lean muscle mass is more metabolically active than fat mass, so aside from strength training, you want to take in adequate nutrients for lean muscle growth to help burn calories, even at rest.
“If you struggle to incorporate enough protein into your diet through food, this is where supplementing with a protein powder could come in handy, to again, help nourish our muscles and maintain that metabolically active lean muscle mass,” says Walsh.
Fiber provides numerous health benefits, including supporting a healthy weight. “Focusing on eating 30 grams of fiber per day can help support weight loss and help improve your body’s response to insulin,” explains Kitchens. “This can work just as effectively as popular, complex diets that restrict certain foods, food groups or have you follow a strict set of rules,” she adds.
Fiber may help you feel full for longer, meaning you might be more likely to resist snacking—and the extra calories that can come with it. While fiber is available in many foods, you can also opt for a fiber supplement.