For many of us, we say what we want is to lose weight, but what we actually mean is that we want to get rid of fat. Our “weight” is made up of bones, muscles, organs and other things we need to live long and happy lives! So although we could lose weight by getting rid of lots of different parts that make up our whole selves, what we actually want to do is get rid of, or burn, fat.
So how do you burn fat? Well, I’m sure you’ve seen ads for plenty of fat-burning supplements out there on the marketplace at the moment. But research suggests that these are not going to help you in the long run. Instead, fueling your body with the best possible natural foods and drinks will help you burn fat by boosting your metabolism.
Below you’ll find a roundup of the best natural fat burning foods that will assist you with losing weight and achieving your weight loss goals while making sure you’ve got the energy you need for whatever life throws at you.
Best Natural Fat Burning Foods
Now, I know that if you’re trying to burn fat, you might be tempted to cut out all carbohydrates, including sweet potatoes. But hear me out. You do need some carbohydrates in your diet, especially if you’re heading to the gym. Carbs give us the energy to burn which you need for your workouts. You might be aiming for a calorie deficit (eating less than you’re exerting) but if you do this by a large degree or for too long it can lead to unhealthy results.
And sweet potatoes should be your go-to. Alongside those carbs, they’re packed with fiber which can help reduce your hunger hormones, help you feel full, control your blood sugar and so much more! So if you have the choice, pass on the pasta and bread and head for the sweet potatoes.
Afternoon coffee cravings? Try drinking some green tea to see if it helps. Not only does it contain a bit of caffeine, but there’s also a lot more going on in this cup. It contains epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) which has been shown to promote fat burning and reduce belly fat. Which we all know is stubborn and hard to get rid of!
The studies are a little inconclusive though, as some have not had the same results. It does seem that you need to drink at least four cups a day to see results. So if you love green tea, this is your sign to drink it all day!
If you’re looking for a healthy snack to aid your weight loss, you should definitely consider pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas. Packed full of fiber, protein and unsaturated fats, you can eat a lot of these bad delicious little treats without the downsides of other snacks! Look for varieties that aren’t toasted, salted or with other additives. You want them as close to their natural state as possible so you’re not getting a whole lot of other things in your diet with them.
Another great way to consume them is to switch out your peanut butter for something new! You can get so many different nut butters these days it seems a bit of a shame to limit yourself to the same-old-same-old.
Or more specifically, medium-chain triglycerides, commonly known as MCT. It’s a type of fat that your body deals with (or metabolizes) differently than long-chain versions. The short version gets set straight to your liver to be processed and used for energy.
A great way to add this to your diet is what is called a “bullet-proof” coffee. A few tablespoons of MCT oil blended into your coffee. You might want to start out with a smaller amount and build up to this amount. Like anything, it can take our body a while to adjust. And you need to give it that space rather than just forcing it!
More than just a way to spice up just about any food, cayenne pepper contains a magical little ingredient called capsaicin. In a study where calories were restricted by 20%, including some cayenne pepper in the diet helped to counteract the reduction in metabolic rate usually seen. That meant more fat burning was occurring. Studies have also shown that it helps reduce your appetite and can increase the daily number of calories burned by 50. That’s incredible! Just by adding a little spice to your meals, you can burn more calories!
Green Leafy Veggies
I can’t get enough green veggies in my life! Honestly, there’s nothing that they can’t do! With a huge variety out there, make sure you’re eating variety to get the most nutrition you can from them. Try some Chinese cabbage, pak choi or chard if you never have before. I know it’s tempting to stick with what you know, but stepping outside of that can be a delight for your tastebuds as well as you’ll be getting different nutrients in.
Because these bad boys are nutritionally dense, low in calories and high in volume, you’re going to loads of goodness in, without the unnecessary calories and feel full because you can eat such a large quantity!
If you’re looking for some ways to add more greens into your snacks and meals, don’t worry. I wrote a whole blog post on how to do just that. Get that here. It’s not as hard as you might think to add some greens to each meal of the day. And it’ll do wonders for you.
Fatty fish is such a tasty option to help you with your weight loss! Salmon, alongside other fish like mackerel, sardines and herrings are loaded full of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. These omega-3s have been shown to reduce inflammation. Studies have also shown that people who took regular fish oil supplements saw a drop in cortisol. What is cortisol? It’s a stress hormone that has been linked with fat storage. I know for a lot of women, stress levels can have a huge impact on how much extra fat they’re carrying so reducing this hormone can have a beneficial response.
Fish is also a great source of protein, which is the macronutrient that’s going to leave you feeling fuller for longer. That’s going to help keep you from overeating and spiking your blood sugar levels so that you end up craving more food than you need.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll love a great big salad with a dressing of good quality olive oil. And I’m here to tell you that that oil could be helping you burn fat! As the large number of followers of the Mediterranean diet will tell you, a couple of tablespoons of olive oil added to your diet each day is good for your heart health, being linked with lower risk of heart disease.
It’s also going to leave you feeling full for longer. Good fats, alongside protein, are designed to give you satiety. This is that feeling of being comfortably full. Which helps you eat less as you aren’t constantly looking in the pantry for something to satisfy that hunger. It’s also going to boost up the metabolic rate and get you burning more calories.
These little things are such powerhouses in so many ways. They can be added to meals to increase your overall protein intake, hard-boiled and eaten as a snack, perfect for breakfast with leafy green vegetables. So how do they help you burn fat?
Well, egg-based breakfasts have been shown to help you feel full for longer, reducing overall calorie intake across the course of a day. You’re less likely to overeat and consume unnecessary calories if you’re satiated. And that’s not all about the number of calories. It’s about getting the right mix of monounsaturated fats, protein and other nutrients right.
The protein in eggs is also shown to increase your metabolic rate by between 25-30%. That’s extra fat burning going on, without you having to do anything except eat.
Full Fat Greek Yogurt
This delicious food is great for breakfast, snacks and as a dessert so no excuses to not include it in your daily meal plan somewhere! But why should you? Well, it’s loaded up with protein, potassium and calcium which should be enough. It’s also been shown that high-protein dairy products help with fat burning and help keep your muscles intact while you’re losing weight. Like I said at the start, we want to make sure we’re maintaining our muscle mass while we’re losing weight. Especially if you’re spending a lot of time at the gym looking to build muscle strength!
Make sure you’re choosing the full-fat varieties. I know that fat has been a dirty word for a while and there are a lot of alternatives out there, but what you want is the Full-fat Greek yogurt as it contains healthy fat alongside conjugated linoleic acid. This is what promotes weight loss and helps you burn more calories.