10 of the Best Fat-Burning Foods

The old method of monitoring calorie intake and expenditure to stay lean isn’t really that reliable. More and more nutrition experts are saying the quality of calories matters just as much, maybe even more, than the exact quantity. Reaching for nutritious foods benefits your body in ways processed junk can’t come close to matching. Choose the right ones, and you’ll turn your body into a fat-burning machine. Go for these 10 fat-burning foods the next time you hit the supermarket.

1. Oatmeal

oatmeal is one of several fat-burning foods

Oatmeal is a good breakfast choice. | iStock.com

Carbs are usually the first food to go when people shift to eating healthier. While cutting back on white bread and sugary pastries is a smart choice, whole grains are a different story. These carbohydrates are rich in fiber and digest more slowly, giving you a steady supply of energy. This also means you’ll stay full longer. One recent study published in The Journal of the American College of Nutrition found subjects who started their day with oats felt more satisfied and consumed fewer calories later in the day than those who ate breakfast cereal.

2. Green tea

pouring a cup of green tea

Green tea has plenty of health benefits. | iStock.com

Tea devotees have claimed their favorite brew offers health benefits ranging from weight control to curing nasty diseases. It’s best to approach such assertions with skepticism, but there might be some truth to the hoopla around green tea. One 2014 review reported green tea has repeatedly demonstrated an important role in blocking fat absorption and increasing energy expenditure. Many scientists attribute the fat-burning power to an antioxidant called EGCG, which has also been linked to healthier heart and brain function.

3. Walnuts

walnuts spilling onto a white table

Walnuts are full of healthy fats. | iStock.com

Nuts of any sort are a great snack filled with protein and heart-healthy fats. Walnuts in particular are a great choice because they contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which most people associate only with fish. They’re also showing potential as a fat-fighting food. One recent study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found a high-fat diet rich in walnuts was as effective for weight loss as a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet and also favorably altered cholesterol levels.

4. Pears

Pears in bowl

Pears have lots of fiber, helping you feel fuller for longer. | iStock.com

Bright fruits and veggies get a lot of attention for their health-boosting benefits, but pears deserve to share some of the spotlight. These sweet fruits are low in calories and provide a whopping 6 grams of fiber per serving, which will help keep you full during the day. A recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition & Food Sciences even found those who regularly consume pears are less likely to be obese and tend to weigh less than those who don’t eat the fruit.

5. Spicy chilies

close-up of serrano chilies

Serrano chilies can really help your waistline. | iStock.com

Those who enjoy the tongue-tingling sensation of spicy chilies will be delighted to hear they can help when it comes to staying slim. The secret is a compound called capsaicin, which is what gives chilies their heat. Men’s Health explained it speeds up your heart rate, helping you to burn more calories than if you had only eaten mild foods.

6. Grapefruit

Grapefruit smoothie with ginger root and honey in a glass jar

Grapefruits can help you stay slim. | iStock.com/NoirChocolate

You don’t have to adhere to the stringent grapefruit diet to reap the benefits of this tart citrus. For starters, the fruit is low in calories and loaded with vitamin C. Some nutrients in this citrus may even help you slim down. Research published in 2008 studied a type of polyphenol found in grapefruit, finding it can help break down stored fat. It’s important to note the study was small, but participants managed to lose a significant amount of body fat.

7. Eggs

close-up of poached eggs

Poached eggs are a great choice for any meal. | iStock.com

This morning favorite is a great way to get plenty of satisfying protein in your diet. This is good for two reasons. Livestrong said increasing your protein consumption with eggs helps raise your metabolism and also forces your body to burn more calories in the digestion process. And with just 72 calories per large egg and plenty of vital nutrients, they’re always a great choice for your morning meal.

8. Whole milk

glass of milk next to a glass jug

Surprisingly, whole milk may be better than skim. | iStock.com

Reaching for skim or 2% milk is a natural for most people when they hit the dairy aisle. Going full-fat might be the better option for staying slim, though. One 2013 study found men who consumed a high level of full-fat dairy products were less likely to develop obesity over a 12-year period. The slimmed-down varieties might even backfire. Eat This, Not That! explained some of the acids in whole milk, which get removed from low-fat versions, can boost your body’s ability to burn fat.

9. Blueberries

blueberries in a ceramic dish

Blueberries are super good for you. | iStock.com

Berries are a favorite among health-conscious eaters because they’re filled with fiber, low in calories, and also pretty low in sugar. They also make waves due to high levels of antioxidants, including one called pterostilbene. One 2014 study found rats given regular doses of this antioxidant experienced an increase in the ability to burn fat. Clearly, rats aren’t humans. Still, this could prove beneficial in the future. Best of all, blueberries require hardly any prep. Just give them a rinse, then add them to a smoothie, oatmeal, yogurt, or enjoy them as a stand-alone snack.

10. Salmon

raw salmon fillet portions

Salmon can help you keep your weight down. | iStock.com

Salmon is a great way to get good doses of muscle-building protein and omega-3s. These fats are usually touted for their ability to reduce the risk of heart disease, but they may also help you maintain your weight. According to a 2010 review, eating a diet rich in omega-3s may be beneficial for reducing body weight and body fat, though it acknowledged most studies have occurred over a relatively short time period. Still, you won’t find any scientific evidence saying bad things about this fatty fish.

Follow Christine on Twitter @christineskopec

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