Fat burning foods

Consuming certain fat burning foods can lead to a reduction in body fat. When a person adds these fat-burning foods to the diet, they can burn fat and lose weight over time. Such fat burning foods include eggs, nuts, and oily fish.

The term “fat burning foods” may apply to those that produce fat loss by stimulating metabolism, reducing appetite, or reducing overall food intake.

All foods stimulate metabolism. However, some types of food, such as chili peppers, might have a larger impact on metabolism than others. Eating these foods may lead to weight loss.

Certain foods, such as nuts, can also offset hunger for longer than others. Consuming these foods may help control appetite and reduce overall food intake, leading to weight loss.

In this article, we examine some fat burning foods that could help people lose weight. We also take a look at how best to include these foods in the diet.

Nuts

cashews, almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios and walnuts are fat burning foods.
Regularly eating nuts can help boost energy levels and offset hunger.

Nuts are very nutritious. They are high in protein and good fats, which are both beneficial for offsetting hunger over long periods.

Importantly, people can incorporate nuts into a healthful diet without gaining any weight.

For example, one study from 2011, published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, found that including nuts in the diet over 12 weeks led to improvements in diet quality, without any weight gain.

Oily fish

Fish is a type of healthful food that contains vital omega-3 fatty acids. Oily fish such as salmon are particularly high in long-chain fatty acids that are difficult to find elsewhere.

Fish is also high in protein. Dietary protein can offset hunger, and it is an important tool for weight loss.

Yogurt

Yogurts can vary in their nutritional content. Plain yogurt, such as Greek-style yogurt, is the most healthful. It contains a variety of vitamins, minerals, and probiotics.

Yogurt also contains different types of protein, such as casein and whey. A study from 2014 that appears in the Nutrition Journal shows that eating high-protein yogurt can have benefits for appetite control, offsetting hunger, and lowering overall food intake.

Split peas

Split pea and lentil stew or curry with chillis are fat burning foods
Split peas are a healthful source of energy and a versatile ingredient.

Peas are high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They also contain complex carbohydrates, which are a good source of energy.

Split peas also contain proteins that can offset hunger.

A 2011 study that appears in the Nutrition Journal explains that the protein contained within split peas has a greater impact on reducing hunger than whey protein from milk.

Eggs

Eggs are rich in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients important to health, report the American Heart Association (AHA). They are high in cholesterol, but there is no evidence to suggest that eating cholesterol causes high cholesterol in the body.

Eggs are also an excellent source of protein and can help control appetite. A study in the journal Nutrition Research found that eating eggs at breakfast had a positive impact on controlling hunger and food intake later in the day.

Chili peppers

Chili peppers contain the chemical capsaicin, which could have benefits for weight loss.

A 2012 systematic review, published in the journal Appetite, shows that capsaicin may increase fat burning and reduce appetite. These effects may help lead to weight loss.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil contains a high level of medium-chain triglycerides. This is a specific type of fat that may have a range of health benefits.

A meta-analysis from 2015, which appeared in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, found that these medium-chain triglycerides could lead to weight loss. However, more studies are needed to confirm the results.

Many scientists believe that medium-chain triglycerides can increase energy consumption and reduce fat stores.

Green tea

Green tea is a fat burning food
Green tea has many health benefits, such as aiding weight loss.

Green tea is a beneficial source of antioxidants and may have several health benefits. One of these benefits includes weight loss.

A high-quality review from 2012, published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, found that green tea consumption led to weight loss in adults who were overweight or obese.

The amount of weight loss was small but consistently present across several different studies.

Adding fat burning foods to the diet

In some cases, it is possible to base a meal on one particular fat burning food. For example, it may consist of oily fish such as salmon with vegetables. Another option is to have eggs with whole-grain toast for breakfast.

For vegetarians and vegans, plant-based meals that are rich in protein can be a useful way to aid weight loss. Mixing fat-burning foods such as split peas with other beneficial sources of protein are one way of doing this. Examples of this include split pea soup, or split pea dal.

It may also be beneficial to choose fat-burning snacks such as nuts. Such snacks are more able to satisfy hunger and control appetite than others, such as chocolate or chips.

Summary

Certain foods can help a person burn fat and lose weight. However, it is important to remember that fat-burning foods must be part of a healthful diet overall. Also, a person must engage in regular physical activity to burn fat and lose weight.

These foods are unlikely to cause any noticeable fat loss on their own.

Cholesterol treatment guideline

The new Cholesterol guideline was published in November and is the result of a joint task force of the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association. The report was published in the journal Circulation.

Cholesterol moleculeFirst, a couple of caveats: Dietary supplements by law cannot claim to treat or prevent any illness. So to some degree, it makes sense that clinicians would not turn to them first to help patients who already have high cholesterol. Also, it should be noted that the guideline would be aimed first and foremost at specialists, who likely would be consulted only after a patient has been referred with a treatable condition.

Paucity of information on Cholesterol prevention

Nevertheless, it is telling that so little effort is spent in the guideline on discussing how to help patients to keep from crossing over the line into the treatment category, rather than spending page after page on how to fix the boat after it has sprung a leak. In the 120-page document, which includes 69 pages of actual text, only two short sections were devoted to lifestyle factors in the prevention of development of hyperlipidemia.

“Patients should consume a dietary pattern that emphasizes intake of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, healthy protein sources (low-fat dairy products, low-fat poultry (without the skin), fish/seafood, and nuts), and nontropical vegetable oils; and limits intake of sweets, sugar-sweetened beverages, and red meats,” the guideline states.

One other section of the guideline addresses prevention specifically.

“Primary prevention of ASCVD over the life span requires attention to prevention or management of ASCVD risk factors beginning early in life,” the guideline states. It then refers the reader to a table that includes one statement about encouraging a healthy lifestyle and then devotes the rest of the information on statin therapy, starting as early as age 8.

Lipid ingredients, polyphenols shown to have effects

A number of dietary ingredients have been researched for their positive effects on blood lipid profiles including lipid ingredients and many plants and fruit extracts rich in phytochemicals.

Omega-3s, for example, have been shown to have positive effects on high triglyceride levels, but the effects on LDL cholesterol specifically are less clear-cut. Levels can actually increase slightly, but the size of the LDL particles changes as well, which is a good thing. And HDL (the “good” cholesterol) goes up, too, indicating a generally positive overall trend.

Extra virgin olive oil, which is rich is some polyphenolic compounds such as hydroxytyrosol, has been suggested to benefit blood lipid profiles via a multifaceted action that includes both anti-inflammatory aspects and the promotion of cholesterol efflux. Olive is, of course, one of the main components of the Mediterranean diet, which is frequently recommended for heart health.

Drug hits one target –  supplements hit many

But this multifactorial approach doesn’t fit neatly into the mostly drug-focused paradigm of the new guideline, said James Kennedy, Ph.D. president of ingredient supplier Polyphenolics, which has a line of grape seed extracts which are among the more comprehensively researched polyphenol-based ingredients on the market.

“There is no question that statins can dramatically reduce your blood cholesterol levels,” Kennedy told NutraIngredients-USA. “They absolutely can reduce cholesterol much further than any polyphenol from a fruit or vegetable.”

“But for me it’s about lifestyle first. It just struck me as odd that here is a group concerned about our heart health and they were pretty much exclusively recommending drugs,” he said.

Kennedy said that cardiovascular disease is a multifaceted condition. Statins target one aspect of this situation and hits that nail squarely on the head. But natural ingredients, perhaps especially when offered in combination, take a more comprehensive approach to the problem.

Polyphenolics offers a line of grape seed extracts that includes MegaNatural BP, which has been researched for its effect on supporting blood pressure in the healthy range. That effect takes into account the healthy flow dynamics of the circulatory system, something that a myopic focus on cholesterol numbers glosses over.

Evidence backing many polyphenols

Grape seed extracts are just one of many polyphenol-based ingredients on the market that have been researched for their benefits in ameliorating the risk factors of CVD.

grapes are recommended in low cholesterol diets

“If you look at cardiovascular disease as a whole, a lot of polyphenols – and grape seed extract in particular – address the various areas including blood pressure and blood glucose as well as hypercholesteremia. Our industry offers a food-first approach which makes sense to consumers. They look at supplementation as a complement to everything else they are doing to address all aspects of heart disease, not just one piece of it” Kennedy said.

The entourage effect implied by the research backing polyphenols (they all appear to do slightly different things) is now starting to be borne out by research. A recent study in the journal Nutrients showed that just two weeks on a polyphenol-poor diet could alter vascular biomarkers in a group of healthy men.

And a recent review article in the journal Molecules had this to say: “Consumption of polyphenols from plant extracts and fruits increases antioxidant levels in plasma which protect vasculature and improve anti-inflammatory and lipid profiles, blood pressure, HDL-C, and vascular function.”  The review focuses on a number of polyphenols and other naturally occurring compounds, including gallic acid and punicalagin from pomegranate.

Combo products increasing in popularity

Kennedy said there is increasing interest among supplement product formulators in taking advantage of the evidence supporting the multifactorial effects of polyphenols.

“We do come into contact with customers who say they want to put together a heart health formula and want to know what they can combine our grape seed extract with,” he said.

“Recently we had a customer who wanted to combine our grape seed extract with a blueberry extract and a bergamot extract. When you go into the store you frequently see our extract in formulation with other ingredients,” Kennedy said.

The beauty of the natural approach to heart health is these ingredients can be combined with virtually no concern about antagonistic interactions, Kennedy said. Polyphenolics has continually worked on its GRAS dossier, with higher and higher dosages proven to be safe, he said.

“For the most part these are natural products and they are not known to have any cross indications. With statins, you have to dial the dose in and the patient has to be monitored very carefully.”

 

Nuts and your health

Two new studies suggest that a small daily serving of nuts may benefit overall metabolic health and keep off the weight we tend to gain as we enter adulthood.
serving of nuts
A daily serving may prevent weight gain and improve metabolic health in the long run, two new studies suggest.

From providing cardiovascular benefits to potentially improving fertility, and even boosting memory and intelligence, the health benefits of nuts are numerous — and no wonder.  They are packed with unsaturated fatty acids, fiber, protein, and other beneficial chemicals, which may all contribute to good health.

However, can these dried seeds aid weight loss? Are certain types better able to support good metabolism?

Two new studies delved deeper into these questions. The authors will present the findings at Scientific Sessions 2018, a conference to be held by the American Heart Association (AHA) in Chicago, IL.

The first study — led by Xiaoran Liu, Ph.D., a research associate in the nutrition department of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, MA — looked at the long-term effects of nuts and peanuts on body weight.

The second study examined the effects of Brazil nuts on satiety, blood sugar, and insulin response.

It was supervised by Mee Young Hong, Ph.D., a registered dietician and a professor in the School of Exercise & Nutritional Sciences at San Diego State University in California.

Nuts prevent weight gain in adulthood

The first study explored consumption in:

  • 25,394 healthy men who had taken part in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study
  • 53,541 women who had participated in the Nurses’ Health Study
  • 47,255 women who had taken part in the Nurses’ Health Study II

The three groups had filled in food frequency questionnaires once every 4 years.

The researchers discovered that replacing foods that had less nutritional value with a 1-ounce serving of nuts and peanuts lowered the risk of weight gain and obesity over the 4-year follow-up intervals.

More specifically, replacing a serving of red meat, processed meat, french fries, desserts, or potato chips with a serving of nuts correlated with significantly less weight gain in the long run.

The study’s first author comments on the findings, saying, “People often see nuts as food items high in fat and calories, so they hesitate to consider them as healthy snacks, but they are in fact associated with less weight gain and wellness.”

“Once people reach adulthood, they start to gradually gain about 1 pound a year of weight, which seems small. But if you consider gaining one pound over 20 years, it accumulates to a lot of weight gain,” Liu notes.

Adding 1 ounce of nuts to your diet in place of less healthy foods — such as red or processed meat, french fries or sugary snacks — may help prevent that slow, gradual weight gain after you enter adulthood and reduce the risk of obesity-related cardiovascular diseases.”

Xiaoran Liu, Ph.D.

Brazil nuts benefit insulin, glucose responses

In the second study, researchers examined the effects of consuming the Brazil variety in 22 healthy adult participants, 20 of whom were women.

The participants added either 36 grams of pretzels or 20 grams of Brazil nuts to their normal diet in two trials. At least 48 hours passed between trials.

The Brazil nuts and pretzels contained about the same number of calories and the same amount of sodium. Both triggered a sense of fullness, but the Brazil type contributed to an increased feeling of satiety.

Forty minutes after the participants had consumed their snacks, the researchers found that the pretzels had caused significant increases in blood sugar and insulin levels, whereas the Brazil nuts had not.

The study’s senior author explains, “While both Brazil nuts and pretzels increased a sense of fullness after they were eaten, eating Brazil nuts stabilized postprandial (after eating) blood glucose and insulin levels, which may be beneficial in preventing diabetes and weight gain.”

Although the study was observational, the researchers speculate that selenium may explain the benefits of Brazil nuts. Prior studies had linked the mineral with better insulin and blood sugar responses, and Brazil nuts are rich in selenium.

However, the researchers caution that because only 9 percent of participants were men, the study’s findings may not apply to all.

Our study allows researchers and clinicians to consider the possible beneficial role of Brazil nuts to help people feel full and maintain a healthy level of glucose, reducing the risk of obesity and diabetes.”

Mee Young Hong, Ph.D.