Eating these fat burning foods will help you lose weight in the long run, and they should be part of a healthy diet.
But – and here’s the biggest weight loss myth – there are NO such things as negative calorie foods. Please don’t fall for the hype about celery and citrus fruits needing more energy to digest than they provide. Enough scientific studies have been conducted, and they all show – these foods will still contribute calories to your body, even after digesting. So chomping down tons of celery won’t burn off that flabby belly, and might instead contribute to that belly getting flabbier!
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The Process Of Storing Fat And Burning It Off
Before going any further, I’ll briefly explain how the body stores and burns fat. Feel free to skip ahead to next section if you’ve heard this explanation too many times!
The process of storing fat is quite simple. When you consume food, part of the energy is used up by the body immediately – we need some energy to function regularly, and you can burn off a bit more through exercise.
But if you consume more food (and therefore energy aka calories) than you need, then the body converts it to fat. This fat is a “just in case” store of energy- it’s like a rainy day account for the body to burn off during lean times, when we don’t eat enough food.
So if you do have “lean times” aka go on a diet, when you consume fewer calories than you need, the body needs to get access to that store of fat and it starts burning off the fat.
In That Case, How Do Fat Burning Foods Work?
So, as I’ve mentioned before,
There are no negative calorie foods.
In that case, how can eating food help you burn off fat?
The answer is not quite as straightforward as it would be if negative calorie foods existed! Instead, here’s how fat-burning foods really work:
- Some fat burning foods increase your metabolism. This means that you’ll burn more calories during the day (going about your regular work) than you would have otherwise – which means that your body may have to burn off some fat to provide that extra energy!
- Certain nutrients are essential to the process of burning off fat for energy. Foods rich in these nutrients will help you to burn off that fat.
- Some foods will help you feel full for longer. This means that you’ll eat fewer calories, and your body will again have to go to its “savings account” of energy and burn off some fat.
- A lack of certain nutrients can cause the body to store fat unnecessarily. Eating these nutrients will ensure that the body doesn’t store fat unnecessarily and will help you to burn off some excess fat.
- Although there are no negative calorie foods, some foods need extra calories to digest. So although you won’t burn off fat just by eating these foods, you’ll be eating fewer net calories overall.
Fat Burning Foods That You Should Eat
I believe that these fat burning foods should be part of a healthy diet. These foods are all rich in nutrients, and help you to stay fit and healthy. Here are best fat burning foods:
Citrus fruits are a great way to get energy, increase your metabolism and provide your body with nutrients needed to burn off fat. In addition, most citrus fruits are quite low in calories and high in water content, which means that you’ll feel full on fewer calories!
I’ve become an avid juicer, and I love to start off my day with a freshly squeezed juice that includes oranges and lemons. I can really feel my energy levels increasing right after I have my breakfast juice! Other yummy citrus fruits you can try include kiwis, grapefruit and tangelos.
Rolled oats cooked with cinnamon and raisins are definitely one of my favorite breakfasts! It’s a soothing and yummy meal – but even better, rolled oats are rich in insoluble fibre. This means that they keep you feeling full for longer. In addition to helping you burn off fat, oats have a whole lot of health benefits including:
- They help to reduce cholesterol levels
- They contain anti-oxidants, which help slow down the aging process
- They help to stabilize blood sugar levels and keep you feeling energetic throughout the day
- They’ve been shown to be protective against breast cancer
- They contain high levels of minerals such as selenium, manganese, magnesium, zinc and phosphorous
Of course, if you still don’t like the thought of eating oats, you could try other fiber-dense foods such as bran or cooked barley.
Vegetables are essential for proper health, and they also contain minerals essential for burning off fat. They tend to be low in calories and high in water content as well, so most vegetables will help you feel full for a long time. Other than potatoes and yams, most vegetables are also low in carbohydrates.
Almonds are possibly the best-kept weight loss secret.
They’re not that sexy, but almonds help to regulate blood sugar levels. Stable blood sugar levels mean that you don’t get those sudden cravings for cake, chips or whatever your choice of “craving food” is.
In addition, almonds are possibly one of the best nuts available. They provide all the nutritional and health benefits that other nuts such as peanuts and cashews provide, but in addition, they don’t contribute to body fat levels. Nuts are naturally fatty, but studies show that the unique cell structure of almonds actually blocks absorption of the fat contained in almonds, making them an extremely “lean” food to eat.
Hot chillies contain Capsaicin, the compound that makes them “hot”. This compound heats up your body and increases your metabolism – which means you burn more calories throughout the day.
Unfortunately, I can’t stand much heat in my food, but if you like hot, spicy foods then by all means have more chilli!
You can have chilli raw, cooked or powdered.
You can also add more Capsaicin to your food with the addition of hot sauces and sprinkling spices.
Lean Meats and Chicken
Lean protein takes a lot of energy to digest. For instance, a third of the calories contained in chicken breast are used up during the digestion process.
While you’ll still be consuming calories when you eat meats and chicken, you’ll be consuming fewer net calories due to the ones used up in the digestion process. So while a chicken breast might contain 300 calories, you’ll use up 90 calories just to digest it.
Low Fat Dairy
Low fat dairy products contain calcium and vitamin D, which help to preserve muscle during the weight loss process. Ensuring good muscle mass is essential to keeping up your metabolism.
The calcium contained in dairy products such as cheese and yoghurt also helps to fight the fat storage process. Not getting enough calcium can trigger release of calcitriol, a compound which tells the body to store more fat. It’s important to ensure that you get enough calcium to prevent this calcitriol release and “accidental” fat storage.
Scientific research indicates that dieters who get part of their daily calories from dairy products lose more weight than those who don’t have any dairy. Now that we know more about calcitriol and the fat storage signals it sends to the body, it’s easy to understand why a fat burning diet should definitely contain dairy products.
Though it’s technically not a “food”, green tea can really help you lose weight.
One caveat I should mention though – I’m talking about actual green tea, not “green tea diet pills” or anything of that sort. Diet pills of any sort are a scam, and there have been no scientifically proven diet pills. In addition, most diet pills are actually bad for your health.
But, back to green tea. Studies show that people who have four or more cups of green tea in a day lost 6 pounds on average, over 8 weeks, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
While I’m not sure exactly how much weight you’ll lose by drinking green tea, one thing is for sure – green tea will definitely burn off some fat.
Water, Coffee and Decaf
Again, none of these three are “foods”. But I’ve found them invaluable in losing weight.
Water, coffee and decaf are 0 calorie drinks (as long as you don’t add sugar or milk to the coffee/decaf). They fill you up, and help you eat less.
In particular, I’ve found that drinking coffee or decaf makes me feel like I’ve had a treat, and prevents me from mindless snacking. I actually snack more on days when I’m out of decaf! So these three drinks have been amazing weapons in my weight loss fight.
The Fat Loss Process
Remember, great abs are made in the kitchen!
There is no amount of exercise that will overcome a bad diet, and eating a healthy, fat-burning diet is essential to losing weight.
The foods that I’ve mentioned above should be an integral part of a good weight loss diet. In addition, you should ensure you’re eating the right amount of calories, made up with foods you love, in order to lose weight quickly.
About Alisha: Alisha is a Melbourne-based blogger who is happy to have lost a lot of weight recently! She is now trying to be more fit and lead a more healthy lifestyle. In this blog she shares tips for losing weight quickly and easily. You can read more about her on the "My Story" page.