Want to burn fat with the food you eat? Find out the truth.
We’re always looking for shortcuts when it comes to food and nutrition, aren’t we? Wouldn’t it be nice if we could pop a magical fat-burning pill a couple of times a day and we’d stay lean without having to watch what we eat? There are plenty of products out there that seem to claim to do just that. Most fat loss supplements don’t have much convincing evidence that they do much of anything at all, much less burn fat, and many have health risks.
So let’s say we want to stick to foods to burn fat, rather than supplements. Google “fat burning foods” and you’ll get over 3 million results. But what’s the truth about these fat-burning foods? Not one of them is going to do the job on their own.
Your overall intake of calories each day, and the macro composition of those calories, makes the biggest difference to how much fat you’ll be able to burn.
Not very sexy, I’ll admit, but it’s true.
Your daily lifestyle, including what you eat and drink, how much you workout and how much daily activity you do, how much stress you’re under, your individual hormonal balance, and how much sleep you get, are all important to your body’s fat-burning capabilities.
So trying to get lean without looking at all of those areas won’t be as effective as it could be.
What Foods Might Help?
There are certainly foods that can help reduce your appetite or potentially increase your fat burn to a certain extent.
Protein, for example, is more thermogenic (fat-burning) than carbs or fat. That means that a nutrition plan that’s made up of regular feedings of protein and a decent total amount of protein (I generally recommend 1g per pound of bodyweight) will help you burn more calories than a plan that’s low in protein. So lean sources of protein like chicken, turkey, fish, lean beef, eggs, and some dairy should be a staple of your nutrition to burn fat.
A high protein nutrition plan improves your blood sugar regulation so that you experience fewer cravings and have more steady energy levels throughout the day.
Nuts can be a great way of controlling your appetite, if you’re able to keep your servings reasonable (about 1/4 cup, once or twice a day for most people).
Cayenne pepper is often touted as having some fat-burning properties, so it can’t hurt to add it to your food, but keep in mind that the effect is minimal overall.
The same thing applies for green tea, which also gets a lot of buzz for it’s ability to burn fat. The chemical compound Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) that’s found in green tea has been shown to increase thermogenesis (fat burn).
Caffeine, in general, can help increase fat-burning too. But it’s probably best to drink the green tea and coffee (plain) so that you get the appetite-reducing and hydrating benefits. Being well-hydrated will keep your appetite under control and make sure that your digestion is functioning more smoothly. In that way, even water can also help your body to burn more fat.
The truth is that there’s not magical food that increases fat burn. The fat-burning results you get will be most determined by the quantity and quality of food you take in on a day-to-day basis, as well as the physical activity you do. Not very exciting, I’ll admit, but it’s better to accept reality than waste your time looking for a magical panacea.
Sometimes you just have to put in the time and the work.
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