6. Fat-Burning Foods (Include Those High in Fiber and Protein)
Eating filling, fat-burning, natural foods doesn’t come along with the same risks as taking pills. The key is to consume your calories wisely, choosing foods that are filling, healing and chock-full of nutrients like fiber, protein, healthy fatty acids and antioxidants.
- High-Fiber Foods: These include things like chia seeds, flaxseeds or fresh veggies and berries. Because fiber is not able to be digested once consumed, plus it absorbs so much of its own weight in water, these foods help slow your body’s digestion of glucose (sugar), keep you feeling full and beat cravings. Many foods high in fiber are also very nutritionally dense, meaning you get more bang for your nutritional buck.
- Cherries: Cherries contain high levels of antioxidants thatfight free radical damage and protect cells. Recent research also indicates that cherries might help remove excess body fat and increase melatonin, supporting a healthy sleep cycle, which is crucial for healthy thyroid function.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: Consuming ACV before a meal may help you feel fuller with less food, reduce cravings for sweets and improve digestion functions.
- Coconut Oil: Thanks to the medium-chain fatty acids it contains, coconut oil (and similar fats, such as ghee) can actually help your body burn fat for fuel and use up more energy during everyday functions like digestion. Healthy fats like coconut oil have also been found to be very satisfying for hunger and may support thyroid health, which is crucial for maintaining a strong metabolism. Swapping out refined vegetable oils for coconut oil in your cooking is a simple way to get more in your diet.
- Protein Foods: Foods high in protein like whey protein, grass-fed beef, wild-caught fish or free-range chicken require more energy for the body to break down than foods lower in protein. They’re also beneficial for reducing hunger or cravings and maintaining lean muscle mass, especially as you get older and naturally lose some every decade. If your goal is to lose weight, I recommend consuming half your body weight in grams of protein a day. For those seeking to burn fat and build muscle, aim to consume 0.7 to a gram per pound of body weight (for example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should get 75 to 150 grams per day).
- Bone Broth: Thanks to the abundance of amino acids bone broth contains (like glycine, proline and arginine), bone broth prevents muscle breakdown, increases your metabolism and helps detoxify your body.
- Spicy Foods like Cayenne Pepper: Spices that warm the body seem to be good for more than just keeping you feeling toasty — they may also increase your body’s ability to burn fat, suppress hunger levels, normalize glucose levels and reduce your appetite for sweets. Studies have shown that herbs like cayenne pepper, turmeric, cinnamon and dandelion may all help reduce weight gain without having negative effects. (10) Because spices have positive effects on metabolism, I recommend adding some daily to things like homemade detox drinks, marinades for proteins, stir-fry, veggies or soups.
Other Important Tips for Burning Fat:
While the above foods and supplements can steer you in the right direction, don’t neglect the importance of things like:
- Getting enough sleep (seven to nine hours per night) in order to control cortisol levels
- Giving yourself enough recovery time between workouts
- Drinking plenty of water
- Managing stress to regulate release of appetite hormones, cortisol, endorphins and serotonin