Are Tomatoes Good For Weight Loss? Their Nutritional Value & More 2024

are tomatoes good for weight loss
Tomatoes are fruits that may just help with weight loss. Photo: Kamila Koziol/Shutterstock

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Losing weight can be quite a journey; more often than not, it involves making pivotal lifestyle changes. One important change we make as we lose weight is in our diet. We all know that reducing calorie intake is crucial, but what if there were foods that could help us?

You have many healthy options when it comes to finding the right diet. Recently, tomatoes have garnered attention as a potential aid in weight management. They are vibrant fruits that have an impressive nutritional profile.

But are tomatoes good for weight loss? This article will explore the science behind tomatoes and their potential as one of the best fat burners. Discover how incorporating tomatoes into your diet can be an effective strategy on your weight loss journey.

Are Tomatoes Good For Losing Weight?

Tomatoes are beneficial for weight loss for a few reasons. They’re low in calories and high in water content. Additionally, they contain fiber, which aids in digestion and can contribute to a feeling of fullness.

Moreover, tomatoes are rich in antioxidants like lycopene, which may have some metabolic benefits.  While tomatoes can be a healthy addition to a weight loss diet due to their nutrient content and low-calorie nature, they’re not a miracle food on their own. Instead, it comes along with regular exercise and other lifestyle changes.

Are Tomatoes Good For Weight Loss?

are tomatoes good for weight loss
Tomatoes are fruits that may just help with weight loss. Photo: Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Did you know that tomatoes are technically fruits? Despite being commonly perceived as vegetables, they belong to the fruit category because they develop from a flower’s ovary and contain seeds.

They’re also incredibly versatile, whether sliced fresh in salads, roasted for sauces, or blended into soups. But are tomatoes good for you to lose weight? Let’s see some factors that put tomatoes on a high rank as a helpful addition to your weight loss journey.

Low In Calories

The first step for any weight loss plan is to adjust your calorie intake. More calories mean weight gain. So, to lose weight, you should consume fewer calories than you already do. For this to work, tomatoes should be on your menu.

Not only are they delicious, but they are also low in calories, making them a great addition to any weight loss plan. At just 18 calories per 100 grams[1] (the size of a medium tomato), tomatoes help you create a calorie deficit so that healthy eating doesn’t have to be complicated.

High In Fiber

Tomatoes are a hidden gem in healthy diets. One reason for this is that they are packed with dietary fiber. The fiber found abundantly in tomatoes serves as a crucial component in digestion.

Fiber has long been associated with promoting satiety and aiding in weight management[2]. As one of the primary components of a healthy diet, fiber regulates appetite by creating a feeling of fullness and reducing caloric intake.

Tomatoes, with approximately 1.2 grams of fiber per medium-sized tomato, provide an excellent source of dietary fiber. This high fiber content helps slow digestion and prolong the feeling of fullness. So, by consuming tomatoes, you prevent overeating.

Water Content

Another reason why tomatoes are a perfect weight loss supplement is their high water content. With approximately 95% water,[3] tomatoes provide hydration without adding excessive calories. The low-calorie density of water-rich foods enhances feelings of fullness.

Foods with high water content and low-calorie density, like tomatoes, allow you to consume more significant portions without significantly increasing calorie intake. This aspect is crucial in weight loss strategies.

Also, the high water content in tomatoes aids in digestion[4] and promotes regular bowel movements. This ensures proper waste elimination and prevents constipation that could hinder weight loss efforts.

Rich In Nutrients

During weight loss journeys, the focus often centers on calorie restriction. However, ensuring the intake of essential nutrients is still important. With their rich nutrient profile, Tomatoes are a smart choice to supplement a reduced-calorie diet.

For starters, tomatoes are a powerhouse of nutrients that can significantly contribute to overall health, especially for weight loss endeavors. Despite their low-calorie nature, they are abundant in various essential vitamins and antioxidants.

One of the common nutrients in tomatoes is vitamin C,[5] an antioxidant. Not only does it support the immune system,[6] but it also aids in collagen production, promoting skin health and aiding in tissue repair.

The presence of potassium in tomatoes is also another crucial benefit. This mineral is essential for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels, lowering the risk of stroke by 24%. Healthy blood pressure is crucial for preventing[7] cardiovascular disease.

Additionally, tomatoes contain various antioxidants, such as lycopene, beta-carotene, and quercetin. These antioxidants help combat oxidative stress[8] and inflammation in the body.

They potentially reduce the risk of chronic diseases and support overall well-being. Beta carotene, in particular, may help reduce insulin resistance[9] and improve weight loss efforts.

These are just a few. Tomatoes have a packed nutritional profile that supports your health while being sufficient to help you trim down. Adding them into meals provides a significant array of vitamins and antioxidants that support holistic health while complimenting your weight loss goals.

Support Metabolism

Metabolism refers to the processes by which the body converts food into energy. A faster metabolism means our bodies burn fat more efficiently. This potentially aids in weight management.

Tomatoes support metabolism because they contain compounds like lycopene. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant known for its potential for metabolism. While the direct impact of lycopene on metabolism might not be fully understood, lycopene contributes to metabolic function[10] and weight loss efforts.

Overall, tomatoes help increase your metabolism and promote weight loss. The carotenoids in tomatoes can influence body fat percentage,[9] thus affecting body composition.

Blood Sugar Regulation

Some research suggests that certain compounds in tomatoes may help regulate blood sugar levels, which could benefit weight management. Tomatoes contain various compounds like beta-carotene, lycopene, and polyphenols.

Research suggests that these compounds might aid in regulating blood sugar levels[9] and could be beneficial for weight management. A study found that tomato consumption significantly affected cholesterol,[11] triglycerides, and low-density lipoprotein levels.

While these findings are promising regarding cardiovascular health and lipid profile improvement, the impact on blood sugar regulation seems inconclusive based on the study’s results. Therefore, tomatoes might offer benefits for cholesterol management.

The Nutritional Value Of Tomatoes

Are tomatoes good for losing weight? One way to find out is by looking at what is present in them. Many of the health benefits of tomatoes come from their nutritional content.

So, here’s a breakdown of the nutritional value of tomatoes per 100 grams,[1] or one medium-sized tomato:

  • Calories: 18-20 calories.
  • Water content: 95%.
  • Carbohydrates: 3.9 grams.
  • Fiber: 1.2 grams.
  • Protein: 0.9 grams.
  • Fat: 0.2 grams.
  • Vitamin C: 13.6 mg.

Tomatoes are also particularly rich in lycopene, a powerful antioxidant linked to various health benefits. Cooking tomatoes actually increases the bioavailability[12] of lycopene. Tomatoes also contain small amounts of vitamins and minerals like vitamin E, niacin, and copper.

These values can vary slightly depending on the variety and ripeness of the tomato. Overall, tomatoes are a nutrient-dense food with low calories, making them a great addition to a healthy diet.

How To Cook And Eat Tomatoes For Weight Loss? 

are tomatoes good for weight loss
There are many ways to add tomatoes to your diet. Photo: goffkein.pro/Shutterstock

Tomatoes are delicious and incredibly nutritious, making them an excellent choice for those seeking to achieve weight loss goals. Tomatoes offer numerous health benefits because they contain essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.  

Regarding weight loss, some tomato varieties are more beneficial than others. While tomatoes are nutritious, how you cook them can affect their nutrient content. 

Different Cooking Methods For Tomatoes

There are various ways to cook and incorporate tomatoes into your diet. However, opt for cooking methods with minimal heat and shorter cooking times to retain as many nutrients as possible. 

Also, while tomatoes are low in calories, portion control is still important. It’s easy to go overboard when they taste so good. Remember to keep track of the amount of tomatoes you consume to stay within your calorie goals. 

Without further ado, here are some common ways to cook tomatoes:

Raw Tomatoes

Enjoying raw tomatoes is a simple and refreshing way to savor their natural flavor. Eat raw tomatoes for a burst of fiber and added hydration.

You can add sliced tomatoes to salads, sandwiches, or wraps for a dash of freshness. Alternatively, try cherry tomatoes as a snack or in a colorful salsa.

Roasting Tomatoes

Roasting tomatoes brings out their natural sweetness and enhances their taste. Cut tomatoes in half, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with your favorite herbs, and roast in the oven until tender. This caramelizes the natural sugars, resulting in a rich and flavorful addition to your dishes.

Grilling Tomatoes

Grilling tomatoes add a smoky, slightly charred flavor that pairs well with meats and vegetables. Slice your tomatoes, brush them with olive oil, and grill until they develop grill marks. Use grilled tomatoes in sandwiches, burgers, or as a side dish.

Making Tomato Sauce

Tomato sauce is incredibly versatile and can be added to various dishes. Simmer fresh whole tomatoes or cherry tomatoes with garlic, onions, and herbs to create a delicious base for pasta, pizzas, or even as a dipping sauce for vegetables. You can also blend cooked tomatoes to create a sauce.

With that information in mind, here are a few tomato-based recipes that can help you on your weight loss journey:

Tomato-Based Recipes For Weight Loss

If you are looking for how to start eating healthy with tomatoes, here are some recipes to help you get started:

Tomato Salad With Fresh Herbs

You cannot go wrong with a tomato salad. It combines raw tomatoes with other fruits and vegetables to give you a healthy salad suitable for breakfast.

Ingredients:

  • 4 ripe tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped or torn
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Instructions:

  1. Wash the tomatoes and slice them into medium-thin rounds. Arrange them on a serving plate or shallow bowl.
  2. Sprinkle the chopped fresh basil and parsley over the sliced tomatoes.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil to create the dressing. 
  4. Drizzle the dressing evenly over the tomato slices and herbs.
  5. Season the salad with salt and pepper to taste. 
  6. Gently toss the salad to coat the tomatoes with the dressing and herbs.

Light Tomato Soup With Vegetables

This light tomato soup is packed with the goodness of fresh vegetables and makes for a comforting, low-calorie meal option. It’s perfect for chilly days and pairs well with a slice of whole-grain bread or a side salad for a complete and satisfying meal.

Ingredients:

  • 4 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Fresh basil or parsley for garnish

Instructions:

  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced onions and sauté until translucent, then add the minced garlic. Cook for another minute until fragrant.
  2. Add the chopped tomatoes, diced carrots, and celery to the pot. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Pour in the vegetable or chicken broth and bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the dried basil, dried oregano, salt, and pepper.
  4. Let the soup simmer for 15-20 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld and the vegetables to soften.
  5. Serve the light tomato soup hot, garnished with fresh basil or parsley if desired.

Tomato Basil Soup

Tomato basil soup is another classic and comforting dish that expresses the benefits of tomato. It typically involves blending tomatoes, basil, onions, garlic, and sometimes other herbs or vegetables. 

Ingredients:

  1. 2 pounds fresh tomatoes, chopped 
  2. 1 onion, chopped
  3. 4 cloves garlic, minced
  4. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  5. 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  6. 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  7. 1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)
  8. Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, garlic, and sauté until they are soft and fragrant, about 5-7 minutes.
  2. Add the chopped tomatoes to the pot. Cook for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they break down and release tomato juice.
  3. Pour in the vegetable or chicken broth and bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.
  4. Use an immersion blender or transfer the soup in batches to a blender and blend until smooth. Be cautious when blending hot liquids.
  5. Return the soup to the pot if necessary. Stir in the chopped basil leaves. If using heavy cream, add it to the soup and stir until well combined.
  6. Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste. Adjust the seasoning according to your preference.
  7. Let the soup simmer for an additional 5 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.
  8. Serve the tomato basil soup hot, garnished with a few basil leaves on top. You can also drizzle a little olive oil or add a dollop of cream for extra richness if desired.

Conclusion

Tomatoes can be an excellent addition to a weight-loss diet. Their low calorie and high nutrient content make them valuable for those seeking to shed pounds. Their richness in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants supports overall health and aids in boosting metabolism and reducing inflammation, potentially aiding weight loss efforts.

However, while tomatoes can be a beneficial part of a balanced diet, solely relying on them for weight loss wouldn’t be effective. Pairing them with various other nutrient-dense foods and maintaining a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise is key to achieving sustainable weight loss goals.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do tomatoes help you lose weight?

Tomatoes aid weight loss due to low-calorie content, high fiber, and water, promoting fullness. Rich in nutrients and antioxidants, they potentially boost metabolism.

Are sardines good for losing belly fat?

Sardines can aid in weight loss due to their high protein and omega-3 content, supporting metabolism and reducing appetite.

Is it OK to eat sardines every day?

Consuming sardines every day can be beneficial due to their rich nutrient profile. However, moderation is key as excessive intake might lead to an overload of certain nutrients potentially causing adverse effects.

What can happen if you eat too much sardines?

Eating too many sardines, especially canned in oil, can lead to an excess intake of calories and fats. High levels of certain contaminants in the cans, too, like heavy metals, could pose health risks if consumed excessively.

Are sardines better in water or oil?

Sardines in water are generally considered healthier due to lower calorie content and reduced fat intake compared to those packed in oil. Water-packed sardines are a better option.

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  3. Patanè, C., Salvatore Luciano Cosentino, Romano, D. and Toscano, S. (2022). Relative Water Content, Proline, and Antioxidant Enzymes in Leaves of Long Shelf-Life Tomatoes under Drought Stress and Rewatering. Plants, [online] 11(22), pp.3045–3045. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11223045.
  4. Nakamura, Y., Watanabe, H., Tanaka, A., Yasui, M., Nishihira, J. and Murayama, N. (2020). Effect of Increased Daily Water Intake and Hydration on Health in Japanese Adults. Nutrients, [online] 12(4), pp.1191–1191. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12041191.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Susan Adeosun (MPH, MD) is a medical doctor and public health enthusiast. She has over five years’ worth of experience in public health and preventive medicine and is a firm believer in the famous phrase… See More