Whether you are embarking on a new fitness routine or trying to lose that last inch of belly fat, there is no denying the pivotal power of nutrition to support (or sabotage) your fat loss quest. With the myriad of mixed dietary messages we all receive, it’s important to remember that rather than viewing food as ‘the enemy’, it is literally the key ingredient to achieving our health and fitness goals. In the fat burning food world rankings, all foods are not created equal. There are some stand-out dietary choices that, when adhered to as part of a considered diet and exercise routine, have been shown to either directly or indirectly boost your fat burning capacity. In order to help you get into the coveted fat burning zone, we’ve listed our top ten best fat burning foods.
Oats are a fantastic part of any fat loss focused diet. Low-fat and low calorie, oats are also ‘low GI’ meaning they are digested slowly and therefore do not cause rapid glucose spikes like many typical breakfast cereals. The combination of high energy digestive cost, stable blood sugar levels and sustained release of energy result in improved fat loss over time, which might explain why oats have secured their prized place in so many effective weight-loss diets.
Can an apple a day really keep the fat away? Full of fibre, sweet and yet low in calories, apples are brilliant at keeping hunger under control whilst giving you a much needed energy boost. However, apples are more than just an effective appetite suppressant, with multiple studies demonstrating that polyphenols found in apples proactively aid the breakdown of stored fats within cells. The end result? Eating apples regularly leads to less impulsive food choices and increased fat breakdown.
3. Green Tea
To lose or burn fat, your body first breaks down fat contained within fat cells in a process called lipolysis. Lipolysis is induced by a hormone known called norepinephrine. Green tea contains an amazing antioxidant known as EGCG which reduces the breakdown of norepinephrine, resulting in sustained and higher levels of this fat-burning hormone being available. Green tea works even better when combined with exercise, with studies showing that men who drank green tea before exercise benefited from 17% increased fat metabolism versus men given a placebo. Combined with metabolism boosting effects of the caffeine contained within this ancient drink, green tea provides a tri-factor of fat burning properties. Not a green tea fan? EGCG can be found in any supplement store.
Despite years of negative press, the mighty egg is making a comeback – and rightly so. Not only are they packed with a wide range of essential amino acids, they are also fantastic when used in the fight against fat.
In a recent study of 152 men, researchers demonstrated that the group that had eggs for breakfast as opposed to a bagel (both meals had the same amount of calories), the egg eating group enjoyed a 34% greater reduction in waist circumference and a 16% greater reduction in body fat percentage after just 8 weeks as part of calorie-restricted diet.
Worried about cholesterol? Don’t be, both groups should no significant change in cholesterol levels across the study.
Technically a spice rather than food, cinnamon does more than add a pinch of festivities to all desserts and drinks. It contains an essential oil called cinnamaldehyde (CA), which was first found to prevent mice from becoming obese. A subsequent study demonstrated that harvested human fat cells that were treated with (CA) began to heat up and undergo ‘thermogenesis’; a metabolic bodily process which burns calories to produce heat.
6. Chilli Peppers
Not only are chillies incredibly low-calorie foods, but they also deliver metabolism boosting properties due to their active ingredient capsaicin. Researchers at the University of California showed that both men and women experienced a doubling of their normal metabolic rate for several hours after consuming a non-burning version of capsaicin.
In another study, capsaicin was also shown to mitigate the natural slow down in metabolism when one is consuming a low calorie diet.
The universally admired blueberry must surely deserve its fame as a superfood. With seemingly endless benefits such as preventing heart disease, lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, the holy berry has also been credited with positively influencing genes that are involved in the breakdown of fats and sugars.
Trials with overweight rats showed significant reductions in abdominal fat when their diets were supplemented with 2% blueberries. Interestingly, these positive changes in belly fat proportions were found in both groups that were fed low-fat diets and those fed a high-fat diet.
8. Greek Yoghurt
With high levels of protein and calcium and low levels of sugar, a full-fat Greek yoghurt can help you feel fuller for longer and is a perfect post-workout snack. Apart from a great nutritional profile, Greek yoghurt is also a significant source of iodine, essential for a healthy thyroid that promotes metabolic function. Sudden weight loss changes can often be a result of a poorly functioning thyroid, and low iodine levels have been shown to reduce your metabolism and result in more food being stored as fat.
9. Coconut (MCT) Oil
It might sound counterintuitive, but evidence suggests that coconut oil may actually aid in fat loss. How might this be? Coconut oil is vastly different from other types of cooking oils available. Highly stable at high temperatures, and thermogenic in nature, this nut oil contains ‘medium chain’ fatty acids – which have been shown to boost your metabolism. A word of caution, coconut oil is still a fat, meaning that it is still remains highly calorific, and should be used sparingly.
10. Dark Chocolate
Eaten in moderation, dark chocolate may have no dark side. This is because real dark chocolate (which is made of at least 70% cocoa) , is packed with antioxidants and healthy monounsaturated fatty acids. These beneficial fats, not only reduce cholesterol levels and lower your risk of heart disease and stroke, but they also cause you to burn more calories by revving up your metabolism.
The real ‘secret sauce’ to fat loss is recognising that no one thing alone will magically cause you to burn fat in isolation. Instead, considered choices, over time, compound to make all the difference. Just as bad habits eventually lead to an expanding waistline, wise choices will lead to a slimmer and healthier physique long-term. When coupled with an effective exercise regime and these edible biohacks, your fat-burning powers will be supercharged.