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Are you looking to eat healthier foods? Or are you trying to lose a few pounds?
Either way, one of the simplest and most effective things you can do is to substitute what you’re currently eating with some healthier options.
Specifically, if you can get into the habit of eating foods that are proven to help you lose weight, then you can shed a few pounds without putting yourself on a restrictive diet.
In this article, we’ll go over 40 fat-burning foods that you should consider incorporating into your diet.
What You Will Learn
- 40 Fat Burning Foods to Include in Your Diet
- Fish and Eggs (Fat Burning Proteins)
- Fruits and Berries
- Leafy Greens and Vegetables
- Nuts, Pulses, and Grains
- Drinks and Other Liquids
- Final Thoughts
40 Fat Burning Foods to Include in Your Diet
Fish and Eggs (Fat Burning Proteins)
Eggs are among the healthiest of available foods. In addition to being packed with high-quality protein, they also have healthy fats and essential vitamins and minerals.
One large egg only contains about 78 calories, but because of its high protein content, eggs are known to increase fullness and reduce appetite. Eggs also help you burn more calories than other foods because extra energy is needed to metabolize them, which can also help speed up your metabolism.
Salmon is an oily fish that is filled with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, which help speed up weight loss and reduce visceral abdominal fat.
The lean protein in salmon helps modulate your insulin levels and is better for your heart and overall health than other proteins that contain more fat. Maintaining steady insulin and blood sugar levels is a critical part of weight loss.
Fruits and Berries
Apples are rich in pectin, which increases satiety and will help you eat less. Not only does an apple's peel contain fiber, but it also contains ursolic acid, which has been linked to a lower risk of obesity in recent mice studies.
Ursolic acid can increase your rate of calorie burn and increase your body's muscle mass and brown fat– which unlike white fat that stores calories, mitochondria-packed brown fat help you burn energy and create body heat. Eating apple slices with or before meals helps you feel fuller and eat fewer calories later in the day.
Avocados are full of vitamins (K,C, E), minerals (potassium, copper, magnesium, manganese), and healthy fats (oleic acid, which can trigger your body to reduce hunger while also helping decrease levels of bad cholesterol in your blood).
In addition to being high in healthy fat, avocados also contain fiber, which means that they have a strong effect on keeping your appetite satisfied. Fat and fiber together slow the release of food from your stomach so you can go longer between meals.
Bananas contain resistant starch, which is important for weight loss. This type of starch converts into a fatty acid in the gastrointestinal system and helps metabolize fats that are consumed, which then decreases fat accumulation in the long run. Eating a banana can also help you feel full for longer, which can prevent you from snacking between meals.
A medium, slightly green banana will keep you full and boost your metabolism with 12.5 grams of resistant starch. Ripe bananas also rank high in resistant starch with almost 5 grams.
Blueberries are well-known for their cognitive and heart-protective benefits, but research has recently suggested that they may also change the way your body metabolizes fat and sugar. In addition to containing manganese, which helps increase metabolism, studies have found that blueberries may influence certain genes that control fat-burning and storage, which may help reduce abdominal fat and lower cholesterol.
Blueberries can also help lower triglycerides, which make up body fat, and improve blood sugar levels. They are a low-calorie food, setting you back only about 80 calories per cup. Finally, they are rich in fiber– one cup contains 4 grams of fiber, which helps you feel full for longer.
Fresh figs are a good source of filling fiber and can replace sugary desserts. Figs are also rich in antioxidants. They contain phenol, which is an antioxidant that helps reduce your risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer. They also contain a digestive enzyme called ficin, which works as a digestive aid.
Researchers have found that eating grapefruit may suppress your appetite and therefore reduce your calorie consumption when eaten before meals.
Grapefruit also contains nootkatone, which is an organic compound that activates the enzyme AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) in cells, which helps boost metabolism. Nootkatone can also lower insulin (a fat-storage hormone), which can lead to weight loss. Grapefruit is a surprisingly rich source of protein, and it is at least 90% water, so it will make you feel full so you eat less.
Oranges are another fiber-rich fruit that are low in calories but very filling. Contrary to popular belief, it is not the number of calories in a food that fills you up, it is the volume of food that you eat. Eating foods such as oranges, which have very few calories per gram, can help you lose weight because you can eat a larger amount of food without consuming too many calories.
Oranges are also high in vitamin C, which may help with weight loss. Studies have found that people who consume more vitamin C typically have a relatively lower body mass index than those who don't. COnsuming vitamin C can also help you burn more fat while you exercise than you would if you were deficient in this nutrient.
Pears contain almost 20% of the body’s daily recommended amount of fiber, which keeps you satiated. This fiber also helps your body absorb vital nutrients from food and it helps regulate your digestive system.
Pears are rich in fructose and glucose, which will give you a natural energy boost, but their low glycemic index means these sugars absorb slowly in your bloodstream. Without the rapid spike and fall in blood sugar, you will not experience a sugar crash and cravings later in the day.
Pears also pack a nutritious punch with fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and very few calories. Make sure to eat the skin because that is where all the filling fiber is.
Leafy Greens and Vegetables
Artichokes are low in calories and fat but high in fiber. They are a great choice for a pre-dinner appetizer to help reduce your appetite. They are also full of antioxidants– in fact, they're number 7 on the USDA's “Top 20 Antioxidant-Rich Foods” list.
Cabbage is a low-calorie, vitamin-C-rich vegetable that you can eat in large amounts without guilt. It is rich in fiber and antioxidants and is often used in soups for weight loss.
Carrots are rich in fiber and have a high water content, which will keep your stomach full. They're naturally low in calories and have important vitamins and minerals that can boost your weight loss efforts.
Roasted carrots help burn calories faster and contain more antioxidants than raw carrots. Keeping the peels on the carrots also increases their antioxidant properties.
Cauliflower is packed with fiber, potassium, and vitamins C, K, and B6– and it has very few calories. Compared to other vegetables, cauliflower is high in protein, which will help satisfy your appetite.
The great thing about cauliflower is that there are different cauliflower recipes you can try no matter what your choice of diet is. Many people choose to substitute rice in their meals for cauliflower to decrease the number of carbohydrates they are eating and increase the number of vegetables.
15. Chili Peppers
Chili peppers contain capsaicin, which speeds up your metabolism and can reduce your appetite. Capsaicin can even be found in popular weight loss supplements due to its effectiveness. The spiciness of chili peppers also helps you burn more calories and lose weight. What's more, chili peppers are a good source of vitamin C.
16. Collard Greens
Collard greens are a natural weight-loss food. Not only do they contain calcium and vitamins C, K and A, they are also rich in fiber. One of the main elements of weight loss is to increase your metabolism instead of depriving your body of calories, which makes your body hold onto calories and fat more intensely. Eating foods high in calcium such as collard greens will help you burn fat while also providing you with a plethora of nutrients that are good for your health.
Kimchi is made with fermented cabbage and is mainly known for being a good source of probiotics. Maintaining a healthy gut is vital for proper nutrient absorption, which helps prevent the accumulation of body fat. Including kimchi in your diet can help with weight loss.
150 grams of kimchi has only 40 calories, and it aids in carbohydrate metabolism, which will add to your weight loss efforts. Further, the capsaicin that is in the chili peppers that are part of kimchi will help boost your metabolism.
Finally, Kimchi is a great source of probiotics. Probiotics are key to gut health, which actually influences many aspects of a healthy lifestyle. [See all the benefits of probiotics]
Pumpkin is low in calories and full of fiber, potassium, vitamin B, and beta-carotene. It is also naturally sweet, which makes it a great ingredient for baked goods. Not only can pumpkin slow down your digestion, it can also lower your appetite. Use it as a substitute for any high-calorie dessert so you can satisfy your sweet tooth without increasing your blood sugar levels.
Spinach is a great source of magnesium, a nutrient that helps lower blood sugar levels and helps you lose weight. Spinach also slows down the digestion process, which allows the hormones in your gastrointestinal tract to have enough time to be released and send a signal to the brain that you are satisfied when you are eating.
This can also help prevent cravings and suppress your appetite, which will allow you to follow your healthy diet. Enjoy spinach as an ingredient in healthy dishes or smoothies.
White potatoes have gotten a bad rap for being high in carbohydrates. While this is true and they should be enjoyed in moderation, potatoes have several components that make them a great food for weight loss and optimal health.
Potatoes contain a diverse range of nutrients — so much so that there have been accounts of people living solely on potatoes for extended periods of time. They are especially rich in potassium, which plays an important role in controlling blood pressure.
Potatoes are another great source of resistant starch which helps you feel fuller longer, and they rate high on the Satiety Index, which measures how filling various foods are.
If you boil potatoes and then let them cool, they will develop particularly high amounts of resistant starch.
21. Sweet Potatoes
Just like white potatoes, the resistant starch content of sweet potatoes triggers feelings of satiety, but they contain fewer calories and are rich in vitamin A and other nutrients. Sweet potatoes are very high in fiber, which helps slow your digestion and prevent overeating.
Nuts, Pulses, and Grains
Eating an almond-rich diet helps lower your cholesterol and curb hunger. They are rich in fatty acids like omega 9, omega 6 and omega 3s. These mono- and polyunsaturated fats are healthy and help prevent heart disease.
The skin of almonds is high in fiber, which helps promote proper digestion and healthy bowel movements. They are also a great source of protein and a convenient snack to carry around with you during the day.
23. Pine Nuts
Pine nuts contain fatty acids that help increase satiety. They also contain a hormone called cholecystokinin, which has been found to increase satiety as well. Eating just one small handful of pine nuts stimulates your body to release this hormone, which will reduce your appetite. The manganese and vitamin B1 in pine nuts also helps your body metabolize protein and carbohydrates more efficiently.
Also, with only 95 calories for more than 80 nuts, you don't have to feel too guilty eating them.
As long as you don’t douse it with butter, substituting popcorn for your alternative unhealthy snacks can help you achieve your weight loss goals. It is rich in protein, fiber, and polyphenols. Your gut transforms polyphenols into active antioxidants that are possibly more powerful than those you get from other foods that are known for being high in antioxidants.
Polyphenols can also slow cellular aging and improve heart health by increasing the flexibility of your blood vessels and decreasing the stickiness of their lining. These heart benefits may also improve your athletic performance which can, in turn, help you lose weight.
It is also virtually impossible to eat popcorn fast, so you will realize you are full before you have consumed too many calories.
25. Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is rich in protein and healthy fats. Pairing it with a complex carb like a banana or apple for a snack can curb your hunger and boost your metabolism.
Further, studies have concluded that when it comes to dieting, taste comes first. Because people generally like the taste of peanut butter, they are more likely to be able to substitute it for other more unhealthy foods.
26. Black Beans
Black beans are rich in dietary fiber and thus help curb your appetite and reduce belly fat, leading to weight loss. They also help maintain and strengthen bones because they are a rich source of iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, copper, and zinc.
Black beans will provide you with soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps reduce cholesterol, which is beneficial for your cardiovascular health. Insoluble fiber helps keep your digestive system healthy by preventing constipation. Not only are black beans filling, but they are also inexpensive, so they are a great food to keep on hand.
One cup of black beans has a whopping 15 grams of protein, and they don't contain any of the saturated fat that you may find in other protein sources such as red meat.
27. Garbanzo Beans
Garbanzo beans, otherwise known as chickpeas, are a rich source of filling fiber, protein, and healthy fats. One cup of chickpeas has 15 grams of protein and 13 grams of dietary fiber, which adds up to half of the daily recommended value. Like other pulses, these beans contain a significant amount of resistant starch that helps you feel full.
28. Kidney Beans
Similar to garbanzo beans, kidney or red beans are a great source of slimming resistant starch. They are also high in fiber, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, iron, copper, and potassium, which make them a nutritional powerhouse.
These legumes cook much faster than others and are low in fat, high in protein, and a great source of soluble fiber. Lentils help keep you feeling full for hours in between meals and are a rich source of fat-burning resistant starch, so they are digested very slowly. A half-cup serving of lentils has 3.4 grams of resistant starch.
Oats are considered to be a whole grain. They are rich in soluble fiber, which helps reduce levels of “bad” cholesterol. Oatmeal is often recommended as a breakfast food for diabetics because it prevents spikes in blood sugar and helps keep you feeling full.
Oatmeal is also loaded with beta-glucans, which have been shown to increase satiety and improve your metabolic health. A half cup of oats has 4.6 grams of resistant starch, which adds to its weight-loss properties.
31. Pearl Barley
Barley is a fiber-rich grain grown in the Middle East that is often baked in bread or used as a substitute for rice. When it comes to weight loss, this food is in the same category as whole wheat, oats, and whole grains.
Pearl barley is a great source of fiber, which will keep your digestive system working properly. One half-cup serving of pearl barley contains almost 2 grams of slimming resistant starch.
32. Brown Rice
Brown rice is a heartier alternative to white rice and it is much healthier for you. This whole grain helps control weight gain, as it is low in density, high in fiber, and it facilitates the slow release of sugar into your blood. Brown rice is also high in selenium, which helps boost your immune system.
A half-cup serving of brown rice contains 1.7 grams of resistant starch, which boosts metabolism and helps you burn fat. It is also a low energy-density food, which means that it is filling, but is not high in calories. Studies have found that people who eat a higher energy-density diet typically gain three times as much weight over time than those who eat a low energy-density diet.
This diet-friendly whole grain is rich in protein, which will help you stay full longer on fewer calories. Quinoa is a gluten-free, high-energy food that also contains a lot of iron and magnesium.
Enjoying a one-cup serving will increase your feelings of fullness because of its high fiber content. Quinoa also has a low glycemic index, which adds to its properties that have been linked to weight loss and improved health.
Drinks and Other Liquids
34. Green Tea
Green tea contains caffeine and EGCG, which both help speed up your metabolism. In fact, these two components of green tea may actually have a synergistic effect, working together to boost its weight-loss properties.
Caffeine is a well-known stimulant that increases your body's ability to burn fat and can improve your exercise performance. EGCG is a rich antioxidant that boosts metabolism, which makes green tea one of the healthiest beverages available.
These substances in green tea also increase the levels of certain hormones in your body that signal fat cells to break down, which releases fat into your bloodstream and transforms it into energy. You can maximize the fat-burning results of your exercise routine by drinking green tea regularly.
35. Red Wine
The resveratrol in red wine, which is an antioxidant found in grape skin, helps reduce body fat, especially at the waist. It also helps to reduce the negative side effects of a sedentary lifestyle by preventing a decline in metabolic health.
Another benefit of resveratrol is that it can improve how your body directs the calories you consume and whether they are stored as fat or burned for fuel, which is known as insulin sensitivity. This can help reduce your chances of getting diabetes and help with your weight-loss efforts.
However, keep in mind that red wine has a lot of calories, so drink no more than one glass a day.
36. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil contains a unique blend of fatty acids that have strong effects on your metabolism. The main component of this healthy oil is medium chain triglycerides, which boost metabolism and help reduce appetite.
Unlike long-chain fatty acids, medium-chain fatty acids are sent directly to the liver after being digested, where they are either immediately used for energy or they are transformed into ketone bodies. Studies have also shown that those who add coconut oil to their diet have a reduced appetite and automatically begin to eat fewer calories.
37. Greek Yogurt
Eating greek yogurt every day can help you lose weight. This low-fat, high-protein, calcium-rich, and probiotic-rich food is a great option for a satiating breakfast or snack. Eating more healthy yogurt helps you eat less.
Researchers have found that dietary calcium has a direct effect on weight loss efforts. Dairy foods that are high in calcium such as greek yogurt have been shown to increase the breakdown of body fat and keep your metabolism high while you are dieting.
38. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar's main component is acetic acid, which helps promote fat loss, improve blood sugar and insulin response, and improve metabolism.
Apple cider vinegar also helps you eat fewer calories because it promotes fullness– partly due to delayed stomach emptying. Studies have shown that people suffering from obesity who drank 1–2 tablespoons of pure apple cider vinegar every day for 12 weeks lost both weight and body fat.
39. Lemon Water
Lemon water is an easy-to-make drink that is low in calories. When you want a hint of flavor, drinking lemon water instead of drinks like soda and orange juice is a good way to cut calories. Further, if you drink a cup of lemon water before meals, it will help fill your stomach up and prevent you from overeating.
Staying well-hydrated prevents you from eating more than you should because it curbs your appetite. Drinking more water can also help with your weight loss efforts and help you maintain your ideal weight because it increases the number of calories you burn throughout the day, especially if you choose ice-cold water. Increasing your water intake by as little as 1% means you'll consume fewer calories, saturated fat, sugar, sodium, and cholesterol.
Losing weight doesn’t have to be such a pain. While regular exercise is important, watching what you eat has more influence on your weight loss results.
Remember, you can't out-exercise a bad diet, and weight loss is 80% about what you eat and 20% about how active your lifestyle is. So next time you go grocery shopping, make sure you stock up on these fat-burning foods.
Finally, if you want to focus on a great HEALTH habit that increases your energy and helps with your weight goals, then take 30-seconds each morning to prepare this drink to feel energized throughout the day.