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food that burn fat

Top 15 Foods to Burn Calories

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 15 best fat burning foods.

Fat burning food Oats

1. Oats

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.


2. Apples

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.

Green Tea

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.


4. Eggs

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.


5. Cinnamon

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.

Blue Berries

7. Blueberries

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.

Greek yoghurt

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.

Coconut oil

 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. The MCT oil which coverts to energy very quickly can be found in bulletproof coffee and is popular those on a keto diet. A word of caution, coconut oil is still a fat, meaning that it is still remains highly calorific, and should be used sparingly. 

dark chocolate

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.


11. Ginger

Packed with approximately 400 antioxidant compounds, ginger gets is superfood status for it’s numerous health benefits to the body, like regulating blood sugar levels, improving digestion and burning fat. Ginger influences how your body burns fat, digests carbohydrates and uses insulin. Additionally, ginger prevents how much fat your gut absorbs and helps control appetite. What’s more, it is very high in Vitamin C, which means it also gives you an added immunity boost and can be used to prevent coughs and colds, especially coming into the winter months. Enjoy it in it’s most natural form like a ginger shot or in a soothing cup of tea.


12. Grapefruit

There are multiple beliefs and studies which claim that grapefruit magically burns fat, so let’s clarify straight off the bat, this is not the case. In saying that, this vibrant citric fruit does have it’s fair share of health benefits, and one of them includes aiding weight management. It has a low calorie count and is very dense in nutrients. The fibre content in grapefruits (half a grapefruit contains 2g of fibre), means you feel fuller for longer, so you consume less empty calories. They also come in at 104 calories per fruit, so you can enjoy small servings through the day.


13. Asparagus

It’s no surprise that a green vegetable made this list, but the Asparagus officinalis is an absolute hidden gem when it comes to keeping the weight off. Incredibly low in fat and caloric content, asparagus helps boost your metabolism which naturally kickstarts weight loss. Filled with folate, Vitamin C, Vitamin K and fibre, this perennial flowering plant is high in thermic effect, which signifies the energy your body requires to digest food. The higher the amount of protein, the higher it’s thermic effect, and the more likely it is to improve your metabolism. Coming in at 2.9g of protein per cup, asparagus should be a top choice in your weight loss journey. Did we mention the host of other health benefits like promoting good gut health, preventing UTIs and detoxifying organs?

fatty fish

14. Fatty Fish

Contrary to the name, fatty fishes are a nutrient-rich food type and can add flair of versatility to your meals. Not only are they delicious, but incredibly dense with minerals. Packed with omega 3-fatty acids, fatty fish like salmon, cod, herring, trout and mackerel are high in lean protein, but low in caloric content, meaning you feel fuller for longer and will keep those unhealthy cravings at bay. If you’re new to the world of seafood and are wary of the “fishy” taste, opt for trout, which is known to have a milder, nutty flavour than most fish types. Also, keep in mind that some fish have a higher fat content than others, so choose wisely. The fish preparation method is equally important if you’re trying to maintain a low caloric intake – grill, bake or sear instead of frying your fish and avoid cooking it in butter. Instead, use extra virgin olive oil, spices and herbs to pack flavour in.


15. Quinoa

Quinoa has shot up in popularity over the years, becoming a staple choice, particularly for those who have dietary requirements. Known as the “super grain”, quinoa is loaded with fibre, proteins, zinc, healthy fats, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamins and minerals. The high fibre content means you stay satisfied after consumption, while the low caloric count means you can consume slightly more portions when compared to pasta or noodles. One cup of cooked quinoa (185g) coming in at 222 calories. Prepping quinoa is equally stress free, just boil in water and rinse it out once it’s cooked. After that, it becomes a blank canvas so you can bulk it up with your choice of ingredients. My personal favourite way to eat quinoa is in a cooked salad form. I add tomatoes, capsicum, corn and mixed beans and then top it off with little vinaigrette dressing. Bonus: quinoa is gluten-freen and low in glycemic index (35), meaning it is suitable for diabetics and celiacs.

What to consider when consuming low calorie foods?

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.

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General FAQ

Which is the best food to consume if you are a vegetarian or vegan?

The top foods to burn calories if you are a vegetarian or vegan include MCT oil, chilli peppers, beans, legumes and nuts and seeds.

What foods burn calories while you sleep?

Having protein, such as a greek yogurt protein shake, before sleeping, especially if you have worked, out can help burn calories and boost weight loss overnight.