The key to effective and healthy weight loss is through diet and exercise, we know this. There is no fancy piece of exercise equipment that will help you spot reduce. Just as there is no miracle fruit that will melt the pounds away. But there are many foods that are conducive to weight loss and that actually help you to burn calories.
As a weight loss bonus, fat burning foods are generally foods which have a host of other health benefits. Certain foods have a very high thermogenic effect, so you literally scorch calories as you chew.
1. Hot Peppers
Chili peppers sure do pack quite a bunch! They have a compound called capsaicin that gives them their zip and heats up the body, firing up your metabolism and helping you burn off excess calories. Capsaicin is present in fresh, pickled and dry peppers, along with flaked pepper spices like cayenne and red chilies. Weight loss experts recommend adding them to your soups, sauces, and rice dishes to boost your diet’s automatic fat-burning potential.
If you don’t like spicy food, you can still benefit from chili peppers. A recent University of California study found that peppers with a compound called dihydrocapsiate also helped study participants burn fat. Dihydrocapsiate is a non-burning (i.e. non-spicy) form of capsaicin which increases your body’s ability to oxidize fat. Researchers recommend making it a regular part of your low-calorie diet if you’re not a fan of spicy dishes – this will help you benefit from the natural fat-burning properties of chili peppers without setting your mouth on fire.
2. Pine Nuts
Rich in heart-healthy fatty acids, particularly the aptly named pinolenic acid, pine nuts have been found to boost levels of the so-called “satiety hormone,” ghrelin, which signals your brain that you’re full. When ghrelin levels are high, not only do you not feel hungry, you’re more able to resist cravings. According to studies done in Korea, a big producer of pine nuts, these same fatty acids have been shown to prevent the formation of belly fat, considered the most dangerous kind.
3. Lean Turkey and Chicken
Turkey and chicken are both very lean sources of protein, and both have what is known in dietary circles as a “high thermogenic effect.” In essence, this means that it fires up your body’s internal furnace during the digestion process, sending your metabolism into overdrive. Because turkey and chicken are both fat burning foods, they are also much lower in calories than fattier meats like beef and pork. It’s a win-win situation for your body, which gets all the nutrients and benefits of meat from far fewer calories, all while burning more energy during digestion.
However, turkey and chicken both come with an important caveat. If you want to maximize the fat-burning potential of these meats, it’s important to take the skin off. Poultry skin is very high in fat, and it will significantly alter the nutrition content of the meat. Get rid of it, and flavor the meat with spices or low-calorie, low-sugar sauces.
All you need to know is that it’s got a ton of good things for your body for the long term, and in the short term it works to help you lose weight and help keep it off. They’re low on the calorie meter, but they help to give you that full feeling, and contain fiber that keeps things moving.
Like any bona fide superfood tomatoes bring more to the table than just weight loss. The lycopene brings antioxidants that studies are showing to be potentially helpful with a myriad of diseases and conditions. Be sure to add tomatoes to your cart next time.
5. Green Tea
Green tea contains a substance known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which has been scientifically proven to provide your metabolism with a temporary boost. EGCG is an antioxidant which helps your body make better use of a naturally occurring hormone and neurotransmitter called norepinephrine. The main metabolism effect of norepinephrine is that it sends signals to your body, telling it to start breaking down fat cells and using their stored energy.
While green tea doesn’t contain a lot of caffeine, it does have some – about 25 to 50 milligrams per cup, on average. Caffeine synergizes with norepinephrine, enhancing its fat-burning effects. One recent study showed that men who took dietary supplements containing EGCG burned 17 percent more fat by exercising than men who didn’t.
Healthy vitamin C levels will help to keep you functioning at optimal levels, but if you’re looking to burn fat you might be concerned about the sugar in oranges. There’s no getting around it, oranges do contain sugar, which has the potential to turn to fat if it’s not burned up. But the calorie count is low, and the fiber actually helps to regulate your blood glucose levels.
In order for this to work out for you as a weight loss aid, eat it in moderation and to curb your sweet tooth when you’d otherwise be reaching for a candy bar or other sweet treat.
7. Dark Chocolate
A particularly sweet study found that daily consumption of roughly one and a half ounces of dark chocolate reduced the stress hormone cortisol. (Stress has been linked to a sluggish metabolism.) Researchers suspect that certain compounds in chocolate, like caffeine and theobromine, may be responsible. Another reason to indulge: A study in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that adults who ate moderate amounts of chocolate regularly were actually thinner than those who didn’t, even though they consumed more calories and exercised the same amount.
Look for chocolate that contains at least 70 percent cocoa — the darker, the better. Pair a square with a cappuccino for a midmorning pick-me-up or stir some chunks into homemade trail mix.
Oats are very high in fiber, and when your body needs to break down fiber-rich whole foods, it burns up to twice as many calories during the digestion process. Dietary fiber also helps regulate your appetite, giving you a lasting feeling of satiation and helping ward off hunger throughout the day. This makes you less likely to reach for sugary or fatty snacks, especially in the hours between breakfast and lunch.
Experts recommend eating oatmeal for breakfast, but watch out if you’re buying quick-cooking or instant oatmeal. Many of these products contain added sugar, which will effectively neutralize its healthy effects. Instead, reach for unsweetened whole-grain oats, and add some honey or fresh fruit to boost its flavor appeal. Pair it with protein-rich nuts and you’ll have one of the healthiest breakfasts on the planet. You can also sprinkle oat bran on your soups, salads and stir fry dishes to give your body an internal workout!
Eggs are the best protein source on the planet and the best fat burning foods. They contain all nine essential amino acids, which your body needs to build muscle tissue. And the bigger your guns, the greater your fat-burning potential, because it takes more calories to maintain muscle than it does fat.
By now, you’re probably noticing a trend – the higher a food’s protein content, the better it is for weight loss. Your body has to spend more calories breaking down protein, making it automatically better for burning fat, and it also takes your body longer to digest protein. This leaves you feeling fuller for a longer period of time, and studies have shown that people eating high-protein diets consume far less calories during an average day than people on lower-protein diets.
Lentils are an excellent choice because they are very high in protein, yet very low in fat. In fact, they have one of the lowest fat contents of any protein-rich food. A single serving of lentils also provides for 35 percent of your daily iron needs. Lentils are also low in sodium and very high in potassium. Few foods offer the nutritional punch of low-calorie lentils. Add them to your soup recipes, or put them in regular rotation as a side dish.
One of the biggest misconceptions about carbs is that is that they cause you to gain weight. Its actually not the carbs that make you gain weight but the type of carbs that do. Quinoa is high in fiber and protein which will make you feel full. Unlike other grains, it is low on the glycemic index; this means that it doesn’t raise your blood sugar which in turn keeps you from craving sugar and carbs.
12. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil should take pride of place in your cupboard because it’s high in medium-chain triacylglycerols, a chemical compound that encourages the body to burn fat for energy. Combining coconut oil with coffee is a current favourite in the MF office. Not only does it taste great, the mixture of caffeine and saturated fat gives your body a long lasting energy boost.
Thought mainly thought of as a seasonal dessert indulgence, pumpkin is packed with fiber, which slows digestion and keeps you feeling full longer. Canned pumpkin—which contains no added sugar—is available year-round and can be used to make low-carb pancakes, a protein-packed pumpkin pie, or tossed in a smoothie with some whey, walnuts and cinnamon.
Although nuts in general are fat burning foods, almonds are the best for your wallet. They are packed with protein, fiber, and heart healthy fats. One serving of almonds (about 23) will help you stay full. The best thing about almonds is they’re portable. A serving is easy to carry with you wherever you go so incorporating them in your routine should be easy.
Of course this goes beyond just apples but it’s the best way to identify this group. Apples and other water-rich fruits can help make your diet plan far more effective as the pectin contained within the apples can limit how much fat your cells can absorb. A wide variety of fruits, especially little berries, contain a large number of antioxidants and soluble fiber to aid in digestion.
It’s important to limit the intake of fruits because some fruits do have a high natural sugar count which can create insulin spikes in the body. The natural acids within fruits can also create intestinal upset if taken in large quantities.
This earthy-tasting nutritional powerhouse is loaded with compounds called nitrates. Nitrates help increase vasodilation (the widening of blood vessels) and boost your performance in the gym. The harder you work in the gym, the more calories you’ll burn, and the leaner you’ll get.
Boil beets and eat them sliced on a burger Australian-style. You can also dice beets and toss them with feta cheese as a great side to your favorite protein.
17. Black Pepper
Piperine, the important substance in Black Pepper, has shown signs of reducing the formation of fat cells in your body. Black pepper also helps to increase your metabolism.
Avocados are high in monounsaturated fats. In a study published in “Diabetes Care,” these fats were shown to reduce deep abdominal fat when used to replace dietary saturated fat. Avocados are also a good source of fiber.
You don’t need to be fancy with your avocados: Slice one in half, sprinkle on a little salt, eat with a spoon, and enjoy the yummy goodness knowing your body approves as much as your taste buds do.
If you have been getting your blueberry intake through muffins and pancaks, then you’ve been doing blueberries wrong. Not only are blueberries high in insoluble fiber, antioxidants, and tasty goodness, a half cup worth of them are only worth 40 calories. For something different try blueberries on salads or in smoothies.
Yes, the world’s most beloved beverage is also on the list as studies show that coffee (mainly caffeine) speeds the metabolism. However, this is the case when it is taken without fattening add-ins like sugar and cream. Also, please be aware that too much caffeine can have very harmful effects on the body; so keep your intake to 1-3 cups a day.
21. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is incredibly popular in the natural health community, and has been shown to have numerous benefits. It can significantly reduce the blood sugar response after a high-carb meal, and may have modest effects on your weight. Studies have shown that taking vinegar with a high-carb meal can increase fullness so much that people eat 200-275 fewer calories for the rest of the day.