Technically no, there are no foods that really “burn fat”.
Fat loss is achieved through exercise and eating less calories than the body burns in a given period of time. The good news is that there are foods that can help to burn fat.
Certain types of food can help you to keep your metabolism increased for long periods of time. The longer your metabolism stays increased, the more calories your body will burn. Looking at it from this point of view, I guess that there are foods that ‘burn fat’, but obviously not in the direct meaning of the phrase.
You can burn more calories by consuming high-protein foods, compared to foods high in unhealthy fats and refined carbs. It takes much longer for the body to digest and break down protein and in fact, eating a high protein diet may cause your body to burn up to 100 more calories per day because it takes more energy to metabolize protein than it does carbs or fat. High protein foods can also reduce your appetite, curb your cravings and impact hormones like leptin that regulate your weight.
On the other hand, simple carbohydrates that have the highest glycemic index are digested quickly and spike your insulin levels.
The order of food sources in which your body breaks down nutrients looks something like this (from longest to quickest):
- Protein from Animal Sources
- Protein from Dairy Products
- Fibrous Carbohydrates from Vegetables and Fruit
- Saturated Fat
- Unsaturated Fat
- Complex Carbohydrates
- Simple Carbohydrates
So, the longer it takes your body to break down nutrients from food the longer you will feel fuller. This way, you’re less likely to feel peckish and over consume “empty” calories.
Best foods that help you burn fat
- Seed, Nuts, Avocado – Excellent sources of unsaturated fats, vitamins and fiber. A number of studies have shown that including unsaturated fats in your diet supports fat loss and prevents muscle loss. Seeds and nuts are also a great source of plant-based protein.
- Fruit and Vegetables – Low in calories, contain plenty of fiber and will keep you ‘full’ for longer than plain, simple carbohydrates.
- Protein from Animal Sources – Lean beef, pork, chicken, turkey and eggs all contain high percent of protein that will build muscle and burn fat. Beef and pork also contain good amounts of creatine. The amino acid profile in meat is much better than plant sources.
- Fish – Besides the high amount of protein, fish has a rich unsaturated fat profile (omega-3 and omega-6). Like we mentioned earlier, unsaturated fats are known to promote fat loss and muscle growth.
If you really want to learn how to lose belly fat read our article on The Science of How To Lose Belly Fat.
Alternatively, check out our 1-Day Mediterranean Meal Plan Example. The Mediterranean diet is well known for its health benefits and is one of the most heart-healthy ways of eating there is. Staple Mediterranean ingredients include anti-inflammatory foods, built around plant-based sources and healthy fats.
This article first appeared on GYMNASIUMPOST.com on 27th June, 2020.