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14 Fat Burning Foods and How They Work

Fat burning foods

When you hear someone talking about fat burning foods, what picture comes to mind? Some foods and beverages can help with weight loss via a few different actions in the body, although they do not literally burn fat. With that in mind, here are 14 fat burning foods and how they work.

Which foods can help you lose weight?

Berries: Why have berries been singled out as fat burning foods? Three factors come to mind: they are very good sources of fiber, they contain a lot of water, and they are naturally sweet, which can satisfy sugar cravings without all those added calories. Did I mention they are easy to eat and that there are lots of varieties?

Celery: Just one-half cup of chopped celery provides only 8 calories, along with water and fiber. If you find celery to be boring, try tipping it in fresh salsa for a low-fat, low-calorie treat that also provides water to keep you feeling full.

Coffee: This beverage can give your metabolism a brief boost, and that benefit is attributed to the caffeine. In addition, as noted in the journal Eating Behaviors, encouraging the consumption of energy-free beverages such as coffee for those with calories “may facilitate weight management.”

Cucumber: This vegetable (which is a member of the gourd family) does not pack a lot of nutrients, but it contains few calories and contains lots of water. So although cucumbers may not light a fire under fat, they can help douse the desire to eat more food.

Eggs: The fat burning secret of eggs is protein: eating protein in the morning can keep you feeling satisfied longer than chowing down on toast or other carbohydrates. The “burning” part of the explanation is the fact that the body burns more calories to metabolize protein than to handle carbohydrates.

Fish: Similar to eggs, fish also is a good source of filling protein. Bonuses associated with fish are the presence of healthy fat (omega-3 fatty acids) in some fish, such as salmon and herring; and the fact that many fish are naturally low in fat anyway.

Grapefruit: You may have heard of the grapefruit diet, but there’s nothing magical about this citrus fruit except that it contains lots of water and fiber and can help you feel full fast. Grapefruit also is a great source of vitamins A and C and even contains a little bit of protein.

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Greek yogurt: What’s so special about Greek yogurt? Protein. Greek yogurt is strained thoroughly to remove as much lactose, sugar, and liquid whey as possible, which is why the yogurt is so thick and contains about twice the protein (15-20 g vs 9 g) as other yogurts, about half the sugar, and helps you feel fuller longer. Also available in nonfat and low-fat and soy varieties.

Green tea: Numerous studies indicate green tea can speed up metabolism, at least slightly and for a short time, and plant compounds called catechins are usually credited with this benefit. A recent study in the Journal of Medicine Food reported that obese women who participated in resistance training and also consumed green tea showed a significant increase in resting metabolic rate, lean body mass, and muscle strength and significant declines in body fat when compared with women who participated in resistance training without green tea.

Hot peppers: If you like hot, spicy food, then hot peppers with their “secret” ingredient capsaicin can help with fat. The slight rise in metabolism from capsaicin is short lived, but every little bit helps when it comes to weight loss, and people typically eat less when their food is hot—but don’t compensate by drinking high-calorie beverages to cool off!

Oatmeal: When you choose a hot, steaming bowl of oatmeal, you provide your body with a significant amount of filling fiber and water, both of which help make you feel satisfied and thus less likely to continue eating. Be sure to choose whole grain oats and to flavor them with low-calorie choices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, stevia, or fresh berries (which also are fat burning foods).

Quinoa: This tiny seed grain from South America packs two weight reducing properties: one cup provides 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. When you add the fact that it is easy to prepare and goes great with vegetables, fish, nuts, beans, and fruit, you have a great addition to your menu.

Water: The weight management factor of water is obvious: drink up and fill up! In addition, “drinking water results in greater fat oxidation compared with other beverages, because drinking water does not stimulate insulin,” as noted in Nutrition Today.

Watermelon: Although many fruits and vegetables are high in both water and fiber—two critical ingredients when working to lose weight—watermelon is an especially good choice because it is also sweet and contains other important antioxidants, including lycopene and vitamins A and C. Watermelon is often considered to be a summertime treat, but you can enjoy it year round in many parts of the country.

If you are trying to lose weight, be sure to include these fat burning foods and beverages on your menu.

Cardoso GA et al. The effects of green tea consumption and resistance training on body composition and resting metabolic rate in overweight or obese women. Journal of Medicinal Food 2013 Feb; 16(2): 120-27
Dennis EA et al. Beverage consumption and adult weight management: a review. Eating Behaviors 2009 Dec; 10(4): 237-46
Stookey JD. Drinking water and weight management. Nutrition Today 2010 Nov-Dec; 45(6): S7-S12

Image: Pixabay

Updated 6/2/2014