Recently, we’ve been hearing lots of buzz that recipes from the popular Skinnytaste cookbooks and website — for things like egg rolls, cheesy casseroles, even peanut butter pie — can actually speed weight loss. Is that really possible? “Yes!” say experts, including scientists from Harvard and Yale. The amazingly uncomplicated reason: Skinnytaste’s founder, Gina Homolka, is smart about ingredients, sticking to simple, unprocessed, naturally delicious options. And per new studies, that’s literally all it takes to slash hunger and boost metabolism. No wonder Skinnytaste’s 17 million devotees report losing up to 10 pounds a week without deprivation!
Gina was just a kid when she first started putting her own spin on things like meatballs and tomato sauce in her family’s kitchen.“My parents were before their time, insisting everything be homemade and all-natural,” she recalls. Years later, she joined Weight Watchers to drop a size before her wedding. “I looked for recipes that fit the plan, but everything was ‘diet-y’ and not what I was used to.” So she started creating her own Weight Watchers–friendly meals and posting them on a blog for fun. Word spread fast, and soon she was developing recipes full-time.
With help from her taste-testing husband and daughters, Gina has written five bestselling cookbooks. Women like 138-pounds-slimmer New Jersey grandmother Ellen Fuller, 64, insist that eating lots of Skinnytaste recipes doubles or even triples Weight Watchers results. And Gina experiments with many diets, so if you’re, say, vegan or keto, she’s got you covered. One plant-based Louisiana mom says Gina helped her shed an astounding 201 pounds.
What kind of results can you expect with the Skinnytaste diet?
After Skinnytaste and Weight Watchers helped Ellen Fuller’s friend lose weight, she tried it herself. She tucked into one-pot spaghetti, stuffed meatloaf, even desserts — pounds disappeared fast. “I struggled on Weight Watchers in the past, so I was shocked how easy it was with Skinnytaste,” she shares. “I pretty much use Skinnytaste recipes exclusively. My husband says they’ve ruined restaurants for him because the meals I make are so much better.” Down 138 pounds, Ellen has reversed prediabetes, eliminated debilitating foot pain, and no longer has symptoms of GERD or asthma. Her favorite part: “You don ’t feel like you’re dieting at all!”
Don’t want to use a formal plan? You may not have to! Folks have shed up to 80 pounds just by enjoying meals prepared by Skinnytaste diet-loving family members, which makes perfect sense once scientists explain it.
Why does the Skinnytaste diet work?
Not long ago, a Stanford study meant to compare low-fat and low-carb strategies led to a surprising discovery: Regardless of diet, folks who ate the fewest processed foods lost the most weight. In fact, they shed up to 60 pounds, while those who ate the most processed food gained up to 20 pounds.
A new study sheds light on why. While monitoring the same people during stints when they were served either unlimited processed food or unlimited unprocessed food, NIH researchers found that processed offerings prompted more calories a day as blood sugar and weight shot up. And when they ate “clean,” unprocessed fare? Basically, magic happened. Hormone levels linked to weight control and well-being got instantly better, cholesterol dropped, inflammation disappeared, and they slimmed down without trying.
The bottom line: “Processed foods are mostly empty calories that drive hunger and disease, while whole foods blitz our bodies with fiber, protein, healthy fats, antioxidants, and much more,” says Columbia University–trained nutrition expert and A-List Diet author Fred Pescatore, M.D. Use Skinnytaste recipes or simply emphasize whole foods. Either way, “you’ll start cruising toward an optimal weight and optimal health!”
What should you eat on this diet?
Here’s an easy way to melt fat Skinnytaste-style: Start by using a free app like the one at MyFitnessPal.com to keep portions healthy, then dive into clean eating. In addition to experimenting with Gina’s recipes, you can whip up your own creations using unprocessed ingredients. As always, get a doctor’s okay to try a new plan.
BREAKFAST: Blend one banana, one egg and two tablespoons of oats. In nonstick pan over medium-low heat, cook four minutes per side. Top as desired.
LUNCH: Toss half a cup of whole-grain pasta, one ounce of mozzarella, one teaspoon of olive oil, tomato, fresh basil, vinegar, and seasoning to taste.
SNACK: Chop fresh veggies; enjoy with three-quarters cup of cottage cheese, optional herbs, and everything bagel seasoning.
DINNER: Brush chicken with barbecue sauce, wrap in foil with veggies and bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit until done, 50–55 minutes.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.