Shouldn’t fat burning be faster? Not to mention easier?
You work out zealously and eat healthy meals – at least most of the time – and the pounds are starting to drop off. You’re looking and feeling more toned, too, just as you’d hoped.
But with all this effort, shouldn’t you lose fat? Shouldn’t the flab be dissolving faster? If you’re of a certain age, you know the flab we’re talking about.
We know, it sounds like it’s too good to be true. But there actually are some things you can eat that spike the metabolism, trigger hormones that release fat, and eliminate toxins that make it hard for your body to shed unwanted pounds. Just be cautioned: For these foods to work their miracles, they must be consumed as part of a clean diet. That’s right, don’t expect to make up for a junk-filled day by noshing on a few fat burning kale chips.
It’s true: Certain foods have a very high thermogenic effect, so you literally scorch calories as you chew. Other eats contain nutrients and compounds that stoke your metabolic fire.
Here are the top fat burning foods:
- Hot peppers. Capsaicin, the compound that gives chili peppers their kick, heats up your body, which makes you melt additional calories. You can get it by eating raw, cooked, dried, or powdered peppers, says Lakatos Shames. “Add as much cayenne or hot sauce as possible to soups, eggs, and meats.”
- Lentils. One cup packs 35% of your daily iron needs—good news, since up to 20% of us are iron- deficient. When you lack a nutrient, your metab slows because the body’s not getting what it needs to work efficiently, says Tammy Lakatos Shames, RD, co-author of The Secret to Skinny.
- Green tea. Drinking four cups of green tea a day helped people shed more than six pounds in eight weeks, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports. Credit EGCG, a compound in the brew that temporarily speeds metabolism after sipping it. To up your intake, keep a jug of iced tea in the fridge.
- Low-fat dairy products. Rich in calcium and vitamin D, these help preserve and build muscle mass—essential for maintaining a robust metabolism.
- Lean meats. Protein has a high thermogenic effect: You burn about 30% of the calories the food contains during digestion (so a 300-calorie chicken breast requires about 90 calories to break it down).
- Whole grains. Your body burns twice as many calories breaking down whole foods (especially those rich in fiber such as oatmeal and brown rice) than processed foods.
Of course, you need to give it some time. Over time, some of the flab will disappear, if you’re diligent about the eating and exercise plans.