So, you want to lose some of that fat, do you? Welcome to the party! Millions of people are looking to lose fat at any given time, and for most, it is within their grasp if they make some small changes. If you want to burn off 20 or 30 lbs, you can make it happen, and probably faster than you think, too. Here are some foods that help you to burn fat. Eat them and the fat will burn off, but hold on for just a second.
All things being equal, eating these foods will help you drop fat. What you can’t do is expect them to be a magic fat burning pill. If you’re eating 3,500 calories a day and you should only be eating 2,500, adding a particular food is by no means going to make you skinnier. Some of these foods can help your metabolism increase, and others can make your body more efficient at metabolizing fat, while a few more will add little or no calories while helping to do both.
Here are some foods that will help you burn fat, but they won’t do it on their own.
Green Tea – Not only can drinking green tea help your body burn fat, it contains no calories, so you’re not having to burn off the calories you just ingested with the tea. Try it without sugar, obviously. If you need sweetener, try a drop of honey. It has also been shown to provide valuable anti-oxidants that can protect against disease, and promote general health.
There is also evidence that green tea slows down the action of the digestive enzyme amylase. Amylase is used by the body to help break down carbs, so green tea may act to help moderate the effective glycemic index of dietary carbohydrates.
Low / No Fat Yogurt – I’ll probably get the anti-dairy Nazis all over me on this one, but they can just take a flyin’ leap. Really, I’m tired of all the groups in this country telling people they can’t do stuff, and it’s all someone else’s fault. There is actual scientific proof that eating low fat, sugar free yogurt will make you a better fat burner, and gain more muscle than those people that abstain. If you have allergies to dairy, you should obviously avoid it, but if I have to tell you that, there are bigger problems here.
A 2005 study at the University of Tennessee demonstrated that adding yogurt to your diet multiplied the participant’s fat loss efforts to the tune of losing 61% more fat than the test subjects who ate none. They also maintained lean body mass twice as effectively than the subjects who ate no yogurt.
Yes the study was supported by General Mills, who makes, amazingly enough, yogurt, but that doesn’t mean the research was flawed or the researchers were on the take. It’s a pretty simple experiment, so deal with it.
Enova Oil – This is a man-made oil that is derived from soybean and canola oil. Its claim to fame is that it is composed of diglycerides, which are assimilated by the body differently than the triglycerides that make up traditional cooking oils. A study by Maastricht University in the Netherlands demonstrated that subjects using this oil were far more effective at metabolizing fat. The double blind study was published in the May, 2003 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. An additional benefit reported was that test subjects reported less hunger when eating the Enova oil that with traditional cooking oils.
Grapefruit – While this fruit may too bitter for some people, it does seem to have some powerful fat burning properties. This food is traditionally thought of as breakfast fare, but it can be enjoyed throughout the day. It is high in flavor and provides loads of vitamin C, which is helpful to the immune system, and is very low in calories. This is obviously helpful when it comes to losing weight, but that isn’t the only reason it helps peel the fat from your body.
New research is emerging on the fat burning potential of this cannonball sized treat. A study conducted in that bastion of skinniness, Southern California, is shedding some light on why those ‘80’s grapefruit diets were so effective. A study of 100 overweight people at the Nutrition and Medical Research Centre at Scripps Clinic in San Diego, CA demonstrated the fat burning power of the grapefruit.
The test subjects were divided into 3 groups. Two of the groups added either grapefruit or grapefruit juice to their diets (before meals), while the last group continued on as before. The first two groups, despite actually adding the calories from the grapefruit to their diets, actually lost weight, an average of 3.4lbs! The actual fruit group lost 10% more than the juice group, but the results were impressive nonetheless.
The scientists theorize that compounds in the grapefruit help control insulin levels. The lower insulin levels help promote more efficient fat burning in the body, while elevated levels of this hormone are more conducive to fat storage.
Soybeans – These beans can cause some gaseous, ill effects for some, but they are high in protein, and more importantly for those who are trying to lose weight, rich in lecithin. Lecithin has been shown to help metabolize fat, although not to the extent some people were claiming 20 years ago when it had some popularity as a diet supplement.
You’ll love this! A Korean university study found that adding soybean hulls to donuts actually make them far less fatty! It’s true! You can add soybeans to donuts (a perfect fat pill if there ever was one) and the study showed a 36% drop in the fat content of the donuts.
A study at the University of Toronto also showed that eating soybeans can help lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and raise good cholesterol (HDL) levels in the blood.
Fish Oil – If you went through the ‘80’s you doubtlessly remember the low fat diet crazes that were seemingly everywhere. The theory was that eating fat would make you fat, due to the higher caloric density of fatty foods. To a point that is true, and eating excess saturated fats is definitely bad for your cardiovascular system.
The irony is that as new research emerges, it looks like eating certain kinds of fats is actually extremely healthy. Omega 3 fatty acids can have a tremendous benefit for cardiovascular health, and more important to most people reading this, it can help you burn fat and lose weight. Fish oil is a fantastic source of these acids and can be obtained in supplement form, or my favorite, broiled with garlic and onions!
Does real, scientific research support the efficacy of fish oil at helping people to lose weight and drop their fat? Of course it does, or I wouldn’t have included it here. There have been numerous studies published in peer reviewed journals on this subject. One such study on weather or not fish oil helps weight loss was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. They found that fish oil (rich in long-chain omega-3 fatty acids) helps to dramatically lower body fat and improve cardiovascular health. But, get this, it is only effective as a fat burner when combined with moderately intense exercise. I can hear you now; “Sure you lose fat when you exercise.” Not so fast……..
The surprising results showed that the study participants who consumed fish oil supplements and exercised lost far more fat than the groups who either took fish oil alone or exercised and had equivalent amounts of different oils. The synergistic effects of both were very powerful.
To measure the amount of body fat, researchers used dual energy X-ray absorptiometry, a method you’re not likely to find offered at the local gym. This high zoot machine revealed that the fish oil and exercise group lost 3.3 lbs of fat. The others lost little or no fat.
There are 2 issues to consider here. One is that that isn’t very much overall fat loss in a 12 week period, although it says great things for fish oil, since none of the other groups lost much of anything. The second is that, although researchers did monitor food intake at certain points throughout the study, they didn’t control it on a per meal basis. In other words, there could be some holes in the research because test subjects had to report their own diets, although it still says good things for the efficacy of the fish oil idea.
These foods can help you burn fat. I’ll get to others in a later post. Be aware that you’re not just going to add these foods to your diet and find the body of your dreams overnight. They’re not magic fat loss pills. It would be great, and if I find a way to do that, you’ll be the first to know. For now however, it is good to know that they can help you in your quest to lose your belly fat.