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Losing weight to achieve the “killer figure” has been all the rage over the past few years. But it’s about more than just self-image; it’s about health. When you have excess fat in the body, you increase risk factors for diseases that affect the heart and other organs of the body. Many people turn to crash diets – a very unhealthy way to lose weight. But did you know that there are certain foods you can include in your diet to help burn fat?
1 – Lean red meat
While eating a lot of protein promotes muscle build-up instead of fat deposition, it doesn’t really contribute much to the “fat-burning” process. But meat has high carnitine content – the redder the meat, the higher the carnitine. Carnitine is known for promoting the oxidation of fatty-acids to produce energy – which “burns” fat effectively when consumed.  Note that too high a consumption of red meat has been linked to health conditions including colon cancer, so a balance is needed here.
2 – Chili
Capsaicin, the substance responsible for the heat of chili peppers, has numerous health benefits – from reducing heart disease risk to pain management. A study in 2003 revealed how chili was able to promote the oxidation of fat in the body, aiding weight maintenance and loss.  More info about capsaicin and pain remedies: How To Make Hot Pepper Cream For Arthritis And Joint Pain
3 – Green Tea
This one is well known in weight loss circles: Green tea is rich in catechins, which can cause an increase in metabolic rate, thermogenesis, and fat oxidation. Catechins also have an effect on the sympathetic nervous system, which contributes to the breakdown of fat in the body.  See also How To Make Your Own Healthy Natural Green Tea Energy Drink. Note – drink the green tea plain with just hot water, no sweeteners.
4 – Garlic
Garlic is known for its cardioprotective and antibacterial properties, but recent studies have revealed how it contributes to weight loss. A 2007 study discovered that garlic supplements were able to promote lipid metabolism in the body, which can be directly linked to weight loss. 
5 – Peanuts
Would you believe that eating peanuts can cause weight loss? Peanuts have developed a bad reputation of causing weight gain, but a recent 2014 study begs to differ. When high-oleic peanuts are eaten regularly, they cause an increase in fat oxidation. In the study this caused significant weight loss in overweight and obese men.  The important part – go for the raw, unsalted peanuts as the salt and added oil of salted, roasted nuts will have their own effects that are less desirable.
6 – Calcium
Another surprise – a health benefit of cow’s milk is its effect on weight loss through the oxidation of fat. A study in 2012 revealed that high calcium intake was likely to increase the rates of fat oxidation in the body, leading to weight loss.  Those who wish to avoid dairy (actually there are numerous reasons why this might be beneficial) could seek out chelated calcium supplements.
7 – Cacao
While cacao, the main ingredient in chocolate, doesn’t directly cause fat oxidation in the body, a study in 2011 revealed how cacao was able to mobilize fatty acids in the body post-exercise. Surprisingly, regular consumption of dark chocolate starting two weeks prior to data collection was able to increase the mobilization of free fatty acids in the body, causing better weight loss in conjunction with prolonged exercise.  Note – for best results go for the highest percentage of cacao, lowest sugar.
8 – Cinnamon
Similarly to the studies made on garlic, cinnamon has been proven to lower serum lipid levels which can cause weight loss. The 2003 study on the effects of cinnamon on lipids revealed that cinnamon intake was able to reduce serum glucose, triglyceride, LDL, and total cholesterol levels in people with type 2 diabetes – all in all contributing to natural weight loss.  Note, be sure to get real cinnamon as opposed to cassia, which is often substituted for it. Learn how to tell the difference here: 20 Weird Uses And Benefits Of Cinnamon
9 – Broccoli
One of the major risk factors of diabetes is central obesity, a condition where most of the fat deposits in the body are found in the torso. A 2013 study on broccoli revealed how the vegetable was able to reduce levels of triglycerides, HDL, and LDL in the body by improving lipid metabolism, thereby causing a decrease in weight. 
10 – Tomato
Tomatoes are rich with antioxidants that have been proven to fight certain cancers.  A tomato product – specifically tomato vinegar – was used in an experiment on obese rats. The results were conclusive: tomato vinegar was able to reduce their weight markedly, along with decreasing triglyceride, HDL, and LDL levels. The anti-obesity effects of tomato vinegar suggest that including it your diet can help you lose weight. 
While the contributions to weight loss of these foods have been well-researched, the best way to lose weight is still a combination of both diet and exercise. Incorporate these food items in your diet on top of a regular exercise regimen. Final bonus tip – it’s your liver that is responsible for much of the fat metabolism of the body.  So consider liver health and take a look at these 10 Herbs For The Liver
 National Institutes of Health (2013). Carnitine. http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Carnitine-HealthProfessional/
 Sahlin, K. (2011). Boosting fat burning with carnitine: an old friend comes out from the shadow. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3099008/
 Lejeune, M., Kovacs, E. & Westerterp-Plantenga, M. (2003). Effects of capsaicin on substrate oxidation and weight maintenance after modest body-weight loss in human subjects. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/13129472
 Westerterp-Plantenga, M. (2010). Green tea catechins, caffeine and body-weight regulation. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20156466
 Duda, G., Suliburska J., & Pupek-Musialik, D. (2007). Effects of short-term garlic supplementation on lipid metabolism and antioxidant status in hypertensive adults. http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/18443377
 Alves, R., et. al. (2014). Regular intake of high-oleic peanuts improves fat oxidation and body composition in overweight/obese men pursuing a energy-restricted diet. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24639419
 Gonzales, J., Rumbold, P. & Stevenson, E. (2012). Effect of calcium intake on fat oxidation in adults: a meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22708505
 Allgrove, J., et. al. (2011). Regular dark chocolate consumption’s reduction of oxidative stress and increase of free-fatty-acid mobilization in response to prolonged cycling. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21558573
 Khan, A. ,et. al. (2003). Cinnamon improves glucose and lipids of people with type 2 diabetes. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14633804
 Bahadoran, Z., Mirmiran, P. & Azizi, F. (2013). Potential efficacy of broccoli sprouts as a unique supplement for management of type 2 diabetes and its complications. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23631497
 Friedman, M. (2013). Anticarcinogenic, cardioprotective, and other health benefits of tomato compounds of lycopene, alpha-tomatine, and tomatidine in pure form and in fresh and processed tomatoes. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24079774
 Lee, J., et. al. (2013). New vinegar produced my tomato suppresses adipocyte differentiation and fat accumulation in 3T3-L1 cells and obese rat model. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23871083
 Metabolic Functions of the Liver
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