There is a lot of talk about fat burning foods, and for good reason. Conventional wisdom suggests that in order to burn fat you need to lower your caloric intake. Eat less… gain more.
So the idea of eating foods that help burn fat is an interesting subject.
There are foods that help to burn fat. But it’s important to put this in perspective. It’s necessary to understand a little bit of the science behind how food helps to burn fat.
To some degree, all food helps to burn fat. Your body uses energy to digest food. A calorie is a unit of energy and therefore, when your body uses energy it essentially burns calories.
The energy your body uses to digest food is known as thermogenesis. It’s also known as the thermic effect of food (TEF). Most people refer to fat burning foods as thermogenic foods. When your body is engaged in digestion, your core temperature rises (thermal) and this burns calories.
This concept of thermogenics inspired the weight loss supplement industry to create dietary supplements that included herbs and chemicals that create a thermogenic effect in the body. In fact, almost all “weight loss pills” contain thermogenics in some shape or form.
Almost all weight loss pills contain caffeine because caffeine is a thermogenic. It increases your core temperature by speeding up the heart rate and can act as a mild appetite suppressant. Before being banned in the U.S. many diet pills contained ephedra or ephedrine from the chinese herb Ma Huang.
Ephedra is a powerful thermogenic that dramatically speeds up the heart rate, provides what people think is “energy” and suppresses the appetite. The problem is that ephedra acts like adrenaline to the body. And if you’ve ever been in a car accident or narrowly avoided one, that feeling you have after experiencing intense fear is a major dose of adrenaline in your blood stream. You don’t feel like eating when adrenaline is coursing through the bloodstream. Ephedra simulates this “adrenaline rush”. So though it is an effective appetite suppressant, it also killed a lot of people, including a major league baseball pitcher.[hr]
A List of Fat Burning Foods
There are some foods though that can produce this thermogenic effect in a much milder and healthy way. Below is a list of foods that are excellent fat-burning foods:
Cayenne Peppers and other hot peppers contain a compound called capsaicin. This compound is what gives you that “kick” and is what makes peppers hot. It also heats up your body (thermogenic) and when your body heats up you melt some additional calories. You can eat hot peppers raw (if you’re tough enough) or cooked. So go on and add a few more splashes of that hot sauce to your foods![hr]
It seems that more and more there is a movement against animal protein for health reasons. There is a lot of evidence to support it. But your body needs lean protein to build muscle. And lean protein is perhaps the single best thermogenic food in existence. The reason is that it requires a lot of energy to digest lean protein and the more energy that is expended, the more calories you burn.
It is highly desirable to get your protein in an organic, free range and grass fed form, especially with poultry. It is alarming the amount of chemicals that commercial processors put into chicken and other forms of poultry, but good quality organic, free range chicken and turkey is extremely healthy and an excellent fat burning food.
Some other quality lean proteins include turkey breast, very lean red meat such as top sirloin (grass fed if possible), fish, shellfish, game meats such as bison or venison and egg whites.[hr]
Lentils are excellent fat burning foods for a variety of reasons. Firstly, just one-half cup of lentils provide over 3 grams of resistant starch. Normally starch is a bad thing but the resistant starch actually boosts the metabolism and burns fat. Lentils are also extremely satiating –meaning they fill you up. They metabolize slowly so the body burns a lot of energy during digestion.
A study found in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that green tea is linked to fat loss. There have been many other similar studies. The studies link catechins, found in green tea extract, can trigger weight loss by stimulating the body to decrease fat and burn more calories.
In addition to fat loss, green tea has long been considered a superfood and antioxidant powerhouse with numerous health benefits to the body. Also, hot tea in general is an excellent way to curb the appetite by filling you up with something more satisfying than just water.
Not only are almonds a superb fat burning food, they are one of the healthiest foods you can eat. They are loaded with vitamin E and mono-saturated fat (the good fats) and have been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease. It is a big misconception that almonds and other nuts make you fat. They don’t and there’s study after study to support this.
Almonds and other nuts also contain a lot of fiber. High-fiber foods are great for weight loss because they fill you up. So when you need a “go to” snack, almonds can be one of the best tools in your weight loss arsenal.
The mighty blueberry is truly one of the most powerful superfoods in existence. The benefits are numerous and well-known including, anti-aging properties, anti-inflammatory, improving brain function, decreasing risk of cancer. And they can help you lose weight. They are full of hunger-satisfying fiber while still a low-cal option. Sure they have sugar, but not enough to have an impact on your waistline.
Cabbage has a thermic effect on the body and is one of the favorite foods for people who are trying to lose weight. It is low in calories – a full head is typically under 300 calories – and is rich in dietary fiber.
The ever popular “Cabbage Soup Diet” has firmly established cabbage as one of the premier weight loss foods but it also possesses many other health benefits, such as a great source for vitamin C, a well-known cancer fighter and more.
Coconut oil has burst on the scene as one of the healthiest superfoods. It can also be a tremendous tool in weight loss. Coconut oil is an extremely healthy fat and just by adding coconut oil to the diet it can help in achieving weight loss.
Coconut oil is unique among fats because it is made up of medium-chain fatty acids whereas most fats are made up of long-chain fatty acids. Medium-chain fatty acids are very effective for speeding up the metabolism and burning fat.
Most people are aware that we need to incorporate the essential fatty acids in our diets in order to achieve optimal health, but coconut oil is a fatty acid that can help us achieve fat loss. Though it sounds ironic, it’s a fact.
Ginger contains many health benefits including acting as a wonderful aid in digestion. It increases the pH in the stomach and helps stimulate digestive enzymes. This helps the body utilize the essential nutrients quickly and discarding the non-essential nutrients.
Ginger also aids in weight loss because it contains anti-inflammatory, stimulatory and glucose-sensitizing effects on your gastrointestinal tract. In addition, studies have shown that ginger has thermogenic properties that play a critical role in speeding up the metabolism. The great thing about ginger is that it makes food taste delicious so use often.[hr]
Eating raw celery is a tremendous weight loss tool for a variety of reasons.First, celery is a water-rich vegetable and will make you feel full because of the water. Second, celery is also loaded with fiber and fiber is a dieter’s best friend. Celery is low in calories. One cup of raw celery contains less than 20 calories. There’s no better food for weight loss that will make you feel full and yet contain such a low amount of calories than celery.
Broccoli is among the healthiest superfood vegetables out there. There is a mountain of evidence that shows broccoli to be a cancer fighter, immune booster and more. But because broccoli is so low in calories – just 30 calories per 1 cup of broccoli – it is a perfect choice for those wanting to shed pounds. Broccoli fills you up and is loaded with fiber. Eating water-rich foods that fill you up but are super low in calories are the perfect tool for sustained, healthy, weight loss.
Kale is one of those “deserted-island” foods. If you were stranded on a deserted island and you could only eat one or two foods, you would want kale. Why? Because kale pretty much has everything you need to be healthy in one tidy little plant. It is loaded with vitamins, especially vitamins C, A and K. It is loaded with minerals, especially, iron and calcium. In addition, kale is literally bursting with phytonutrients, trace elements and fiber. Kale puts the “super” in superfood.
Kale contains thermogenic properties and is low in calories. Because of the high fiber content, it makes you feel full but without getting the calorie bomb you get from other foods. You can add kale to salads, soups, stir-fry, soups, and even smoothies. And speaking of this, green drink smoothies for weight loss could be the best possible meal replacement in existence if you are looking to shed some pounds the healthy way.
There are many more fat burning foods that possess thermogenic properties; apples, melons, other berries, certain whole grains, water-rich and dark green veggies and more. A good motto to live by is if the food will benefit the body by providing health and energy, then it will also help you lose weight.
The most important factor to consider when losing weight is to engage in a weight loss program that is a healthy weight loss program. There are many ways to trick the body into losing weight fast, or to trigger your body to consume muscle. Muscle is a lot heavier than fat, so when you starve yourself and your body is forced to consume muscle, you will be delighted when you see the number on the scale. But this is temporary and the weight will inevitably come back. Not only that, but you will have all but destroyed your metabolism in the process.
Healthy weight loss is about feeding your body the foods that will not only improve your metabolism through the process of thermogenesis, but these water-rich vegetables and lean proteins will feed your cells the life-giving nutrients that will provide you with energy, that will supercharge your immune system to fight sickness and disease, that will improve your brain function, support your joints and connective tissue, strengthen your bones, and more. Basically, eating these types of foods will create overall health and wellness and shedding those unwanted pounds is just one of many benefits you will experience.
There are also a number of very good weight loss programs out there today that teach you about how to eat the foods that will help you accomplish your weight loss goals. These programs are designed to give you guidance in how to shop for these foods, how to prepare them and how to combine them thoughtfully in carefully planned meals to give you optimal results.
Is it mandatory that you use these programs in order to lose weight? Certainly not. The information is out there and easily obtained. But many people don’t have the time and the energy to research all this on their own and turn to these weight loss programs to reduce the learning curve and start losing weight fast.
We’ve researched some of the better ones and have a short list of weight loss programs that we recommend. For women we recommend The Venus Factor and/or the Fat Loss Factor. For men we recommend the Adonis Golden Ratio.
All of these programs have been carefully analyzed and the information they teach is solid and science-based that if followed, will not only help you lose weight, but lose weight in the healthiest way possible, and build up your overall health and energy levels in the process.