Fat loss – what to eat and the truth about ‘fat burning’ foods
‘Best foods to jumpstart your metabolism and burn fat!’ Sound familiar? There is a multitude of online articles that claim there are certain foods that ‘burn fat’.
And wouldn’t that be wonderful.
Unfortunately, this is a concept of myths and dreams. There are no specific foods that burn fat, and don’t get me started on fat burner supplements (this is another blog in itself, but spoiler alert: ineffective, unsafe or both).
To lose body fat, you need to be in a calorie deficit. That is, you are expending more energy than you are consuming. It can be easy to blame excess weight on a slow metabolism, rather than acknowledging that you may simply be eating more calories than you are burning. For more information and how to work out what your calorie output is, see the article calories and the energy balance.
While the theory is that these ‘fat burner’ foods increase the metabolism, by causing heat inside the body and the just fat melts away. The reality is that while stimulants such as chilli and caffeine may increase the metabolism slightly, studies show the effect is negligible on body weight.
The good news is, while the below foods are not ‘fat burners’ as such, there are foods that are great to include in your diet (for various reasons) when you are looking to lose body fat.
Here are our top foods to incorporate on a fat loss plan:
Studies have shown that good source of high quality protein will help keep you satiated for longer, and therefore it plays a role in the regulation of food intake. The satiating effect can also help to prevent cravings for unhealthy snacks between meals. Packed full of minerals and vitamins as well, eggs really are a great addition to any fat loss diet.
The effect of caffeine on sport performance has been well researched, with studies showing that caffeine can be used as an ergogenic aid, simply put – a cup of coffee may result in a higher output of exercise, and the ability to sustain the bout of exercise for longer. Both of which can result in more calories burned, and contribute to a greater calorie deficit.
Capsaicin – the active ingredient in hot peppers has been touted as a magic fat burner. In reality, while it can increase your internal temperature slightly and lead to a temporary increase in metabolism, it hasn’t been shown to result in any measurable increase in weight loss.
Although, eating foods that are spicy can naturally limit the amount you consume. Either you eat slower or stop eating earlier due to the heat. Therefore spicy foods can be a great inclusion in a fat loss diet as they naturally curb portion sizes.
The fermentation of foods creates probiotic bacteria, which are essential for healthy digestion. Unfriendly gut bacteria has been linked to obesity and inflammation in the body – inflammation can result in a resistance to the hormones leptin and insulin (the body’s two most important fat regulating hormones). To keep the gut bacteria balanced and maintain a healthy digestive tract, include a range of fermented foods in the diet. Fermented foods include; pickled vegetables, sauerkraut, kefir, miso and tempeh in your diet.
Bit of a wildcard, as despite what you may have heard (skinny tea, looking at you) teas do not help you lose weight. What does help you lose weight, is eating less calories.
Craving a mid afternoon snack? Or maybe you always feel like a little something in the evenings after dinner. Instead of reaching for what is probably a calorie laden snack, try having a herbal tea. Often snacking can become more of a habit or ritual associated with the time of day. Make tea your new habit!