When you see the words “fat burning foods,” are you a bit skeptical? I mean, it’s pretty hard to believe that putting more calories, fats, and carbs into your body could actually lead to weight loss. But there are some health foods that have a very high thermogenic effect and can burn calories as you digest them. There are also foods that boost the metabolism and trigger hormones that fight fat. So grab your fork and dig into these 36 fat burning foods that help you ditch those pesky pounds!
Is it a fruit? Is it a vegetable? Who cares? All you need to know is that it’s got a ton of good things for your body to help you burn fat and lose weight! A team of Japanese researchers discovered a powerful fat-blasting compound in tomatoes called 9-oxo-ODA. Other studies have found the beta-carotene and lycopene in tomatoes benefit fat loss. Researchers found people who eat beta-carotene and lycopene-rich diets have smaller waists and lower belly fat.
Additionally, tomatoes are low-calorie, low-fat, and rich in fiber! Like any bona fide superfood, tomatoes bring more to the table than just weight loss. They contain antioxidants that ward off various diseases and illnesses. So next time you go food shopping, be sure to add tomatoes to your cart.
Grapefruit doesn’t tend to make it onto many people’s shopping lists, but it should. In regards to weight loss, the long-standing myth that grapefruit promotes weight loss is turning out to be true. In one study published in the journal Metabolism, researchers found participants who ate grapefruit for six weeks lost a full inch off their waistlines. In a separate study with 91 obese individuals, researchers found participants who ate half a fresh grapefruit before meals lost 3.5 pounds over a 12 week period. There are numerous other studies that have reached these same findings.
Along with activating fat burning hormones, grapefruits have been shown to keep people feeling full and suppressing appetite. If you don’t have time to eat a whole grapefruit, you can always make fresh grapefruit juice and take it on-the-go!
There’s no need to eat bland and boring food when you’re trying to lose weight. This is a great time to experiment with seasonings from different cultures. Many of them have thermogenic properties that boost metabolism while simultaneously making some so-so dishes taste like they’re from a restaurant.
Some examples: Mustard seed will spice up your entree as well as rev your metabolism, ginger can help with your digestion, ginseng can boost your energy, and black pepper can help burn calories. Then there’s the yellow magic spice turmeric. If you like Indian food then chances are you will like turmeric. Along with a delicious flavor, turmeric can help break up fat.
4) Hot Peppers
If you like your food hot then I’ve got some great news for you! Hot peppers like habaneros, jalapenos, and chipotles can actually help you to lose weight while also adding a kick to food. That’s because they contain capsaicin, which provides several benefits that relate to losing weight. One of the main benefits of capsaicin is its ability to convert food into energy, which speeds up abdominal fat loss.
If you’re worried that eating such hot peppers can somehow burn a hole in your stomach, recent research shows they may actually help to prevent stomach problems, like ulcers, by killing the bad bacteria responsible. So fire away!
Don’t underestimate the power of cinnamon … it’s not just for baking anymore. You can get weight loss benefits simply by adding more cinnamon to your diet. Just consuming a teaspoon a day is showing positive results. What causes the magic? It’s the way that cinnamon helps to regulate your blood glucose levels. These levels play a major part in how you feel throughout the day — how energetic you are or how sluggish you feel. Maintaining good blood sugar levels can also help you crush cravings. Just make sure that you’re not counting that cinnamon on your cinnamon roll!
6) Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
Acidic foods can increase the rate at which your body burns up carbs. They can also give your metabolism a good boost, which can lead to weight loss. Apple cider vinegar is no exception. The enzymes found in apple cider vinegar help digest food and regulate blood sugar levels. As I mentioned above, this can help crush food cravings.
Aside from adding apple cider vinegar to a salad, you can also simply add a spoonful to a glass of water and drink the mixture about 30 minutes before eating. When it comes to what brand of apple cider vinegar you use, though, don’t judge a book by its cover. Rather than using a crystal clear vinegar, you’ll want to use one that looks murky and has a cobweb-like substance floating in it. This is actually desired. It’s called the “mother,” which means it still contains beneficial compounds (including beneficial probiotics).
Apples are often viewed as the ultimate health food and rightfully so. They offer the body many health benefits, including weight loss. That’s partly because apples are high in pectin, which binds with water and limits the amount of fat your cells can absorb. Additionally, apples are high in fiber, which makes you feel full for longer. Just be sure to chew your apple really well before swallowing and go organic so you can leave the peel on! Did you know the peel is loaded with beneficial nutrients?
Pears often get overlooked as the long lost cousin to apples, but they too offer a host of benefits, including weight loss. Just like with apples, pears contain pectin and are rich in fiber, which helps beat mid-morning or afternoon snacking. If you don’t keep pears in your house, then it’s time to start. You can eat them plain as a snack or you can cook with them!
Cantaloupe is a great weight-loss food since it’s high in filling fiber and the fat-fighting compound beta-carotene. It’s also sweet, yet low-calorie, making it the perfect treat. When it comes to eating cantaloupe, though, doctors say it’s best to eat it alone. In an interview about proper food pairing, Dr. Joseph Mercola said:
“‘Eat melon alone, or leave it alone, or your stomach will moan.’ In short, melon does not digest well with other foods and will frequently cause problems unless you eat it alone.”
Bananas contain soluble fiber that helps slow digestion and keeps you feeling full for longer. So if you eat a banana with your breakfast, you should be able to make it to lunch without a rumbling tummy. If you do find yourself craving a mid-afternoon snack, though, why not peel open another banana? One medium size banana only has around 110 calories, making it a great snack idea.
Bananas are perfect for just about every occasion since they’re a versatile food. Since they come in their own protective wrapping, they are a great grab-and-go snack. If you do have time to sit and enjoy a banana, why not cut one up and add it to some oatmeal? They are the perfect addition to smoothies, can be dried into banana chips, and taste delicious with a little dark chocolate drizzled on top!
11) Berries (Especially Blueberries)
Berries, in general, are great for weight loss and fat loss. That’s because they are loaded with polyphenol antioxidants that can help burn fat as well as prevent it from forming. Various studies conducted on both rats and humans have looked closely at the role berries play in weight loss. Researchers have found promising fat-loss results. We singled out blueberries, however, because they are a great source of the antioxidant resveratrol, which researchers say can help you lose weight.
When you chomp into an orange, chances are you think of their amazing dose of immune-boosting vitamin C. But did you know they also aid weight loss? While this fruit does contain a nice amount of sugar, the fiber in oranges actually helps to regulate your blood glucose levels. Additionally, oranges are low-calorie.
This is one food that almost every single diet plan in existence suggests you eat. Nuts are one food that unites the vegetarians and the Paleo followers. We have yet to find a diet program that says not to eat them. They’re straight from the Earth and a small handful of raw organic almonds, walnuts, or pecans can be a crunchy snack that leaves you feeling good for a few hours or more. Additionally, they contain beneficial nutrients that promote weight loss!
If you don’t like eating nuts for a snack, try chopping them up and sprinkling them on main dishes or side items. You’ll still get the good fats they bring and they help flavor up the meal.
Although carbohydrates have gotten a bad reputation, oats play a significant role in weight loss. That’s because they contain a good amount of fiber, slow digestion, help you feel fuller longer, and boost metabolism. In one study conducted by Tufts University, researchers found people who ate three or more daily servings of whole grains (such as oats) had 10 percent less belly fat than people who ate the same amount of calories from processed white carbs.
Everyone from The Biggest Loser trainer Bob Harper to the American Heart Association says eating a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast is a good way to start your day! Along with aiding weight loss, oatmeal benefits heart health by lowering high blood pressure and LDL “bad” cholesterol levels.
The many benefits of quinoa have been known for some time by vegetarians. Today, it’s a popular gluten-free food across several different diets. That’s because quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it contains the complete chain of amino acids that are necessary for muscle building and fat loss. Additionally, quinoa can help keep you feeling full for longer, ranks low on the Glycemic Index, and contains plenty of other key nutrients that benefit the body.
If you haven’t tried it yet, what are you waiting for? Check out this video to find out how you can incorporate quinoa into your regular diet.
16) Sweet potato
Sweet potatoes aren’t only a delicious Thanksgiving food. They’re great for dieters because they have fewer calories than regular potatoes and also help you stay satisfied between meals. They’re often called a “slow carb” because they’re digested slowly. Additionally, they’re loaded with powerful nutrients that stabilize blood sugar, lower insulin resistance, and keep your digestive system working properly. If you’re addicted to spuds this could be the perfect food for you!
17) Pine Nuts
Pine nuts contain a phytonutrient that actually helps suppress your appetite. It’s a nutrient that boosts ghrelin levels. Ghrelin is a hormone that’s often referred to as the “hunger hormone.” To put it simply, the higher your ghrelin levels are, the hungrier you are. In certain studies, researchers found people given the hormone ate significantly more than their usual food intake. This particular hormone is mainly produced in the stomach and works by signaling the brain to let it know the body wants food.
By adding pine nuts to your diet there will be no need to ever think about expensive diet pills with nasty chemicals. All you have to do is keep a supply of pine nuts available. Since pine nuts are tiny and crunchy you get to eat a lot of them without having to worry about ruining your weight loss efforts.
Beans are a staple weight loss food. They are touted for their ability to help regulate blood sugar levels and help with digestion due to their fiber content. Try adding a can of organic black beans as a side to your next meal, especially if it can replace a more carb-laden item like bread or rice. Many restaurants keep black beans on hand as a substitute for a side, so they’re a great go-to item when you’re out with friends and want to eat well without looking like you’re on a diet.
Lentils are gaining more popularity as a weight-loss friendly food. Their high-fiber content helps to keep you feeling good between meals and will help keep your blood sugar levels from spiking. If you’re going vegetarian you can use lentils as a good protein source. You can also use them as a side dish to compliment another protein. Lentils also help to keep your cholesterol in check.
Asparagus aids weight loss in a few ways. First things first, it’s a natural diuretic, meaning it can help rid the body of excess fluid. Second, asparagus is a detox food, meaning it can help expel toxins and other waste from the body. Lastly, it benefits digestion by feeding the gut’s good bacteria (AKA probiotics). That’s not to mention that it’s a superfood that contains plenty of vitamins and minerals that help you all-around.
A lot of dieters like the way asparagus tastes and it’s very easy to prepare.
If you’re a fan of guacamole then eat up! It’s one of the most effective weight loss snacks out there because of the main ingredient — avocado! Avocado is a unique green fruit that’s rich in mood-boosting vitamin B and can lower stress hormones. Since high levels of the stress hormone cortisol has been linked to weight gain, this is just one reason avocados are so great for weight loss. Additionally, according to researchers, avocados may prevent body fat distribution around the belly and crush cravings.
There are several different types of mushrooms. They include white button mushrooms, portabello mushrooms, crimini mushrooms, and maitake mushrooms. While they all offer their own unique characteristics (from their appearance to their nutrients), they all have one thing in common – they aid weight loss.
Mushrooms are low in calories, have virtually no fat or sugar, and are loaded with beneficial nutrients such as potassium. Additionally, researchers at The University of Buffalo studied the impact portabello mushrooms have on weight. After their two-week study, they found portabello mushrooms can help people lose weight by regulating blood sugar levels.
Mushrooms are great salad toppers, can be eaten raw like chips, or can be used in cooked dishes. Next time you buy mushrooms, try branching out from the popular white button mushroom.
Turns out your mom and your grandma were right – broccoli is really healthy for you! Along with providing your body essential vitamins and minerals it needs to function properly, the popular veggie can also help you shed fat. How? Well, broccoli is low in calories and fills you up! Although, it’s not just a filler. It has loads of nutrients per pound and it’s also packed with fiber so it keeps you regular, which keeps you feeling good. Bump up the flavor with spices or peppers. Skip the broccoli cheese soup, though, as that doesn’t work for weight loss!
Spinach is low in calories and carbohydrates, yet high in fiber. That’s a great combination if you’re looking to lose weight! Plus, Swedish researchers found women who consumed spinach for three months experienced a drop in weight, hunger, and cravings. You can eat spinach in several different ways, fresh as a salad or cooked. Along with fresh spinach, you can also get it frozen. It works for weight loss by adding bulk to your stomach without packing on the calories.
25) Green Tea
Green tea contains the antioxidant ECGC, which triggers the release of fat from cells, helping to speed up your liver’s ability to turn fat into energy. Sipping a few cups of this tea every day can also help rev your metabolism. If you are someone who also works out, you will reap even greater benefits. In a recent study, researchers found people who drank 4-5 cups of green tea every day and worked out 25-minutes a day lost an average of two pounds more than non-tea drinking athletes.
TIP: Make sure you’re reaching for regular green tea and not a bottled tea filled with sugar. Since green tea is a popular tea, there are a lot of bottled versions on the market. The best thing you can do is brew your own green tea. That way you know exactly what you’re drinking.
26) Coconut Oil
A spoonful of coconut oil provides you with 14 grams of fat, 12 of which are saturated fats. While sat fats were once viewed as “bad” fats, today, we know not all sat fats are created equal. According to researchers, the saturated fats found in coconut oil are mostly beneficial lauric acid, which is considered an extremely healthy medium-chain fatty acid (MCFA). MCFAs are easily digested. They are also immediately converted into energy, which means they aren’t stored as fat. In fact, researchers found people who consume coconut oil have smaller waistlines because it can fight belly fat. Plus, MCFAs help to stimulate the metabolism, which leads to weight loss.
In one study conducted by the University of Geneva, researchers fed eight healthy young men between one to two tablespoons of MCFAs or LCFAs before meals. At the end of the study, researchers found the men who ate the MCFAs experienced an increase in energy expenditure by 5 percent, totaling a loss of about 120 calories per day.
In a separate two-week study, researchers looked at how eating MCFAs affected appetite. They fed six healthy men a diet high in MCFAs and found they immediately ate 256 fewer calories per day. So, as you can see, in the long run adding coconut oil to your meals can help you eat fewer calories throughout the course of a day.
27) Olive Oil
While olive oil is not full of MCFAs, it’s still considered a healthy fat. This oil, which we have nicknamed “Liquid Gold,” has powerful anti-inflammatory benefits and is loaded with nutrients that benefit weight loss. Plus, olive oil can take the place of salad dressing and other oils that are considered “bad” fats. Simply swapping out bad fats for good ones can make a world of difference for your waistline and body fat.
Over the years, eggs have gotten a pretty bad reputation. Some people avoid eggs altogether because they believe the high fat and cholesterol content make them unhealthy. It’s important to remember that not all fats and cholesterol are created equal, though. Eggs are actually a great source of healthy fats and good cholesterol. Plus, eggs are a great source of lean protein, which can help you burn fat throughout the entire day. Studies show eggs support weight loss hormones.
Delicious and nutritious! Salmon is loaded with high-quality protein, healthy fats, and other important nutrients that help build muscle, burn fat, and benefit weight loss.
At first glance, you might think salmon is too fatty to be a weight loss super food. But it’s the type of fat that matters. Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which fight inflammation, fuel fat burning, and block fat storage.
When shopping for salmon, opt for wild-caught over farm-raised.
30) Chicken Breast
While this isn’t an option if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, lean chicken breast is often used by dieters and bodybuilders alike because of its high protein value and low amount of fat. The dark meat of chicken just doesn’t measure up when it comes to quality protein. Just remember that if you’re looking to lose weight then you should eat chicken breast skinless. Try using different spices like the ones mentioned in the beginning of this article to make it more flavorful and nutritious. When you combine strength training with a diet filled with lean chicken, it can help tone your muscles, leading to a faster metabolism.
31) Turkey Breast
Turkey breast is another lean protein that’s great to keep in your kitchen. Along with lean protein source, turkey breast is great for people who follow a no-carb or low-carb diet.
32) Pork Tenderloin
You may be surprised to hear that doctors are now calling pork a good diet food (as long as you pick out the right cut, that is). A study conducted by researchers at the University of Wisconsin found that a three-ounce serving of pork tenderloin has slightly less fat than a skinless chicken breast. Additionally, in a separate three-month study published in the journal Nutrients, scientists asked 144 overweight people to eat a diet rich in fresh lean pork. Participants experienced a significant reduction in waist size, BMI and belly fat.
33) Organic Lean Meats
Lean meats are full of protein without all of the fat, but you want to make sure to opt for organic. With conventional meats, cows, pigs, and other animals are pumped full of antibiotics and growth hormones. Do you know what that means for you? Well, you end up consuming those antibiotics and growth hormones! This can sabotage your weight loss efforts. If you can’t find organic, go with grass fed or all-natural.
34) Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt has been getting attention as a healthier form of yogurt. This is because it packs a bigger protein punch, with less sugar than ordinary yogurt. In addition to eating Greek yogurt straight out of the container, you can also use it to replace other “unhealthy” toppings. For example, you can use it as a reasonable substitute for sour cream and shave off plenty of calories and fat grams. You can also use it in your baking to replace other fats and oils, but this might take some trial and error.
35) Flax Seeds
You can sprinkle flax seeds on almost anything and immediately bump up the nutritional value! That’s because flax seeds contain vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that help your body. For example, flax seeds are a good source of omega-3s and fiber, which both help you feel full. It’s the essential fatty acids that also work to give your metabolism a boost. As a side bonus, it also lowers bad cholesterol levels.
36) Peanut Butter
Peanut butter gets special mention for weight loss because it’s a good fat and rich in protein. It tastes great, can crush cravings, and keep you feeling full for longer. In The Abs Diet, peanut butter is recommended for use in smoothies and is labeled a superfood.
Almond butter is also a good fat to have that can provide a lot of creamy goodness, but it’s generally more expensive than peanut butter. In any instance, opt for the organic varieties so you’re only getting peanuts and possibly sea salt.