Do Pickles Help You Lose Weight

Pickles tend to make a lot of "diet superfood" lists because of their low-calorie content and satisfying crunch. But do pickles actually help you lose weight? Like many other foods, in moderation, pickles can be a beneficial part of a weight loss diet. As far as nutrition goes, however, there might be better choices out there. Examine some of the pros and cons for pickles as a weight loss tool, and decide for yourself.

How pickles can help you lose weight

  • Calorie content:. Pickles are extremely low in calories, at about 12 calories for a large dill pickle. This means you can fill up on them without expending too much of your daily calorie goal more easily than with other snack foods that contain a higher number of calories.
  • Fat content: As a vegetable, pickles are naturally free of fat and calories, which are some other factors dieters pay attention to.
  • Flavor: Pickles are strong in flavor and can help curb a craving for salty food better than a more delicately flavored vegetable.
  • Density: Because they are quite dense and filling, and because of their low calorie content, pickles are quite filling for fewer calories than you would consume in another type of snack.

Why pickles might not be the best choice for weight loss

  • Sodium content: As you might expect from a cucumber soaked in salty brine, pickles are packed with salt, at about 1700 milligrams of sodium in one large dill pickle. That's about 70% of the daily recommended dose for the average adult. Eating too much salt can cause water retention, which may hinder your weight loss efforts or even cause or worsen health problems like high blood pressure.
  • Lack of nutrients: While a pickle is technically a vegetable, it doesn't have many of the beneficial vitamins and minerals you can find in other veggies. Cucumbers contain mainly water, with a tiny amount of calcium and iron-but the acidity of the brine hinders your absorption of the calcium and other nutrients you eat.

The verdict

Pickles are a great choice for a fat-free, low-calorie snack or condiment. However, you should not use them to replace other, more nutritionally sound foods, and you should avoid eating more than the equivalent of one or two large dill pickles in one day. Moderation is key. Like most other foods, pickles can easily be a part of a healthy diet and exercise plan to lose weight.

As always, consult your doctor if you are beginning any new weight-loss plan, and ask what types of foods you can snack on to help keep your weight down. Pickles might not be the superfood they are sometimes portrayed as, but there is no reason why most people can't use this low-calorie snack as part of a balanced diet.

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