30 Best Foods to Eat to Lose Body Fat
What are the very best foods to eat to lose fat? Here's a list of the top 30 foods to eat to lose excess body fat, without losing muscle. For more general advice on nutrition and fat loss, visit this Guide's home page. For healthy recipes that combine some of the best fat loss foods, visit this Guide's recipe directory.
#1: Romaine Lettuce
Low in calories, lettuce makes an excellent basis for light, wholesome salads. But it does not always have to be iceberg lettuce! Romaine lettuce offers a plenitude of benefits to anyone wishing to get rid of excess body fat. In addition to being extremely low in calories, romaince lettuce is packed with many important nutrients. It contains vitamin C, beta-carotene, vitamin K, folate, and manganese. It is also one of the best dietary sources of chromium. Evidence suggests that chromium may help increase and maintain lean body mass and aid in fat loss, when combined with exercise. These effects of chromium on body composition are believed to result from its ability to enhance insulin's activity and to improve insulin sensitivity in the body. The absorption of chromium from romaine lettuce is believed to be particularly good because of the vitamin C it contains (vitamin C enhances the absorption of chromium).
Although not a food, water is included in this list of the best foods to eat to burn body fat because of its truly amazing fat loss promoting properties. First and foremost, water provides no calories but can increase the feeling of fullness.
Second, it has been suggested that drinking large volumes of ice-cold water could burn extra calories because cold water needs to be warmed to body temperature, which requires energy (calories). According to estimates, consuming 2 liters of ice-cold water a day would result in about 70 extra calories burned.
Water is important to dieters also because a well hydrated body tends to use the kidneys, rather than the liver, for eliminating waste products. This allows the liver to focus on mobilizing body fat.
Many nutritionists and fitness trainers have long touted grapefruit as the ultimate fat burner fruit. Now, there is also scientific evidence to support this claim: A study conducted at the Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, California, showed that eating half a grapefruit before a meal can indeed help people lose weight. The researchers compared the effect of grapefruit capsules, grapefruit juice and real grapefruit. All three were found to be helpful, but the weight loss was most dramatic in those who were consuming real grapefruit.
#4: Cayenne and chili peppers
Great news for salsa and chili sauce lovers: a large body of evidence indicates that capsaicin, the major pungent ingredient in chili and cayenne peppers, can increase the body's heat production (thermogenesis). This in turn increases the rate at which the body burns fats and carbohydrates. One study found that capsaicin in hot chilis could increase the resting metabolic rate (the rate at which the body burns carbohydrates and fats at rest) by up to 25%. The effects on the metabolic rate peaked at 75 to 90 minutes after the consumption of the capsaicin and lasted for up to 3 hours.
Research also suggests that capsaicin can suppress appetite and reduce the amount of calories consumed during subsequent meals. In one trial, half of the participants were given tomato juice that contained chili powder, while the other half received plain tomato juice. Those participants who drank the capsaicin-enriched drink consumed 16% fewer calories on average.
#5: Fresh Ginger Root
Although best known for its cold treating properties, ginger is also an excellent fat loss aid and is in fact found in many fat loss supplements. Ginger root has appetite suppressing and metabolism boosting qualities. In one animal study, ginger was found to increase metabolism by 20%. Furthermore, some evidence suggests that ginger may also be effective at improving insulin sensitivity. Fresh ginger, which is considered the most effective form of this exceptional root plant, is available year-round in the produce section of your local supermarket.
#7: Cannellini beans
Beans – which come in different shapes, sizes, and colors – are incredibly versatile and highly nutritious legumes. They are also an excellent food to eat on a regular basis if you are trying to lose body fat. While low in calories and fat, beans such as cannellini beans (aka white kidney beans) are loaded with fiber and protein. What's more, recent research suggests that a certain enzyme present in cannellini beans is able to inhibit the breakdown and absorption of carbohydrates in the intestines. This is of course great news for those who tend to gain extra pounds when consuming large amounts of carbohydrates. Note: if your diet is currently low in beans, try adding them to your diet gradually as they may initially cause intestinal gas.
Barley is superhero grain for anyone who wants to lose excess body fat. Not only is it low in calories, it also has the lowest Glycemic Index (GI) rating of all common grains. Grains that have a high Glycemic Index (GI) rating are quickly broken down by the body and cause a rapid, large rise in blood glucose levels. This in turn triggers the pancreas to release large amounts of insulin. Insulin is needed for the proper functioning of the body, but large amounts of insulin promote fat storage in the body. In contrast, low-GI carbs such as barley take much longer to digest and cause only a small, slow rise in the blood glucose and insulin levels. In addition to controlling fat storage, low GI foods can reduce food cravings as they provide the body with a slow, steady supply of energy. Whole grain or hulled barley, the most fiber-rich type, is still relatively difficult to find in regular grocery stores, but it is increasingly available in health food stores, and of course you can also order it online (see where to buy whole grain barley).
Eating a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast is a great way to start a day off right. Research shows that oats are among the most filling foods, and eating them early in the day can reduce the number of calories consumed throughout the rest of the day. This is not suprising as oats are an excellent source of protein and fiber—two macronutrients that are famous for their ability to increase the feeling of satiety. As an added bonus, oats are a superb source of zinc and B vitamins.
#9: Chicken Breast
If you are looking to trim your body, chicken breast is a great food to include in your diet. Skinless chicken breast packs a protein punch but is very low in fat and carbohydrates. Chicken is also a great source of B vitamins such as vitamin B6 and vitamin B3. Vitamin B3 may be particularly helpful for those whose excess pounds are concentrated around the waist. Vitamin B6, on the other hand, is necessary for the proper absorption of the weight loss mineral zinc.
#10: Pine Nuts
Harvesting pine nuts (aka piñon nuts) is extremely labor-intensive, which is why these delicate, sweet buttery seeds are more expensive than other nuts and seeds. But if your budget allows, it can be helpful to include these healthy seeds in your fat loss diet. In addition to providing an excellent source of protein, pine nuts contain endogenous cholecystokinin (CCK) and glucagon like peptide-1 (GLP-1), two naturally occurring chemicals that have been shown to increase the feeling of fullness and to suppress appetite. When incorporating pine nuts into your diet, bear in mind that they are very high in calories and should thus be consumed only in small quantities.