Eat to lose weight? Sounds too good to be true. However, some research shows that certain foods may have a fat-burning effect in the body.
“Some [foods] have a thermogenic effect, heating up the body (and thus metabolism), where others increase metabolism by using calories to break them down, and some help with metabolizing fats,” says Joy McCarthy, a Toronto nutritionist and the author of Joyous Health: Eat and Live Well Without Dieting.
But while some foods may help you burn fat more efficiently than others, McCarthy says there’s no “magic solutions” to weight loss, unless of course you consider a lifestyle change to be magic. Depriving yourself of enough food for your bodily functions is not a healthy solution either. “Metabolism slows when nutrients are lacking because the body isn’t getting what it needs to work efficiently,” she says.
“If someone follows a clean, whole foods diet that includes the foods outlined before, and includes physical activity, enough sleep, water intake, stress reduction and portion control weight loss could definitely happen,” McCarthy says.
With that in mind, here are 10 foods that have been shown by research to have the potential to help you shed fat more efficiently.
“American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports that drinking several cups of green tea a day, which has catechins, a type of phytochemical that affects the metabolism, can help to promote fat oxidation and thermogenesis,” McCarthy says. She notes that this option isn’t ideal for people who are particularly sensitive to caffeine. If that describes you, try taking a supplement with a concentrated dose of EGCG, the type of catechin found in green tea.
“It ‘costs’ twice as many calories to break down whole foods vs. processed foods where the breaking down was already done in a laboratory for you,” McCarthy says. That makes whole grains like brown rice a smarter choice.