It goes without saying that you burn fat when you are active and exercising. But did you know some foods also help you burn fat just by virtue of eating them?
Although it seems like eating is a sedentary activity, your body is hard at work the whole time. As it digests, absorbs and metabolizes food, your body produces heat. This act of producing heat through food digestion— called diet-induced thermogenesis — causes your body to burn additional fat and calories even when you are at rest. In fact, we burn between 5-15% of our daily calories this way. Think of it like your digestive system’s own version of a power workout.
But when it comes to this digestive workout, not all foods are created equal. Some foods do a better job than others at producing heat and helping you lose weight. If you want a little extra boost, consider working these fat burning foods into your meal plan.
Loose Leaf Green Tea
Green tea is one of the heavy lifters of fat burning foods, because it contains catechins and caffeine, both of which have thermogenic properties. For the greatest fat burning potential, choose a loose-leaf green tea; loose leaf tea has more catechins than processed tea bags. Likewise, stick to high-quality green tea leaves if possible, because these contain the added benefit of EGCG extract, which helps break down fatty acids.
If you like milk in your tea, keep in mind that some studies show milk lowers the concentration of catechins and makes it less effective at burning fat.
Like the caffeine in green tea, the caffeine in coffee can also help you lose weight by stimulating the body’s central nervous system and enhancing thermogenesis. But keep in mind that caffeine makes some people feel jumpy or wired, so when it comes to both green tea and coffee, it is best to stick to just a few cups a day. Also, resist the impulse to add sugar to your beverages. These empty carbohydrates quickly negate any of the positive effects.
Hot Peppers: Cayenne, Chili, Spur and Tabasco Peppers
Hot peppers like cayenne, chili, spur and tabasco are also powerful fat burning foods because they contain high levels of capsaicin — up to 198,000 parts-per-million. Capsaicin is responsible for the spicy taste of these peppers, and while you feel the heat on your tongue, capsaicin also brings the heat inside your body. Studies suggest adding two milligrams of capsaicin to your diet increases the number of calories you burn by up to 50 calories per day. (Link to CapsioLin+)
If you aren’t a fan of spicy foods, Lindora’s CapsioLin+ is a great way to get the fat-burning benefit of hot peppers without all the spice. With the active ingredient of dihydrocapsiate, it helps burn both carbohydrates and fat, but lacks the pungency of a red chilli pepper.
Bell peppers and other non-spicy peppers also contain capsaicin, but to a lesser degree. These peppers have about a quarter of the amount of capsaicin as hot peppers. But, because you can eat them in larger quantities without burning your mouth, these peppers are also a valuable fat burning food.
If intense spice isn’t your cup of tea, using black pepper is another way to flavor your food and burn fat at the same time. Black pepper contains piperine which stimulates thermogenesis in the same way as spicy and bell peppers.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil has also been shown to stimulate thermogenesis and burn fat. As with any “good” fat, use olive oil in moderation as part of your meal program. But a tablespoon added with vinegar for a dressing is a great way to turn your salad into a fat burning food.
Out of all the foods that help you lose weight, proteins like lean meats, fish and legumes are by far the best fat burning foods. Extensive research shows lean proteins rank first among foods for their thermogenic properties. Like other thermogenic foods, protein has the capability to raise your body’s basal temperature. In turn, this increases the rate at which your body burns calories to create fuel.
Your Lindora meal plan centers around these lean proteins, so you are already well on your way toward eating plenty of fat burning foods.
Dr. Amy Lee, M.D.
Chief Medical Officer, Lindora Clinic
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Whiting, S., Derbyshire, E.J., Tiwar, B. Could capsaicinoids help to support weight management? A systematic review and meta-analysis of energy intake data. Appetite 73, 183-188(2014)