“It’s no mystery that a diet full of fried foods, giant portions, decadent desserts, alcohol, and sugary soft drinks will lead to weight gain,” says Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD.
On the opposite hand, a healthy, balanced diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, protein, fiber, and healthy fats can help you lose unwanted fat and maintain a healthy weight.
Yes. You heard correctly. It’s the words you’ve been waiting for: you can lose weight by eating more. Or at least, eating more of the healthy foods that burn fat and reduce your hunger.
Want to know how to burn body fat with food?
It’s simple. Just work these 10 foods into your daily diet:
1. Apples & Pears
Fiber can help you feel full for longer and it improves your digestion. And apples and pears have a lot of fiber.
When you eat a juicy apple or pear, the water-soluble fiber expands in your stomach; helping you feel full sooner, even though you haven’t eaten very much. Fiber also takes longer to leave your stomach, so you feel satisfied for longer.
Eating apples or pears as whole fruits is better than drinking them in a sugary fruit juice. Not only do you get more fiber, you burn calories as you chew the fruits.
Beans are a vegetable, a protein, and a great source of fiber, providing you with a triple-attack on body fat.
“Protein takes longer to leave the stomach,” says sports nutritionist Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD. “That keeps you satisfied for longer.” And helps you eat fewer calories. As a result, your body burns calories from body fat to get the energy it needs and you lose weight.
As an added bonus, protein is tough to digest, which means the body has to burn more calories in the process.
One cup of cooked pinto beans has approximately 15 grams of protein, 15 grams of fiber, and 1 gram of fat.
Instead of your morning bagel, curb your hunger with the incredible edible egg. Studies show that eating protein in the morning will keep you satisfied longer than carbs will.
A single egg has 7 grams of high-quality protein, for only 75 calories.
If you’re worried about cholesterol, remove the yolks from most of your eggs, but leave 1-2 yolks intact. “Although eating too many eggs can increase your cholesterol, eating four egg yolks or fewer on a weekly basis hasn’t been found to increase your risk of heart disease,” says Thomas Behrenbeck, MD, PhD.
4. Greek Yogurt
Not only is Greek yogurt delicious, it’s a great source of protein. For about the same number of calories as regular yogurt, Greek yogurt packs twice the amount of protein and less than half the amount of sugar.
A six-ounce serving of Greek yogurt has about 15 to 20 grams of protein, which is the same amount of protein you’d find in 2 to 3 ounces of lean meat. It also has less than half the carbohydrates of regular yogurt; about 5 to 8 grams per serving. Just make sure to choose low-sugar options.
5. Green Tea
Green tea is a rich source of antioxidants; especially catechins and polyphenols. These antioxidants can neutralize free radicals and repair oxidative stress, but several studies also show that green tea can speed up the rate with which your body burns belly fat.
You can get the benefits of green tea by drinking several cups a day, or you can take green tea extract supplements.
6. Hot Peppers
Capsaicin is the compound in hot peppers, which makes them spicy. The spicier a pepper is, the more capsaicin it contains. Some studies show that capsaicin can speed up metabolism slightly, but Bonci doubts that this has a significant influence on fat loss. Instead, the benefit of eating hot peppers is that people tend to eat less when their food is spicy.
7. Lean Meat
As you already know, protein can keep your cravings satisfied for longer and it makes your body burn more calories during digestion. Skinless chicken and turkey are great sources of lean protein. Some cuts of beef, flank steak, eye of round, and top sirloin are also low in fat and high in protein. Keep your portion sizes to about 3 to 4 ounces.
Whole grain oats are fiber-rich. When you add water and heat, all three of these elements combine to make oatmeal a filling combination. Fiber and water fill you up faster and for longer, with very few calories. Hot oatmeal takes longer to eat, which reduces the tendency to eat too fast and overeat.
“Don’t buy [oatmeal] that’s already sweetened,” Bonci says. Instead, flavor it yourself with honey, fruit, nutmeg, or cinnamon.
9. Raw Vegetables
When you’re craving something crunchy, opt for raw vegetables instead of potato chips. Raw vegetables are chock-full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They also have a low calorie density; meaning you can eat more but still get fewer calories. For example, one cup of raw carrots has around 50 calories, and the same amount of potato chips has about 139 calories.
Some great raw vegetables to snack on are cucumbers, carrots, red or green peppers, broccoli, celery, and cherry tomatoes.
Because of its high water content, watermelon is a filling, low-calorie treat. Foods that are high in water take up more room in the stomach, explains Bonci. This signals your brain that you’ve had enough to eat and leaves less room for other foods.
Next time you’re at a barbecue or picnic, munch on a few pieces of watermelon before digging into higher calorie foods.
Eat More Food, Burn More Fat
Now you know how to burn body fat with the food you eat. It’s a simple matter of filling up on healthy, delicious sources of fiber, protein, nutrients, and even water.
The more of these foods you eat, the less you’ll feel cravings for foods that are high in calories and low in nutritional value. And by cutting out those empty calories, you’ll be able to burn fat faster and lose weight.
Sheena Mills is a professional health and fitness writer. She specializes in writing articles about healthy weight loss and nutrition. Visit this site for more information on effective weight loss and articles written by Mills.