The idea of fat-burning foods is based on the thermogenic effect of food. The argument being that some foods require more calories to digest than they contain, for example, celery or grapefruit. Unfortunately, studies have indicated that this argument is flawed and that these foods do not actually burn fat.
There are certain foods that can naturally help boost your metabolism, such as hot peppers and green tea, but the increase in metabolism these foods provide is minimal and does not contribute to significant weight loss. As the effect is small, consider incorporating these mini-metabolism-boosters into a healthy, flab-unfriendly diet.
My top 5 tips for a flab-unfriendly diet:
1. Fill your plate with salads and vegetables twice a day
Vegetables and salads are low in calories, yet high in stomach filling fibre and nutrients – a great boost for your weight loss efforts.
2. Drink plenty of water
Use this simple calculation to estimate your water requirements:
Your weight divided by 10, plus 2 = how many 250ml glasses per day you should aim for
e.g. 60 kg women = 8 x 250ml glasses of water per day
3. Eat every 3 – 4 hours
Each time you eat, you stimulate your metabolism for a short period of time, which means that the more often you eat, the more you’ll increase your metabolism. Frequent eating does not mean mindless snacking though – plan in advance and ensure you have healthy options on-hand e.g. finger salads, boiled egg, fresh fruit, or raw nuts could all work well. Research from Georgia State University shows that people who eat every 2 to 3 hours have less body fat and faster metabolisms than those who eat only 2 or 3 meals each day.
4. Spice up your meals
Capsaicin, the chemical in hot peppers that gives them their heat, can boost metabolism, too. The effect is small and likely temporary, but if you eat spicy foods often, the benefits may add up. Adding spices to your food is also a great way to add flavour without increasing the fat, salt or sugar content of a dish. Try spice up pasta dishes, casseroles and stews with hot peppers.
5. Drink Green Tea.
A compound in green tea called ECGC has been shown to elevate metabolism by a small amount.
The bottom line:
Avoid placing too much importance on so-called ‘fat-burning’ foods and neglecting the food choices you make the rest of the day. And remember that if a food or supplement is advertised as being “fat-burning,” it is being misleading.