If you're worried about your waistline, food choices matter -- but not because specific items will rid your body of fat. While some foods are shown to slightly increase fat burning, the effect is too small to significantly affect your weight. If you want to lose every ounce that you can, however, including "fat-burning" foods in your diet and exercise program may be of some help.
The primary way to lose body fat is by creating a calorie deficit. This entails consuming fewer calories from foods than you burn through physical activity, causing your body to burn stored fat as an alternative fuel source. Certain foods may increase your metabolic rate -- the speed at which your body burns calories -- to help you achieve this goal. It takes a deficit of about 3,500 calories to lose 1 pound of fat, however, and no food will cause you to burn that many calories in a matter of days or even weeks.
Make It Hot
Spicy peppers contain a group of compounds called capsaicinoids, which makes them feel hot in your mouth. In a review of 20 studies published in "Appetite" in 2012, scientists found that people who took capsaicinoids burned about 50 extra calories per day and experienced a reduction in appetite. The researchers estimated that a daily dose of capsaicinoids would produce significant weight loss in about one to two years and that while hot peppers are not a magic pill for fat loss, they may be beneficial as part of a weight-loss program.
Eat Your Protein
Eating enough protein may help you lose weight in several ways: Protein requires more energy to digest than fat and carbohydrates, and therefore eating more of it increases calorie burning. It also digests slowly, helping you stay satisfied longer, and helps preserve lean muscle mass. Muscle burns more calories than fat, so this effect may help increase fat-burning in the long term. Even with increased protein intake, however, it's important not to exceed the recommendations of the publication "Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010," which advises getting 10 percent to 35 percent of your total calories from protein.
To a "Tea"
Green tea contains antioxidant flavonoids called catechins, which may aid with weight loss. In a study published in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" in 2010, researchers analyzed 15 studies and found that participants who took a combination of caffeine and catechins lost more weight than those who took caffeine alone. Sipping on a few cups of green tea per day may provide a small boost in your fat-loss program, but don't drink more than 5 cups per day or you may risk caffeine-related side effects.
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Metabolism Myths and Facts
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Balancing Calories
- Appetite: Capsaicinoids and Capsinoids - A Potential Role for Weight Management? A Systematic Review of the Evidence
- Harvard School of Public Health: Protein, Carbs, and Weight Loss
- U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Effect of Green Tea Catechins With or Without Caffeine on Anthropometric Measures: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
- MedlinePlus: Green Tea