Whether you want to generally improve your health or lose weight, fat-burning foods are a significant contribution to helping you achieve your health goals. But with information coming left and right telling you things such as “carbs contribute to obesity”, “avoid fats at all cost”, and “consume large amounts of protein”, it can get pretty confusing in terms of what to believe and the “facts” may leave you wondering where to start dieting correctly in the first place.
Truth is, the food that burns fat is found in the purest forms of your macronutrients: fats, carbohydrates, and protein. Really, no joke! Lipotropic foods are your best friend. To be healthy, all you need to do is properly identify the right sources of macronutrients, prepare them in ways that maintain their vitamin and nutrient integrity, and be self-aware of the food choices you make.
Here are the best fat-burning foods - categorized by macronutrients for your convenience - that will kick-start energy, promote faster and better metabolism, and most importantly - keep you healthy and losing weight.
Even though it sounds counter-intuitive, doctors recommend you consume fat - but only the healthy kinds! The right fats to eat are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. In comparison to saturated and trans fatty acids - which are heavily processed and dramatically raise your cholesterol - the healthy fats do the complete opposite: they aim to combat heart issues, improve overall cardiovascular health, and decrease cholesterol levels. Therefore, you don’t need to worry about the risk of heart disease or diabetes in the future. Also, good fats possess the benefit of strengthening your hair and nails and clearing skin.
Eat this: unsalted nuts, nut butter, avocados, olive oil, dark chocolate, seeds (i.e. sunflower, chia, and flax), and omega-packed fishes such as wild salmon (avoid farmed!), coconuts, and tuna
Not that: margarines, butter, meat fat, ice cream, and bread shortening
Next up on the list are carbohydrates. There are three categories of carbs: sugars, starches, and fiber. And two forms: simple and complex. Simple sugars are quickly broken down for a fast wave of energy. Complex carbs aim to optimize more bodily functions than just energy. They contribute to your ability to exercise, reduce inflammation since they're packed with antioxidants, and enable you to sleep more soundly.
Important note: you must be careful with the types of carbs you consume. Always opt for whole carbs instead of refined. Refined carbs are heavily processed and strip a carb source of all its nutrients, giving you nothing but a temporary spike of energy that leaves you feeling sluggish after it passes. Additionally, just because you eat a lot of carbs, that doesn’t mean it’s good for you either.
Contrary to popular belief, it goes to show that carbs are good for you! It’s just a matter of knowing which carbs to eat, portioning it out correctly to avoid overeating, and using them to your advantage to give you energy when you need to wake up or get ready for a workout.
Eat this: whole-wheat bread and pastas, vegetables, leafy greens, fruits, legumes, quinoa, whole oats, brown rice, and sweet potatoes
Not that: artificial juices and syrups, dried fruit, sugar, white rice, flour, and bread, anything refined, pasta, pastries, general dessert, chips, deep-fried foods, and artificial salad dressings of any kind
Last on the list are proteins, the epic source of nutrients made up of amino acids that rebuilds muscle tissue, supports cell growth, and create necessary hormones and enzymes in your body that promote cell function. As weight lifters say, protein “fuels your gains”.
The best sources of protein are found in grass-fed and lean meats. If you’re a vegetarian or don’t eat meat - that’s not a problem! Protein can also be entirely plant-based. Instead of meat, you can opt for wholesome legumes, beans, and up your vegetable intake.
Eat this: lean meats (chicken breast, grass-fed beef, and turkey), whey protein isolate, egg whites, beans, and cottage cheese
Not that: farm and grain-fed meats, frozen foods, breaded meat or fish, hot dogs, burgers, sausage, and bacon
Important last-minute tips to remember:
- Don’t be fooled by any food, condiment, or drink that identifies as “diet” or “reduced and low-fat”. These are misleading phrases because majority of these so called “diet-friendly” foods are heavily processed!
- When losing weight, follow your recommended caloric intake that is indicated by your height, weight, and gender. By tracking your calories, you can see how the food you’re eating affects your body. With that, you can alternate or change up your diet accordingly to suit your weight loss needs.
- Avoid fad diets and programs that promise to make your dream body in a week. Your dream body doesn’t happen in a short amount of time - it takes work! The best way to lose weight has always been tried and true: track your macros, eat simply, and exercise to enhance the results of your diet.
- Watch your food portions! Even though you’re eating healthy overall, portion control is very important to losing weight since unnecessary servings can actually cause you to gain weight or remain at your current weight.
In conclusion, aside from knowing the best foods to burn fat, you can also identify what are the worst foods! Nutrition seems pretty complicated when you start learning about weight loss - we’ve all been there! But it gets easier to understand it over time. Therefore, the next time you’re perusing aisles in the grocery store, you will know exactly what to buy and skip on now.
Good luck on your weight loss and health journey!