Top 5 Fat-Burning Foods

Foods that increase metabolism and help you lose weight

Before you go out shopping for fat-burning foods, you should know about the "thermic effect." The thermic effect is used to describe the energy the body uses in order to eat and process foods. Everything we do in our day-to-day lives uses energy, and that energy is what burns calories. Processing protein eats up the most calories, as it causes your body to burn hotter, helping you drop pounds.

Choosing a combination of low-fat, high-protein foods will give you the best results. Some examples include poultry, fish and egg whites. Some types of fish, like tuna, cod and halibut, have less total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol than meats and poultry.

Other kinds of foods you will want to focus on are catabolic foods. Catabolic foods are those that burn up more calories than they supply. For example, a medium-sized apple has about 85 calories, yet you burn up 99 calories when you eat it. Apples are great catabolic foods.

Some examples of catabolic fruits are grapefruit, strawberries, plums, watermelon and pineapple. For catabolic vegetables, try tomatoes, carrots, zucchini, spinach and broccoli.

Need a cheat sheet? Here are five of the top fat-burning foods:

Onions and garlic

While you probably won't want to grab an onion and take a big bite, using onions as an ingredient in other dishes can help you burn fat. Garlic is great as well. Onions break up fat and increase metabolism, while garlic helps the body break down and flush fats from the body.


You've probably heard the fuss about the Cabbage Soup Diet, but what if you're not such a big fan of it? No worries — there are plenty of other ways to incorporate this fat burner into your diet. For instance, the next time you make a salad (which also makes the list of fat-burning foods), try adding some shredded raw cabbage to it. Cabbage contains sulfur and iodine, which cleanse the body of fat in areas like the intestines and stomach.


According to Dr. Judith Stern of the University of California at Davis, coffee is known as a metabolic enhancer because it speeds up your metabolism, which helps your body burn those calories. Some say it can increase the amount of calories burned by as much as 10 percent. So enjoy that early morning cup of joe — it'll help you burn calories all day long. 

Hot peppers

According to researchers at Laval University in Canada, capsaicin, a chemical in jalapeño and cayenne peppers, provides stimulus to your body by releasing stress hormones.This in turn increases your metabolism and burns calories faster.


How about a bowl of soup? It's not just for sick days. Dr. John Foreyt of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston found that people who eat a cup of soup prior to meals lose more weight than those who don't, and they also keep it off for longer periods.

The bottom line: As you choose foods for your fat-burning diet, focus on items low in calories and high in protein. Remember, protein causes your body to run hotter and burn calories at a faster rate. By incorporating a few key ingredients, you'll fit into those skinny jeans in no time!

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nutritiongeek's picture
User offline. Last seen 5 years 43 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 09/30/2010

While most of this article is scientifically sound, the section on coffee leaves out the very important detail that coffee destabilizes blood sugar in many folks (myself among them), particularly those with hypoglycemia. Therefore avoidance of coffee is extremely beneficial to the weight loss efforts of some people.

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