The Best Diet to Lose Body Fat for Women

Calorie control, making healthy food choices and regular exercise are the keys to successful fat loss in women. Certain foods promote fat loss, while others hinder it -- and can even lead to weight and fat gain. Choosing a variety of lean proteins and fiber-rich foods helps women meet their fat-loss goals.

Fat-Loss Calorie Needs

Women can reduce caloric intake, boost their physical activity level or use a combination of these two methods to effectively lose fat. Oftentimes, reducing your energy intake by 500 calories daily will help you shed 1 pound of weight -- consisting of mainly body fat -- per week. Reducing your calories by 500 daily and increasing your energy expenditure by 500 calories per day may help you eliminate about 2 pounds of body fat weekly.

Protein and Dairy Foods

Boosting dietary protein intake -- including dairy foods -- is beneficial for women trying to shed body fat. A study published in 2010 in “Diabetes Care” found that calorie-restricted diets which combine higher protein intakes with regular resistance-training workouts result in more weight and fat loss than lower-protein diets. Another study published in 2011 in the “Journal of Nutrition” found similar results when women consumed higher protein and dairy intakes. Choose from protein-rich lean meats and poultry, seafood, egg whites, low-fat dairy foods -- such as milk, cottage cheese and plain Greek yogurt -- soy products, legumes, nuts and seeds.

Fiber-Rich Foods

Fiber helps women feel full from fewer calories, which is beneficial for weight and fat loss. Choose nonstarchy vegetables, such as leafy greens, broccoli, celery, fresh peppers, cauliflower, tomatoes, mushrooms and cucumbers. Pick lower-calorie fruits, such as apples, strawberries and melons. Choose fiber- and protein-rich legumes, nuts and seeds. Opt for whole grains -- such as whole-grain breads and cereals, brown rice, quinoa and whole-wheat pasta.

Foods to Avoid

Women trying to lose body fat can effectively do so by limiting, or eliminating, certain foods that tend to hinder fat loss. Examples include refined grains -- such as white bread, white rice and regular pasta -- baked goods, fried foods, chips, high-fat meats, sweets and sugary drinks, such as sodas, lemonade, sweet tea and juices. Try replacing sugary drinks with ice water, water flavored with lemon or herbal teas.