Want to lose weight? You’re not alone. According to the National Institute of Health, 35.7 percent of adults are considered obese, while 1 in 20 (6.3 percent) have extreme obesity.1
In an effort to combat unwanted weight gain, many experts suggest a person get 30-60 minutes of exercise daily. While this is ideal, it should be noted not everyone likes to exercise. Another point to keep in mind is burning fat doesn’t start when you lace up your sneakers, it starts in the kitchen.
Top Foods to Burn Fat
If a person works out, they may do it for an hour at a time, but what they do the other 23 hours is just as important, if not more so. Here’s a list of top fat burning foods:
Blueberries. Blueberries are low in calories and high in fiber. They contain vitamin C, potassium, and antioxidants. The high fiber in blueberries helps to eliminate waste, which makes them ideal for weight loss programs.
Blueberries can be added to smoothies, eaten with yogurt or simply eaten alone as a snack.
Turkey breast. Turkey is a great food for fat loss, but the caloric values can vary:
- Roasted turkey breast has 160 calories, 24 grams of protein and 6 grams of fat.
- Roasted turkey legs have 170 calories, 23 grams of protein, and 8 grams of fat.
- Wings and thighs each have 190 calories, 23 grams of protein, and 10 grams of fat.
Turkey breast is effective for weight loss when used to replace meats that are higher in calories and fat. Avoid frying and serving with sauces high in fat and sodium for best results.
Cinnamon. Cinnamon is believed to be an effective tool for weight loss because of its effect on insulin: A study in the Journal Diabetes Care noted that cinnamon helped reduce insulin spikes as well as reduce fasting blood glucose, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol in people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.2
Cinnamon can be added to teas, oatmeal and smoothies. Women who are pregnant or lactating should consult a physician before taking cinnamon to lose weight.
Spinach. One cup of spinach has only 7 calories, which makes it great for weight loss. It is most effective when eaten in lieu of foods that are high in calories and fat. The fiber in spinach helps a person feel fuller which can result in less calories consumed.
Spinach can be added to smoothies, eaten in salads, or added to sandwiches.
Apples. One large apple has 120 calories and has 5.5 grams of fiber. Apples also have a high water content which can help curb a person’s hunger.
An apple with a tablespoon of honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon makes a great substitute for high calorie sweets.
Hot peppers. A group of researchers at the University of Wyoming has found evidence that capsaicin, the component that gives chili peppers their heat, may help in the fight against obesity by stimulating energy-burning and turning white fat to brown fat. (White fat cells store fat, while brown fat cells burn stored fat.) Once it is activated, brown fat can burn up to 300 calories in 24 hours.3
Hot peppers can be added to a variety of foods, ranging from soups to salads.
Other foods that have been shown to burn fat are the following:
- Peanut butter
- Beans & legumes
- Chia seeds
The Top Beverages to Burn Fat
In addition to food, a few select beverages can aid in fat burning and weight loss as well:
Green tea. In a study reported in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition, sixty overweight adults were given 3 meals per day for 12 weeks. Half the group received green tea and the others received a placebo. The green tea group lost 24 pounds more than the non-green tea drinkers over the 12 week trial period. Researchers concluded that the weight loss was because the green tea increased energy expenditure and fat oxidation.4
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, 2-3 cups of green tea should be drank daily for best results.5 Pregnant women should avoid caffeine due to the caffeine content.
Water. Water is calorie free and is an excellent replacement for sugary drinks. Water is also effective if consumed before meals, as it can fill a person up, prompting them to eat less. Drinking more water flushes toxins out of the body and helps to shed water weight.
Adding cinnamon or lemon slices to water will add flavor as well as boost its nutritional value.
Skim milk. Studies are ongoing, but a report published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition is investigating a link between increased levels of vitamin D and calcium in a person’s blood with increased weight loss and lower body fat percentage.6
Low fat and skim mile are best, but lactose intolerant individuals can drink fortified soy milk and fortified orange juice instead.
Exercise is a great way to lose weight and burn fat, but a person’s diet plays a role as well.