Want to burn belly fat fast? Fat burning can't only be triggered by workout but also by fat burning foods. Wondering what are fat burning foods? Let's read!
Want to burn belly fat fast? Fat burning can’t only be triggered by workout but also by fat burning foods. Wondering what are some fat burning foods that you can add to your diet? Let’s read!
Getting in shape, enhancing one’s fitness and shedding the extra flab are things that most of us desire today. These are also the things that seem to be the hardest to achieve for many, owing to our work routines and lifestyle. However, there are some who have understood the basic facts about balancing their food with the right kind of exercise to not only stay in shape but to stay healthy as well. They have understood that not weight loss; but actually fat loss must be the ultimate goal. Did you know that the foods we eat play a vital role in bringing about significant fat loss; if eaten right? Did you know that some food items are actually known as ‘fat burning foods’ or ‘fast fat burning foods’?
What are Fat Burning Foods?
All foods that we eat expend stored body energy in order to break down and get digested. There are some foods that use up more energy to get broken down than others. As a result, they consume more calories. Such foods are called thermogenic foods or fat-burning foods.
The moment food reaches our gut, the Gastro-Intestinal (GI) muscles get down to business. They move, churn, and contract to secrete digestive juices so that the food can be broken down. All this activity requires energy. The nutrients that the food releases in-turn, also need energy for their proper absorption. This energy comes from stored fat and glycogen.
Fat is stored in the adipose tissue surrounding our muscles, and glycogen is the energy stored when we eat carbohydrate rich foods. This whole process where the body is using energy to digest food and producing heat is called thermogenesis and hence, the name – thermogenic or fat burning foods. These fast fat burning foods offer a natural that ensures healthy fat loss over mindless and non-sustainable weight loss.
Fat Burning vs Weight Loss: How are Fat Burning Foods Different from Weight Loss Foods?
The terms fat burning or fat loss diet and weight loss diet are often used synonymously. However, this is not correct. The difference between fat burning foods as well as weight loss foods is as follows:
- The first and most important difference between fat burning foods and weight loss foods is that fat burning foods help to cut down the fat content in the body by burning it out. Whereas, weight loss foods are focused on shedding the extra kilos and therefore, may or may not be burning in nature.
- Natural fat burning foods help increase the body’s metabolic rate, Most weight loss foods aim to keep the body hydrated in order to prevent water retention.
- Since carbohydrates cause water retention, weight loss foods either do not contain carbohydrates or contain very minuscule amounts of it. When we consume a low-carb diet; there is a significant decrease in water from the tissues and therefore, quick weight loss. However, this may also cause loss of even the required amounts of intermuscular water causing tissue dehydration. As a result muscles begin to shrink and one may end up losing essential muscle mass. Fat burning foods on the other hand, need carbohydrate reserves (stored glycogen) to push the body into action and speed up its metabolism to ensure easy breakdown.
- From the day your weight loss diet is over and you return to normal food; in all probability, your weight will return as well. However, fat burning foods offer a sustainable weight loss solution that helps you gain lean muscle mass. While your body weight may not alter much, you will definitely appear slimmer and toned. That is why these foods are also known as belly fat burning foods.
- Just weight loss foods when combined with exercise bring about slower results as compared to when a diet rich in specific fat burning foods is supported with basic exercising. The results in the latter case are exponential, evident, healthier, and long lasting.
It is easy to incorporate natural fat burning foods in your diet without having to starve oneself or crave for some food item. The only thing of importance here is to manage the portions, pick the right combination of foods, and get the timing right.
What are the Factors Affecting Our Body’s Total Energy Expenditure?
Total Energy Expenditure or TEE is the total amount of energy that our body uses every day. Every person has a different value of TEE based on their age, weight, gender, height, and body composition. However, there are four major factors that significantly affect the way our body expends energy (or burns calories). These factors are personal to each one of us and include –
- Our BMR or Basal Metabolic Rate – the amount of energy that our body needs to carry out its regular processes.
- Physical activity – Any strenuous activity or bodily movement that we undergo; which requires more energy to be consumed.
- Adaptive Thermogenesis – Any kind of sudden change in a person’s environment that leads to enhanced usage of energy. For e.g- stress, trauma, starvation, sudden change in temperature, or the need for the body to get conditioned to something in its environment.
- Thermic Effect of Food – As discussed above, certain foods expend more energy than others and therefore, have a higher thermic effect or higher tendency for fat loss than others. Such foods use up the stored body energy in the form of fat and glycogen and that is why they also end up aiding weight loss.
What Studies Have to Say for Fat Burning Foods
Research has proven that foods rich in lean protein have the highest thermic effect consuming almost 30 percent of the calories they contain in simply breaking down and digesting. Research has also proven that small amounts of fat and carbohydrates are a must for the body to break down food and burn calories. Therefore, it is important to have a balanced diet, rich in some of the best fat burning foods. This helps you enhance the benefits of your exercise and workout. Both men and women can eat these fat burning foods for weight loss or to gain lean muscle mass.
When you consume these thermogenic foods, weight loss is actually just a bi-product. It is the overall toning and fitness of your body that will enhance your personality, making you look fitter and slimmer. In addition to that, these fat burning foods are satiating and help curb food cravings. That is why they make it to most lists of top belly fat burning foods and best fat burning foods for men who are into bodybuilding and athletic sports as well.
16 Fat Burning Foods that We must Include in Our Diet
Here is a list of the top fat burning foods that you must consume:
- Lean Meats – Perfect for those on low-fat diets, chicken offers the lowest fat percentage as compared to any other form of meat. Turkey follows next and makes a great muscle builder when teamed with other weight loss measures. Lean red meat is again a great source of protein with very little fat content. However, it is best to avoid the gravy when cooking this type of fat burning foods to keep the cholesterol low.
- Fish and Seafood – Certain types of fish have a high thermic effect and leave one feeling satiated for long. They also contain essential fatty acids such as Omega-3 and Omega-6. These aid normal body functions and enhance the body’s immunity. Fish must however, be consumed in moderation. Seafood, on the other hand, contains limited calories. Crustaceans, scallops, oysters, shrimps and clams are all great for weight loss and to burn fat.
- Eggs – These are super muscle builders and fat burners with moderate fat and cholesterol content. One egg a day gets your body working. For those aiming for weight loss, ditching the yolk and having egg whites is the best option.
- Strawberries, Blueberries, Apples, Pears and Avocado – Strawberries and blueberries are low in calories, help control blood sugar, and aid in stimulating metabolism. Apples, avocados and pears, on the other hand, are fibrous fruits that not only help cleanse your bowel but also make good between-meals snacks. They contain simple carbohydrates and are loaded with vitamins that the body absorbs quickly to give out instant energy and therefore, are good to have when you experience food cravings.
- Nuts and Seeds – A rich source of proteins, dietary fibre, and fat, nuts and seeds such as flax seeds, almonds, sunflower seeds, walnuts etc. make ideal thermogenic foods. These fat burning foods help build muscle and reduce food cravings. It is important to have nuts such as almonds with their skin to enhance dietary fibre that contains maximum thermogenic nutrients. They are the perfect fat burning foods for men both pre or post workout. Women looking for flatter bellies must stock up on nuts for instant energy without the bulk of guilt-ridden calories.
- Whole Grains – Although a rich source of complex carbohydrates, whole grains are considered to be excellent for belly fat burning. Grains such as quinoa, whole-grain cereals, and brown rice, are essential everyday staples that are rich in insoluble fibre. This helps these foods to pass through the GI tract much faster than the other carbs and contribute in small amounts to the glycogen reserves. Insoluble fibres are the perfect remedy for constipation. Being complex whole grains are also difficult to digest and prevent the body to store fat due to their high thermic effect.
- Herbs and Spices – Herbs and spices are great examples of thermogenic foods as they require more energy to digest and thus, spike metabolism. Therefore, herbs and spices make an integral part of a diet for fat loss.
- Hot peppers, Ginger, and Mustard – These foods contain capsaicin, a compound that keeps shifting from fat oxidation to carbohydrate oxidation and vice versa. This not only increases body temperature but also aids weight loss by triggering metabolism and enhanced satiation.
- Black Pepper – Black pepper contains piperine that causes the thermic effect of food and breaks down fat cells. It also aids better absorption of nutrients. It is one of the flavoursome belly fat burning foods, and can be added to any dish.
- Cinnamon and Cardamom – These help in weight loss by helping control blood sugar, increase blood circulation and trigger improved metabolism. Therefore, it is ideal for those suffering from Type 2 Diabetes and heart ailments. However, its use must be controlled and done under supervision to avoid interactions.
- Cumin Seeds – Cumin seeds when added to food help inhibit the absorption of bad cholesterol in the GI tract. They also increase the basal temperature of the body to aid weight loss.
- Cloves – These are the richest source of antioxidants among all condiments. They boost metabolism, bring down cholesterol, fight obesity, and improve digestion.
- Garlic – A common ingredient for various recipes, garlic is highly flavoursome and contains allicin. This compound helps reduce bad cholesterol for brief periods. Its regular usage controls cholesterol besides increasing the thermic effect of your dish.
- Veggies, especially green leafy vegetables – All vegetables are high in dietary fibre. But green leafy vegetables are complex carbohydrates. The body finds them difficult to digest and therefore, expends more energy to break them down. Some of them just pass through the GI tract quickly, thus helping internal cleansing of the system too. Green veggies such as spinach, lettuce, and cabbage contribute very few calories. However, they are loaded with free radicals and essential vitamins and minerals. Therefore, they also support body recovery post workouts and help muscle building.
A vegetable that deserves mention here despite being of negligible nutritious value is mushroom. Mushrooms offer almost zero calories to your food and yet, the taste makes them a good substitute for lean meat. That is why they can be incorporated in your list of fat burning foods for weight loss.
- Beans and Legumes – The biggest difference between vegetables as well as beans and legumes is that while veggies are primarily complex carbohydrates, beans and legumes are majorly, proteins. Since protein is the hero of a thermogenic diet, beans and legumes are the perfect fit in this list. They also contain resistant starches and fibre; thus adding to the thermic effect. Chickpeas, kidney beans, pinto beans, pulses, black grams, peas etc. are all great on your plate as they are also loaded with vitamins and minerals. They also contain absolutely no fat, making them an excellent choice in healthy foods to lose weight and fat.
- Enova Oils and Peanut Butter – Some oils are even more thermogenic than proteins. They are not easy to store as fats in the body and promote fullness thus, helping with diets. Some good examples are canola oil, coconut oil and soy oil. They are medium-chain fatty acids that enhance metabolism. Peanut butter on the other hand is one of the important fat burning foods for men as it boosts testosterone, burns fat and builds muscles. However, the secret lies in restricting quantities and not going overboard.
In addition to the above mentioned foods, you also need some supporting aids to burn more fat and bring about a transformation. These include beverages like iced water, green tea and coffee; and cooking oils such as olive oil. This is because:
- Green tea is a rich source of antioxidants and contributes zero calories. It boosts metabolism, and quickly oxidises and burns fat.
- Coffee contains a good amount of caffeine.
- Iced water too is a zero-calorie intake that besides keeping you hydrated and satiated. It also offers thermogenic benefits as it makes the body expend energy to increase the low body temperature and normalise it.
Making the Most of Fat Burning Foods and Preparing Fat Burning Meal
When putting together a meal that burns your body fat for you, make sure that it comprises a balanced and well thought out quantity of lean proteins, essential fats, and starchy carbs; besides being loaded with fibre.
- To start with, lay a foundation for your fat-burning meal with a green leafy or fibrous veggie. A fruit too may work, but veggies are great.
- Team it with any lean protein such as chicken, turkey or lean red meat. Vegans can opt for pulses and cottage cheese.
- Now build up your meal using a starchy carb, which can be a grain-based food, or potatoes. In fact, here you will have to be mindful of the quantity and decide the portion size.
- Do not forget the use of oil/butter/clarified butter in your preparations; although in minuscule quantities.
So, we have discussed what fat burning foods are, their comparison with weight loss foods, some of the most effective fat burning foods for weight loss, and more. There are different ways you can explore to add these foods to your daily diet.
Frequently Asked Question About fat burning foods
When fat loss is considered, there are a number of foods that you can rely on. These include eggs, seafood, lean meats, herbs and spices, whole grains, nuts and seeds, beans and legumes, and so on.