Can Certain Colored Foods Help You Lose Weight?

The importance of fruits and vegetables may seem like a no-brainer when it comes to supporting weight loss efforts. Health experts recommend "eating the rainbow," as plants have different phytonutrients that give them their colors and health benefits (via Healthline). Naturally, this leads us to the question: is there one colored food that helps you lose weight more than others?

According to a 2020 study published in Nutrients, carotenoid-rich vegetables may help reduce accumulated fat around the stomach. Researchers specifically studied obese Japanese men, who drank beverages containing the carotenoids lycopene and lutein. They found that over time, their levels of oxidative stress and visceral fat decreased. WebMD points out visceral fat (belly fat), which wraps around your organs, is more likely to lead to serious health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure than any other type of fat.

Carotenoid-rich foods fight back because they're rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory. Carotenoids are fat-soluble pigments found in red, yellow, and orange vegetables, such as carrots, winter squash tomatoes, and leafy greens. They support eye health and cardiovascular health while aiding your immune system, muscle recovery, and bone health (per Well+Good).

Other ways colored food influences weight loss

While carotenoid-rich foods support health in a number of ways, it's important to note specific research on the color of food and weight is still lacking (via WebMD). Current research suggests focusing on eating all brightly colored foods to help you lose weight, as all fruits and vegetables have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties (via Healthline).

Green-colored foods, such as cruciferous vegetables, support heart health and reduce the chances of cancer (via Healthline). "Green vegetables, particularly leafy greens, supply vitamin C, folate, calcium, iron, and other nutrients, although the amounts vary by the type of green," registered dietitian nutritionist Christine M. Palumbo tells Everyday Health. Blue and purple-colored foods support brain health and function (via Healthline). The brightly colored blue found in many foods stems from high amounts of anthocyanin, which is a polyphenol that fights obesity and other diseases (per Healthline). However, that's not the only way the color of your food influences your health.

Food choices influence eating habits, which are essential for weight loss. Prior research has indicated that the color of food can affect your propensity to eat, with red being an appetite enhancer and blue acting as an appetite suppressant (per Frontiers in Psychology). In short, eating the rainbow and exercising are critical for weight loss.