No food, regardless of how much you consume, will cause fat to just fall off your body. But, certain foods are more likely than others to induce metabolic changes that help you alter your body composition. These foods help your body shed fat more readily by stimulating the production of hormones that cause you to drop pounds. Many of them also help prevent storage of fat in the blood, which increases your risk of chronic disease. Make them part of an overall healthy eating plan and regular exercise routine to experience the greatest results.
High-protein foods enhance fat loss while preserving your lean muscle mass. A review published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2015 reported that years of research on the effects of a higher protein diet have shown consistent benefits to fat and weight loss. A high-protein diet means consuming between 0.55 and 0.73 gram of protein per pound of body weight every day -- or 25 to 30 grams per meal. Examples of protein-rich foods include salmon, lean beef, legumes, whey protein and chicken.
Green tea contains a compound called Epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, which makes your body less able to store fat. Concentrated green tea extract is often an ingredient in weight-loss supplements because of this compound's purported power. One cup of the tea won't do, though. If you drink green tea all day, with no added sugar, you may lose a small amount of extra fat. It shouldn't be your only strategy for fat loss because the loss won't be that significant.
Rumors of the fat-loss effects of grapefruit have persisted since the start of the grapefruit diet in the 1930s. But grapefruit's ability to help you alter your fat levels seems to be legitimate -- at least when it comes to your blood and health. In a study published in the journal Metabolism in 2012, researchers from the University of Arizona in Tucson found that consumption of grapefruit three times daily for six weeks improved blood pressure and the composition of lipids, or fat, in the blood.
People with more favorable body compositions -- less extra fat -- consume dairy products, such as milk, yogurt and cheese, regularly. While dairy foods haven't been proved to burn fat, their protein and calcium content may play a role in helping you shed excess fat pounds.
When you eat, your body releases the hormone insulin in response. Insulin encourages the storage of excess calories in your fat cells -- so if you regularly eat high-sugar or high-fat meals and overproduce insulin as a result, you are likely to pile on the fat pounds. Certain compounds in cinnamon neutralize this effect of insulin and thus may lead to less fat storage, according to an animal study published in the Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics in 2010.
Hot peppers get their kick from capsaicin, a compound that raises your body's internal temperature and makes you burn calories more quickly and efficiently after a meal. More efficient calorie burn means fewer calories stored as fat. The New York Times reported in 2006 that a bowl of spicy food, such as chili, may increase your calorie burn by as much as 8 percent. It may also reduce your appetite, so a fatty dessert is less tempting, too.
Eggs are a good source of protein -- a known fat burner. In addition, whole eggs are rich in a B vitamin known as choline, which can help your body better use the fat you eat so less is stored as fat and more burned for energy. A study published in the Journal of Human Kinetics in 2014 found that choline supplementation supported significant weight loss in tae kwon do and judo athletes, without compromising strength or muscle quality.
Ginger may help counteract the effects of a high-fat diet. In a study published in a 2014 issue of the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, researchers fed rats between 25 and 75 milligrams of gingerol, the active compound in ginger, daily for 30 days. The ginger-fed rats revealed lower levels of fat in their blood and body than rats not fed the ginger.
Continue to enjoy a cup of joe each morning, but make sure it's fully caffeinated. Caffeine is well-known for its ability to boost your metabolism and enhance fat oxidation, or usage, especially during exercise.
Doctors measure your triglycerides to get a read on the amount of fat in the blood. When triglycerides are too high, you're at greater risk of heart disease. Pistachio nuts, when consumed as a portion-controlled snack, have a positive effect on reducing this fat level in your blood, especially in comparison to a carbohydrate-rich snack, such as pretzels, reported a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition in 2010.
- Journal of Human Kinetics: Effect of Choline Supplementation on Rapid Weight Loss and Biochemical Variables Among Female Taekwondo and Judo Athletes
- American College of Clinical Nutrition: The Role of Protein in Weight Loss and Maintenance
- Elle: 10 Foods to Help You Burn Calories and Fat
- Nutrients: Dairy Foods and Dairy Protein Consumption Is Inversely Related to Markers of Adiposity in Obese Men and Women
- Canadian Pharmacists Journal: Can Green Tea Preparations Help With Weight Loss?
- Metabolism: The Effects of Daily Consumption of Grapefruit on Body Weight, Lipids, and Blood Pressure in Healthy, Overweight Adults
- Health: The Grapefruit Diet
- Lifetime Weightloss: Insulin and Fat Storage
- Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics: Cinnamon Improves Insulin Sensitivity and Alters the Body Composition in an Animal Model of the Metabolic Syndrome
- The New York Times: The Claim: Spicy Foods Increase Metabolism