The 12 Most Effective Fat-Burning Foods, According to Science
Looking to lose weight, safely? By switching up your diet to favor those things that help you burn fat and increase your metabolism, you can do just that. But what does that mean, grocery shopping–wise? We've got the answers from Angie Kuhn, RDN, director of research and nutrition for Persona Nutrition, and Daily Harvest nutritionist Amy Shapiro MS, RD, CDN, who detail what foods and items you should definitely be adding to cart.
Fish provides countless minerals and vitamins essential to body functions, including zinc, iron, selenium, vitamins B12 and D, and especially iodine. "Iodine is used by the thyroid to make thyroid hormones, which affect every cell in the body and are central to our metabolism, from blood pressure and bone growth to body temperature and resting metabolic rate," says Kuhn.
Shapiro agrees. Fatty fish burns fat due to "the omega-3 fatty acids that help to lower cortisol, a fat storage hormone," she says. "Fish is also a great source of high-quality protein. Our body uses a lot of energy to digest protein, more so than fat or carbohydrates, and also protein helps to create a sense of fullness, which prevents us from eating further."
Eggs are a godsend—they're cheap and have a ton of quality protein. "Research shows that starting your day with an egg-based breakfast can help you to feel full longer and consume less overall calories," says Shapiro. "Because eggs are made out of high-quality protein, the digestion can increase the metabolism as it requires more energy to digest than carbohydrates and fats." Translation? Fat-burning energy.
"Egg yolks are one of the most nutrient-dense, antioxidant-rich, and vitamin-laden foods on the planet!" emphasizes Kuhn. "Compared to the yolks, the whites are basically protein and water. One egg contains six grams of high-quality protein and all nine essential amino acids. Lutein and zeaxanthin are the major antioxidants in eggs and are also essential for eye health."
3. Bone Broth
Bone broth is not only fat-burning but offers a ton of other nutritional boons as well. "Bone broth is naturally rich in minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and iron, as well as natural collagen, which has been shown to increase skin elasticity, promote joint and tendon health, and support muscle growth," says Kuhn.
4. Green Tea
Drink up, friends. "Studies suggest the polyphenol catechins and caffeine in green tea can rev up your metabolism and increase fat oxidation," says Kuhn. "Green tea consumption also may increase longevity."
"Avocados are a nutrient-rich food that provides your body with potassium, vitamin C, vitamin K, and antioxidants," says Kuhn. "Avocado is also one of the best sources of folate. One avocado provides 41% of your folic acid daily value requirement."
6. MCT Oil
What's MCT? "These are medium-chain triglycerides that go directly to the liver to be used for energy when consumed," explains Shapiro. "Some research shows MCT oil can help to burn fat as it increases our energy and therefore caloric burn. It is also satiating and can lessen hunger."
7. Coffee (or Other Caffeinated Items)
"Depending on the amount consumed, caffeine can raise the metabolism and increase energy to burn more calories and lead to weight loss—especially if consumed prior to exercise," notes Shapiro.
8. Coconut Oil
9. Whey Protein
This protein source helps keep you full, and according to studies, works to increase your metabolism in all people—slim or obese. Use it to amp up your workout smoothies.
10. Chili Peppers
According to studies, the heat from chili peppers is said to help increase metabolism and burn fat while also adding anti-inflammatory properties to your diet. Meaning? It’s time to get spicy.
11. Full-Fat Greek Yogurt
Besides the truly good-for-you probiotics (hello, gut health), greek yogurt made from full milk contains conjugated linoleic acid, which according to some studies, may help with fat-burning, particularly in overweight individuals.
12. Olive OIl
Start the drizzle. Olive oil is truly one of the best fats and according to one study, promotes fat burning.
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