Some foods appear to have the ability to speed up the metabolism, suppress appetite, and/or provide additional benefits that make it easier to lose weight. However, if you are keen to lose weight, it’s best not to focus on fat burning foods alone. There are drinks that appear to provide fat burning benefits as well.
There are also healthy oils that may help some people to burn fat faster too. Many people swear by cider vinegar as well. Such options may not be “foods” in the traditional sense, but you can use them while preparing or eating your meals so, for the purpose of this article, I’m going to class them as fat burning foods as well.
Foods that May Help You to Burn Fat
Eggs are a cheap and nutritious food that are versatile and easy to prepare. They are also a good fat burning food but it may be best to avoid eating them raw like bodybuilders sometimes do. Although the risk of contamination is quite low, raw eggs sometimes contain the Salmonella bacteria.
Eggs are good for filling the stomach and keeping hunger pangs at bay. Some research shows having eggs for breakfast may keep overweight people free from hunger for several hours.
During one eight-week study, 21 men who ate three eggs for breakfast each day lost 16% more fat than the placebo group that breakfasted on bagels. Eating eggs for breakfast also appeared to help the men consume 400 calories less than the placebo group each day. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18679412)
So, why do eggs work for weight loss in this way? It has a lot to do with their high protein content. Protein is harder to digest than fat and carbs. That means the body has to expend more energy (calories) to get the job done. Some studies suggest digesting protein may increase metabolism by up to 35%.
Cayenne pepper deserves a place on any list of the best fat burning foods. The active component in cayenne is capsaicin. It’s present in several other members of the pepper family too, including chili peppers.
Many experts believe capsaicin boosts fat burning by increasing metabolism and thermogenesis. Some research supports it’s abilities as an appetite suppressant too.
The results of a study conducted in 2003 suggest eating fresh chili peppers may boost metabolism for up to half-an-hour.
In a later study, conducted in 2014, the volunteers who ate pieces of red pepper with their meals stayed fuller for longer and experienced fewer cravings.
If you don’t like spicy food, cayenne and other types of pepper that provide capsaicin may not be for you. However, if you are okay with eating a little pepper now and again, cayenne could be a good way to add some extra heat to your fat burning endeavors.
Split peas are another cheap fat burning food. Their high protein content makes them good for fending off hunger. In fact, one study suggests split pea protein may be better for reducing hunger than whey protein is. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22196620)
One of the best ways to take advantage of this cheap and nutritious food is to buy or prepare a split pea soup. A quick search of the internet will probably provide a few more interesting ideas such as split pea salads, curry, and hummus.
It’s probably unwise to go overboard, but oily fish is good for you. It provides omega-3 fatty acids. You hear a lot of talk about omega-3 these days. It’s been the case for quite a long time. Some of the claims are backed by science, but others are not.
Apart from having a reputation for being good for the heart, omega-3 fatty acids are also associated with fat burning. Hence the popularity of omega-3 and other types of fish oil supplements.
Several studies suggest omega-3 supports fat burning. The volunteers in one clinical trial lost an average of 1.1 pounds by taking fish oil supplements. The data also showed a reduction in cortisol (stress hormone). Further study is necessary, but high cortisol levels are sometimes linked to weight gain.
Oily fish is also a good source of protein so meals that contain it may keep hunger away for quite a long time. If you want to make oily fish one of your regular fat burning foods, it’s best not to go to crazy. You won’t need it every day. Just a couple of servings per week will do. Sardines and mackerel are two of the cheaper options or you could splash out on a nice piece of fresh salmon.
Olive oil has a reputation for being healthy. In fact, it’s probably one of the healthiest fats in the world. Extra virgin olive oil is the best type but it’s all good and studies conducted in Italy suggests it may be good for the heart. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29141571)
Some research suggests the compounds in olive oil may increase metabolism and fat loss. One study involved a group of obese postmenopausal women and taking extra virgin olive oil with their meals appeared to increase their fat burning abilities for several hours.
Using olive oil as a substitute for your normal cooking oil is only one way to take advantage of its potential fat burning capabilities. A better way may be to combine it with vinegar and use it as a dressing for a nice, healthy salad.
Coconut oil is good in many ways. Some people use it as a topical treatment for skin problems, others add it to their diet in the belief that it will support good health. Some women even use coconut oil as a makeup remover. Of course, none of this makes it a fitting entry for a list of the best fat burning foods.
There are so many claims made for the benefits of coconut oil it would be possible to write a book on the subject. Fat burning is one of the claims that gets bandied around a lot and there is research that supports using coconut oil in this way.
The results of one study suggest obese men who add a couple of tablespoons of coconut oil to their diet may burn extra fat. The obese men in the study lost an average of 2.5 cms from their waist measurements. That was without making any changes to diet and exercise at all.
There’s a flip-side to this story though. Some research suggests the fat burning ability of coconut oil may decrease after you have been using it for a while. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11571605)
Now a word of caution. If you are considering using coconut as one of your fat burning foods, it’s best to take things slowly at first. Although most people may be able to tolerate it well right from the start, others may not. Consuming too much to soon may lead to stomach upset. Begin with only one teaspoon per day and gradually build up to a maximum of two tablespoons of coconut oil per day.
All yogurts are good, but Greek yogurt may be the best option if you are using it as one of your fat burning foods. Greek yogurt is thicker than other alternatives. It also tends to have a greater protein content. These two aspects make it better for filling the stomach and preventing hunger.
Yogurts provide calcium. Most people know it’s an important mineral that’s necessary for strong bones, but calcium has other virtues as well. Supporting fat burning may be one of them.
There’s probably a need for further research but scientists at the University of Tennessee have conducted a study that suggests increasing calcium intake may help with weight loss around the trunk region. One of the most interesting things about the study is it suggests calcium from food may be more beneficial than calcium from supplements.
However, some yogurts are loaded with extra sugar. Be aware of that and choose your yogurt with caution. Going for a plain, unsweetened option could be the best way to go.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is said to possess may amazing abilities but finding proof to support some of the claims can be hard.
There are those who use it to suppress hunger. Others believe it may lower blood sugar and insulin. There are plenty of other claims as well. As you have probably guessed, apple cider vinegar is also allegedly a fat burning food. Research to support this claim is limited but it does exist.
During one 12-week study, involving 144 obese men, all the participants continued to eat in their normal way. The researchers gave the men a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar every day and the men began losing weight. The men also showed a 0.9% reduction in fat. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19661687)
One of the easiest ways to use apple cider vinegar for weight loss is to use it as a salad dressing. You can also take it from a spoon, but begin with only one teaspoon per day and try to dilute it with water. This will make it easier on your stomach. Some people take up to two tablespoons per day, but it makes sense to build up to this slowly.
Fat Burning Drinks
Coffee is a drink that may support weight loss in several ways. The most obvious way comes courtesy of its ability to boost energy levels. Many dieters find their low-calorie diets cause them to be plagued by feelings of fatigue. The caffeine in coffee can help level the playing field and may prevent a life with less calories from being overly disruptive on dieters’ lives.
Caffeine is also sometimes credited with appetite suppressing capabilities. If this is so, any benefit provided is likely to be very mild. However, caffeine has better credentials as a fat burning drinks.
A number of studies suggest caffeine boosts metabolism and thermogenesis sufficiently to power-up the body’s fat burning capabilities.
The results of one study supports its potential as an energy provider and a fat burner as well. It was a small study, limited to nine participants, but the results are still interesting.
All the participants were competitive cyclists. During the study, they exercised to exhaustion. The resulting data showed taking caffeine prior to exercise helped them to burn nearly twice as much fat and continue exercise activity for 17% longer. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/723503)
Other studies that support the use of caffeine as a fat burner suggest the effects may vary from one person to the next. The metabolism boost it provides appears to be 3-13%.
However, if you want to drink coffee as a fat burning drinks it will be best to take it black. Adding milk, cream, or sugar will provide extra calories that will make the beverage more likely to contribute to weight gain than weight loss.
It’s also important not to drink too many cups per day. Up to four cups of regular coffee per day should be fine for most people. Drinking more or partaking of stronger blends may cause certain individuals to experience jitters and other caffeine-related side effects.
Green tea contains caffeine too, but a cup of green tea does not provide nearly as much caffeine as a cup of coffee does. The fat burning capabilities of green tea are generally attributed to green tea catechins and, especially, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).
Obesity is a big problem—worldwide—and scientists are constantly searching for ways to rectify the situation. Green tea is one of several natural ingredients that has been subjected to a considerable amount of study. Although some research suggests otherwise, it’s fair to say most research is supportive.
In one study, involving 12 healthy men, the fat burning capabilities of the green tea drinkers were 17% higher than those of the placebo group.
It’s also worth knowing green tea is said to be one of the healthiest drinks in the world. (https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-green-tea)
There are fat burning foods that can help people to lose weight but it’s best to take advantage of them in a sensible way. First and foremost, your diet needs to be healthy and nutritious. Fat burning foods can be a part of it but it would be unwise to make them the primary focus.
Instead of trying to stick to fat burning foods, just incorporate them into already healthy meals. If losing weight is important to you, think about getting some extra exercise too. Apart from supporting you in your endeavors to burn fat, exercise also benefits the health in numerous other ways.