Eat 'n Lose: 10 Fat-Burning Foods!
By Glenn Mueller
eDiets Senior Writer
If you are trying to drop those extra pounds without starving yourself, we’ve got a top 10 list of diet-friendly foods for you to stock up on. Post this list on the refrigerator door right next to your child’s latest finger-painting masterpiece. You may also want to print a copy and bring it with you the next time you decide to push a shopping cart around at your local grocery store.
According to eDiets Chief Nutritionist Susan Burke, there are no foods that can cause weight loss. Since foods don't act like drugs per se, Susan says, they can't speed up your metabolism or break down your fat. That being said, it is possible to replace certain items on the menu with other foods to create a calorie deficit and lose weight.
“Substitute lower-calorie, high-fiber foods in place of higher-calorie, high-fat foods and create a calorie deficit,” Susan advises. “That way, you’ll get better nutrition and great flavor while balancing the scale in your favor. It's not magic, it's just math.”
Susan does feel the need to offer an important word of caution. As your mother probably told you: “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!”
“I've heard about the cabbage soup diet, the grapefruit diet and even diets that require you to eat protein foods apart from carbohydrates,” Susan says. “These diets don't work. Don't believe any of the claims on diet supplements that say they will trap your fat, blast your fat, or even dissolve your fat. The only thing that they blast is your pocketbook.”
According to Susan, the best way to make your body a fat-burning machine is to increase your muscle mass and decrease your fat stores. Since muscle is metabolically more active than fat, Susan says, building muscle mass must be a part of your overall weight-loss strategy.
She also offers 10 “free foods.” These are foods that contain a negligible amount of calories and help influence weight loss. You probably already know some of the traditional items on this list, such as salad, water and sugar-free foods.
Now, straight from her home office in Boca Raton, Florida, here is Susan’s top 10 list of "Fat-Burning Foods." If you are trying to promote quick and healthy weight loss, you’ll want to stock up on as many of these items as possible.
Water, Water Everywhere!
OK, so maybe the first item on this list isn’t really a food per se, but water is nature’s original appetite suppressant. Good old H2O is also an important component of any serious weight-loss plan. Since water makes up about 80 percent of your blood and brain, it is vitally important to good health.
Studies have even demonstrated that drinking water can speed up the process of losing weight. Researchers in Germany found that dieters can increase their metabolic rates by as much as 30 percent after drinking just 17 ounces of water. Since thirst is commonly mistaken for hunger, staying hydrated will keep you from overeating. Not only is water everywhere, but there are plenty of drops to drink. Cheers!
The Green Tea Mile
As most people know, caffeine can speed up your metabolism, but it is also a drug that has negative side effects. “I enjoy a cup or two of coffee in the morning, but I won’t let a coffee addiction keep me up at night,” Susan says.
So, what’s a coffee achiever to do? Instead of being a java junkie, switch to a cup of green tea instead. Studies show that this remarkable beverage boosts metabolism and may even aid in weight loss. This mood-enhancing tea has also been reported to contain anti-cancer properties and help prevent heart disease.
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The next time a waiter asks if you’d like to start off that meal with a salad, chew on this piece of information: Eating a large salad full of crunchy vegetables is a healthy and delicious way to control your appetite for the rest of the meal.
“Get in the habit of including salads before every meal, and you'll have less of an appetite for your entrée,” Susan says. “You also effortlessly increase your fiber, lower your calories and lose weight without being hungry.”
A Dairy Tale Come True
Got Milk? Well, if you are trying to lose weight, you might want to stop by your local grocery store and pick up a few cartons of moo juice. “Studies show that calcium is a necessary component of weight loss, and other research points to calcium-containing dairy products as an effective adjunct for weight loss,” Susan says. “Make sure your dairy is low-fat or nonfat, such as milk, yogurt, and cheese."
Even if you are allergic or intolerant to dairy products, there is good news. You can buy products that have been fortified with calcium and vitamin D, such as tofu and soy milk. Be sure to read the labels to select brands without too much sugar added.
Whether you enjoy it during the evening or any other time of day, soup makes a spectacular appetizer or snack. In fact, according to the latest research out of Penn State University, those dieters who chose soup as a snack before lunch consumed an average of 100 fewer calories per day than others in the study.
“Just like salad, soup works magic on your appetite, filling you up so that you're less hungry for the rest of your meal,” Susan says. “The secret is to choose a broth- or tomato-based soup and not a cream soup, because cream soups are higher in calories and fat.”
According to Susan, it is important to include whole grains into your healthy meal plan, so that you can fill yourself up with fiber instead of white bread, white pasta and white rice. “Whole grains contribute to a feeling of fullness, but white flour contributes to blood sugar imbalance,” Susan says. “Whole grains work to increase your metabolism, because they take longer to digest and absorb.”
Instead of getting your feathers ruffled, be sure to gobble up plenty of this bodybuilder favorite. Countless studies have shown that eating protein can help you lose fat and build lean muscle tissue. A 3-ounce serving of boneless, skinless lean turkey breast weighs in at 120 calories and provides 26 grams of appetite-curbing protein, 1 gram of fat and 0 grams of saturated fat.
Don’t Be Gruel
Did you think your mother was just being “gruel” for serving you a bowl of hot oatmeal every morning at the breakfast table? Well, it turns out that this heart-healthy favorite ranks high on the good carb list, because it’s a source of cholesterol-fighting, fat-soluble fiber (7 grams per 3/4-cup serving) that keeps you full and provides you with the energy you need to make the most of your workouts. In order to get your full dose of vitamins, minerals and fiber, just be sure to choose steel cut or rolled oats, not instant oatmeal.
Fresh Fruits and Veggies
You had to know this was going to make the list. How can you follow a healthy meal plan without including plenty of nutritious fruits and vegetables?
“The soluble and insoluble fiber in fruits and vegetables, plus the water content makes them a fat-burning food,” Susan says. “Eat all the crunchy vegetables you want and lose weight by creating a calorie deficit.”
Though the grapefruit diet may not be Susan’s idea of a healthy meal plan, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t slice open one of these remarkable citrus fruits now and then. Each of these vitamin C-packed wonders helps reduce insulin levels, which promotes weight loss. NOTE: If you are taking medication, be sure to check with your physician about any potentially adverse interactions with grapefruit.