If you are trying to lose weight, you probably know how important it is to get your diet right. For most people, this means minimising the treats and controlling your portion sizes. But optimising your eating for weight loss doesn’t have to be all about cutting things out.
In fact, there are a number of foods that actually help with weight loss. Many of these are common, widely available ingredients that you can easily incorporate into your daily diet. Here we look at some of the best fat burning foods and how they could help you achieve your weight loss goals.
What to look for in fat burning foods
Before we get into specific produce and products, let’s look at how these foods actually aid weight loss.
Broadly speaking, there are two main ways different foods can help you lose weight:
- Speeding up your metabolism: Certain foods increase the rate at which your body burns calories. This is particularly important as weight loss largely comes from burning more calories than you consume.
- Helping suppress your appetite: Certain foods will make you feel fuller for longer. This should help you avoid overeating and can minimise (or prevent) cravings. Such foods usually also help build and protect lean muscle mass, which, in turn, helps you burn more calories.
The foods we’ve listed here have been scientifically proven to do at least one of these things.
There is also a range of other ways certain foods can help on your fat loss journey. From managing your hormones to helping break down key nutrients, different foods provide different benefits. We’ll spell out a few of these below.
Fatty fish (e.g. Salmon and Mackerel)
With its myriad of health benefits, fatty fish is widely considered one of the best things to eat when trying to lose weight. Most of these health benefits come from the high levels of omega-3 fatty acids fatty fish contains.
Omega-3 has been shown to help with everything from increasing brain function to reducing the risk of heart disease. In one study, it was also found that Omega-3 supplements helped participants lose an average of 0.5kg of fat over a six-week period. Fish oil supplements have also been linked to lower levels of cortisol, which is a hormone that controls fat storage.
To make things even better, fish is a great source of lean protein. This means it will help control your appetite and protect your lean muscle mass. It will also increase your metabolic rate, helping you burn more calories, even at rest.
With all of this in mind, fatty fish is an important part of any healthy diet. In fact, it is recommended that you eat at least 100g of fatty fish twice a week. This amount will help increase fat loss while protecting the health of your heart.
Eggs have long been a staple of every fitness fanatic’s diet. While they are most often connected with muscle building, they can also help with weight loss.
Specifically, they have been shown to help manage feelings of hunger. In fact, one study found that having eggs for breakfast led to participants consuming 400 fewer calories a day. This, in turn, increased fat loss by 16% over an eight-week period.
One of the main reasons for this is the high protein content in eggs. This helps boost your metabolic rate for several hours as your body works to break down the protein.
While there used to be concerns over the cholesterol contained in egg yolks, recent studies have largely allayed these fears. In fact, there is now evidence suggesting that whole eggs can actually protect heart health.
If you would like to increase your intake of eggs, breakfast is the best option. Having three eggs a few mornings each week should help you burn fat and keep you feeling full throughout the day.
Coffee, Green Tea, and Oolong Tea
Coffee, Green Tea, and Oolong Tea all contain caffeine, which has been shown to increase your metabolic rate. Studies show that this could be by as much as 13%, depending on how much you have and your body composition.
As coffee is a more concentrated source of caffeine, it has been linked to bigger increases in fat burning. As any coffee drinker knows, it can also improve your mood and overall performance. As such, having coffee before your workout should keep you moving longer and burning more calories.
While tea has less caffeine than coffee, it contains a range of other important antioxidants. Oolong tea is considered particularly good, with one study suggesting it helps burn twice as many extra calories as Green Tea. However, Green Tea is also an excellent source of EGCG, an antioxidant that is believed to help reduce belly fat.
An important point to note here is the potential side effects of too much caffeine. Caffeine is quite a strong stimulant and can cause everything from insomnia to anxiety. Avoid these issues by keeping your daily consumption to less than 400 mg (approx. four standard cups of regular coffee).
Coconut Oil and Olive Oil
Did you know the oil you use when cooking could also be a fat burning food? Many people cut out oil completely when dieting, but some can actually help with weight loss.
Coconut oil is considered particularly good because it is rich in medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). In addition to increasing your metabolism and suppressing your appetite, MCTs have been linked to increased levels of ‘good’ cholesterol. Adding coconut oil to your diet has also been shown to help reduce belly fat, even when there have been no other changes to their diet or exercise regime.
Similarly, adding olive oil to your meals has been linked to a faster metabolism and increased fat loss. It’s also believed this can help reduce the risk of heart disease and increase feelings of fullness for several hours.
Chillies and Cayenne Pepper
This one probably isn’t that surprising. Spicy chillies have been shown to supercharge your metabolism. This is largely due to an antioxidant they contain, capsaicin, which has been shown to help burn more calories. One study found that capsaicin is particularly effective at combating the metabolic slowing that reducing your caloric intake usually causes.
What’s more, chillies contain several other powerful antioxidants that help improve overall physical health. Specifically, they have been shown to combat inflammation and boost your immune system and have even been linked to preventing cancer.
In addition to being delicious, Greek yoghurt is believed to help burn fat. This is mostly because it is high in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which has been shown to boost your metabolism. Many studies have investigated this link, and most have found a clear correlation between increased CLA intake and weight loss.
Greek yoghurt is also high in protein, meaning it will keep you feeling fuller for longer. And it’s packed with probiotics, which can help maintain gut health.
With all of this in mind, Greek yoghurt could be a great addition to your weight loss diet. However, you need to make sure that it is a plain, full-fat variety as low/non-fat varieties contain limited CLA.
Apple Cider Vinegar
You may have heard some old wives’ tales about the health benefits of apple cider vinegar. Interestingly, science actually backs some of these claims up, particularly in relation to weight loss.
One study found that including apple cider vinegar in your daily diet can increase weight loss and fat burning. Other research supports this, connecting acetic acid (apple cider vinegar’s main component) with reduced belly fat storage in animals. It has also been shown to help manage diabetes by lowering blood sugar and insulin levels.
If you would like to add some apple cider vinegar to your diet, it’s best to start small. Begin by diluting one teaspoon in water and slowly work your way up to two tablespoons per day. This should help you avoid any digestive issues.
Boosting your fat burning with the right supplementation
If you’re serious about burning fat, the right supplementation can take your weight loss diet to the next level. However, you need to choose your products carefully, as there are plenty out there and they’re definitely not all the same.
One of the best supplements for weight loss is one of the most basic (and widely available) – protein powder. Protein is essential to building and maintaining muscle and burns more calories when being digested than other macronutrients. It also keeps you feeling fuller for longer, helping combat hunger and suppressing your appetite.
If you’re not sure which protein powder to choose, we recommend looking for something with plenty of high-quality whey protein. Whey has been shown to be particularly beneficial to those looking to lose weight, boosting the metabolism and protecting muscle mass. We think it’s also one of the best tasting proteins and has one of the most pleasant textures.
Crank up the heat even more by trying a specialised fat burner supplement. These usually include a range of vitamins, minerals, and essentials acids and are designed to give your metabolism an extra boost. Depending on the product you pick, it may also help increase energy levels and concentration and improve your recovery time.