There’s no magic food to make you quickly slim. But food that burns fat does exist. Learn how healthy foods that burn fat can help your weight-loss diet.
Almost 72 percent of American adults are obese or overweight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). So, it’s no surprise a lot of people want to drop extra pounds, often to improve health. Unfortunately, there’s no magic food you can eat for quick, sustained weight loss. But here’s good news: Researchers have found food that burns fat does exist.
Of course, there’s no healthy, quick fix for being overweight. Instead, it takes regular exercise, cutting out excessive calories, and eating a nutritious diet rich in fruits and vegetables. However, adding foods that burn fat to your weight loss plan can give you a boost toward reaching your goal.
How food that burns fat helps weight loss
The term “fat burning” doesn’t mean the foods themselves dissolve fat away. Instead, it refers to how certain foods increase your metabolism, so your body is revved up to burn more calories, more efficiently.
Foods that aid in reducing excess fat in your body often are filling, too. That helps keep hunger at bay, so you eat less, triggering your body to burn fat for energy.
In addition to specific foods that burn fat, there are diets that emphasize certain types of foods that, when eaten regularly, reduce weight and fat stores in the body. For example, the popular low carb and keto diets are based in large part on high-protein meals which boost diet-induced thermogenesis (DIT).
DIT is a metabolic response to food that increases the burning of calories over and above the normal metabolic rate — and DIT values are highest for protein foods, according to research from Yale scientists. What’s more, the researchers found eating more protein and fewer carbs helps satiety — feeling full and not desiring to eat more food.
The Mediterranean diet emphasizes the healthy fats found in olive oil and nuts, along with meals rich in vegetables, fruit, and fish; red meat and sweets are limited. Not only has this style of eating been linked to a reduction in weight and waist size, but a research team from the National Institutes of Health, Harvard, and the State University of New York found the Mediterranean diet also results in less body fat. This may be due to the foods in the diet having plenty of fiber, which can reduce appetite, and to the impact of the beneficial fats in olive oil, fish, and nuts on metabolism.
Specific foods that burn fat
While research continues on exactly how eating certain foods causes reduction of fat in the body, here are some foods backed with the most evidence, so far, for fat-burning:
Chili peppers. It’s actually capsaicin, the chemical that gives hot peppers their spicy taste, that seems to help in weight loss. A review of research on capsaicin published in the journal Appetite, found the chili pepper chemical increases fat burning and reduces appetite, too.
Eggs. A high-protein food, eggs can reduce your appetite and cause you to eat less during the day if you have them for breakfast. Eggs also seem to dampen down the impact of ghrelin, a hormone produced and released mainly in the stomach that stimulates appetite and promotes fat storage in the body. This could explain why eggs are helpful in weight control, including losing fat, according to University of Connecticut research.
Green tea and coffee. Both green tea and coffee contain caffeine, which helps control hunger and boosts fat-burning metabolism, too, even when you are at rest. Don’t opt for pills or powders containing caffeine — they can be dangerous and even deadly. Instead, both green tea and coffee contain antioxidants and other phytochemicals with beneficial effects on health. Catechins in green tea, a type of phenolic compound also abundant in berries and cocoa, have been specifically linked to weight loss and increased fat burning.
Nuts. It may sound nuts — because they are high calorie foods — but nuts can potentially keep excess pounds, and fat, at bay. Nuts are loaded with nutrition and protein and appear to have a beneficial impact on weight. In fact, research shows people who regularly snack on nuts often are leaner (indicating less body fat) than those who don’t eat nuts regularly.
Coconut oil. Coconut oil is rich in medium-chain triglycerides, which contain beneficial fatty acids. Although more research is needed, some studies indicate using some coconut oil in your diet can lead to modest reductions in body weight, including less body fat, while not raising cholesterol levels.
Fatty fish. Salmon, mackerel, sardines, herring, and other fatty fish are loaded with beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, which are linked to health benefits, including reduced inflammation and a lower risk of heart disease. Researchers have found several reasons why omega-3s can help with weight reduction, too. They increase resting metabolism rate and decrease the stress hormone cortisol, known to boost fast storage in the body (especially around the waist).
April 09, 2020
Janet O’Dell, RN