By a show of hands, who here has heard of these famous ‘fat-burning’ foods?
They are everywhere, and countless gurus sell various lists of these foods that supposedly make it effortless to lose weight.
But, is that truly the case? Let’s find out.
What Are ‘Fat-Burning Foods’ And Do They Work?
Fat-burning foods, also known as negative-calorie foods, are those that supposedly help us burn fat by eating them.
If you Google the phrase ‘fat burning foods,’ you’re bound to come across countless lists full of all sorts of foods that supposedly put the body in some kind of fat-burning mode.
The most common argument is, these foods contain so few calories that the body expends more to break them down, and thus, we burn fat by eating.
Sadly, things don’t work like that, and no amount of celery will directly make you burn fat.
So, What Does Work?
To burn fat and lose weight, we need to be in a calorie deficit. In other words, we need to consume fewer calories than we burn each day. That way, we force the body to tap into its fat stores and get the remaining energy it needs.
To optimize fat loss (and minimize muscle loss), we can employ several other tactics. One such tactic is to consume more protein – meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, protein powder, and similar. That way, our muscles have building blocks (amino acids) that support them. This reduces the rate of muscle loss, and a greater proportion of the weight loss comes from fat.
In the same line of thinking, practicing resistance training also helps prevent muscle loss while dieting. By stimulating our muscles regularly, we tell the body, “Hey, muscle tissue is valuable – don’t burn it off for energy!” The best news is, as little as two to three resistance training sessions per week are enough.
Sleep is another vital element of effective fat loss. In some studies, sleep deprivation has been shown to lead to significantly higher muscle loss with all other variables (training, diet, etc.) staying the same. Up to 7-8 hours per night seems to be the sweet spot for most people.
And finally, so long as you cover the above criteria, you can also take advantage of fat-burning supplements, as they can give us a slight edge. Namely, they:
- Improve the rates of fat release and oxidation
- Boost our metabolic rate to a small degree
- Increase our energy levels
- Blunt our hunger and make it easier for us to stick with fewer calories