As we sit at our desks drinking cups of coffee and tea, we ponder over the ever-popular question: What’s the best way to burn fat? Is the answer to eat less or to eat right? Can you really change your body with food alone? And what are the best ways to eat a healthy and fulfilling diet, whilst keeping trim and feeling great?
Here, Savoir Flair reveals the best food and drink choices to burn fat that are a far cry from the old-fashioned calorie-cutting diets. Choose right, eat well, and burn fat!
Dubbed the ‘wonder spice’, cinnamon has so much more to offer than adding flavor to a warming curry or stew. It has been proven to help reduce blood sugar levels and LDL cholesterol (the bad type of cholesterol), and therefore is often recommended to diabetics. Since fat gain is commonly associated with high blood sugar, it can play a key role in fat loss and insulin stability. It’s also a fantastic natural anti-inflammatory. Try sprinkling it over porridge or into your coffee to incorporate it into your daily routine. It has a sweet taste so works very well in baked goods to help lower the added sugar required, without adding calories.
Drinking green tea is a great way to aid daily fat burning in the body and is an easy swap to make from classic black tea. Although black and green teas come from the same plant, green tea is not fermented, which means it withholds its beneficial components. It’s full of antioxidants and particularly abundant in a specific type called Catechin, which is key for breaking down fat cells. It inhibits the enzyme in our bodies that is responsible for degrading the body’s natural fat-burning hormone called norepinephrine, therefore the more norepinephrine we are left with, the more fat-burn! The caffeine in green tea is also beneficial for fat loss, because it boosts your metabolism and consequentially helps convert stored fat into energy.
Eggs are incredibly beneficial to include in one’s diet. Not only do they contain key vitamins and minerals such as iron, calcium, vitamin B12, and vitamin A, but they are also one of the best sources of lean protein and have a low calorie count (one egg equals roughly 80 calories).
The high protein content in eggs is the reason for their position at the top of the fat-burning foods list. The calorie demand on the body for digesting protein is greater than that of digesting fats or carbohydrates, therefore by changing just one meal from high carb and low protein to high protein and low carb, you will create more of a calorie deficit and promote fat burn. Eating protein will also aid in maintaining a healthy muscle mass, leading to a higher rate of fat burn, because more muscle means more calories are required at rest. The vitamin B12 found in eggs also helps the body to break down and burn fat by working with it to increase the metabolism.
Also high in protein and fiber, nuts are the perfect snack food for fat loss. This is where calorie quality becomes far more significant than actual calorie count, because, although they do come with a high calorie price tag, the fat-burning benefits outweigh the added calories when eaten in moderation. The healthy fats in nuts are rich and keep the body feeling satiated, deterring you from snacking on unhealthy options and helping to stabilize blood sugar levels, thus promoting fat loss.
The best nuts to support fat loss are almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts, pistachios, and cashews. They offer a wide range of healthy fatty acids that have been associated with lower LDL cholesterol. Mix the nuts together to ensure maximum benefit and taste, and try to avoid the salted and roasted types, as their health benefits aren’t nearly as prominent.
We knew we loved it for a reason! As a well-known and rich source of caffeine, coffee has become a staple in fat-burning drinks. Just as in green tea, the caffeine in coffee helps to boost the metabolism and break down fat stores, converting them into energy. As a stimulant, it also works well for energy boosting, helping to increase performance in the gym and throughout exercise. Just make sure you’re not combining coffee with high-sugar and high-calorie drinks, like chocolate mochas!
As it is one of the easiest fat-burning foods to incorporate into daily meals, chili peppers can make a real difference. They contain a compound called capsaicin, which gives them their kick. Research has shown that this compound causes thermogenesis (the production of heat) inside the body, helping to break down fat cells. Alone, this isn’t enough to burn notable fat, but accompanied with exercise it’s a great way to speed up the process of fat burning, using up fat stores as energy.
Ever heard the saying “Eat fat to burn fat”? Mono-unsaturated fats are incredibly beneficial for your health and are used readily during exercise as energy. They help to increase your BMR (basal metabolic rate – the calories you require day to day to function), which allows your body to burn fat quicker. They also contain a carbohydrate called mannoheptulose, which supports fat loss by limiting insulin release and improving the absorption of calcium. Just like nuts, the healthy fats in avocados will satisfy you and keep you feeling fuller for longer, leading to less unnecessary snacking and eating.
Carly Rothman is the blogger behind LeanLivingGirl, a health and fitness website based in Dubai.