Top 10 Fat Burning Superfoods
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you are probably aware that some foods make it really difficult to lose weight. Why? These foods create their own self-sustaining cravings, a fact all too well-known to anyone who’s ever found herself consuming six bowls of cereal while watching reruns of Friends.
Processed carbs — like cereal, desserts, pasta and bread, potato chips — play havoc with your blood sugar, the appetite centers in the brain, and, ultimately, your waistline.
But some foods do just the opposite, packing a ton of nutrition into a relatively small number of calories while filling you up at the same time. Plus, every one of them has the added advantage of stabilizing your blood sugar, making it far less likely that you’ll go on a waist-busting binge.
Make these 10 superfoods part of your daily diet and watch the fat burn and pounds come off!
1) Glorious Grapefruit…
Remember the old “grapefruit diet?” Turns out there may actually be something to back up grapefruit’s reputation as a fat fighter.
In a study from the Scripps Clinic in La Jolla1, researchers studied the effect of grapefruit on weight loss and found that eating half a grapefruit before meal actually helped people drop weight. The researchers studied the effect of grapefruit capsules, grapefruit juice, and real grapefruit. All three seemed to help, but the folks eating the real grapefruit got the best results.
The mechanism isn’t completely understood, but the results speak for themselves. As an added benefit, grapefruit contains cancer-fighting compounds like liminoids and lycopene, and red grapefruit has been shown to help lower triglycerides.
Plus, half of a grapefruit has just 39 calories!
2) Sensational Sardines…
I call sardines one of the greatest health bargains of all times, and it’s definitely a boon to anyone wanting to lose weight. Why? Let me count the ways!
First, it’s loaded with protein, which helps stabilize blood sugar, makes you feel full (and less like overeating), and helps stimulate metabolism. Second, it’s a great source of omega-3’s, which boost mood and strengthen the cardiovascular system, not to mention making hair, skin and nails look better!
Third, sardines are convenient, easy to find, and cheap! And because they’re very low on the food chain, they’re remarkably free of contaminants.
3) Great Pumpkin…
You may only know this vegetable for its central role in Thanksgiving celebrations, but it’s one of the great weight loss foods of all time.
Plain old canned pumpkin is absolutely loaded with fiber — each ½ cup serving has a whopping 8 grams and only a mere 40 calories. Dozens of studies confirm that high fiber intake is associated with a host of health benefits, not the least of which is weight management.
And here’s the deal: it’s the easiest food in the world to prepare. You can sweeten it with some xylitol (or erythritol), sprinkle it with blood-sugar lowering cinnamon, throw in some nutmeg and some nice healthy almonds, and make it into one of the best-tasting weight loss treats around. It’s filling and delicious.
4) Glorious Grass-Fed Beef…
I’ll be honest with you — meat is a great weight loss food, but it’s hard to recommend it when it so often comes with a nice unwanted helping of antibiotics, steroids, and hormones. Get grass-fed and avoid the problems while getting all the terrific benefits. (Hint: Buffalo burgers are a good alternative if you can’t find grass-fed beef).
Higher protein diets are associated with weight loss for a variety of reasons. Protein stimulates the metabolism, helps you feel fuller longer, and helps decrease the desire to overeat.
High-protein breakfasts are one of the best weight loss tricks in the book (try a buffalo burger for breakfast sometime and see what I mean!). And grass-fed beef has demonstrably higher levels of anti-inflammatory omega-3’s and lower levels of pro-inflammatory omega-6’s — a big plus for hard training athletes2.
5) Bountiful Berries…
Berries are one of those non-controversial items that virtually every nutritionist agrees on. They’re on everybody’s and anybody’s list of superfoods.
They assist in weight loss in a number of ways. They’re very low in calories, very rich in nutrients, high in fiber and, best of all, have a very low in impact on your blood sugar.
Research confirms that blueberries especially deserve their growing reputation as that their brain food — feeding blueberries to rats actually slows their age-related mental decline3. Blueberries contain pterostilbene, a plant compound recently shown to have cholesterol-lowering properties. Their ORAC value (antioxidant rating) is the highest of any fruit.
Tip: Try them frozen with a little almond milk and a sprinkling of almond slivers. They taste like sherbet!
6) Nuts About Nuts…
Nuts should be a staple of your weight-control diet. I realize this piece of advice may be contrary to much of what you’ve heard about nuts being “fattening,” but nonetheless it’s absolutely true.
While nuts are high in calories and probably shouldn’t be eaten by the fistful, a very substantial number of important studies have demonstrated that regular inclusion of nuts in the diet lowers the risk for coronary heart disease by double digits4. Other research shows positive effects on the risk of dementia, stroke, and diabetes.
And the current evidence is clear that a moderate intake of nuts doesn’t cause weight gain5. In the Nurses’ Health Study, one of the largest epidemiological studies, frequent nut consumers were actually a bit thinner than those who didn’t indulge. The “magic” amount seems to be about five ounces a week, or 1 to 1.5 ounces about five times a week.
7) Great Guava…
Among the superfoods of the world, guava is a sleeper. With a taste that’s been described as “part strawberry part pear,” one cup of this vitamin-rich, low-calorie fruit contains a whopping 8 grams of fiber, a well-known aid to weight control (not to mention digestive health).
And in one widely used test of antioxidant power, guava scored second only to blueberries. Plus, guava contains lycopene, a cancer-fighting antioxidant also found in tomatoes.
8) Kickin’ Kale…
Kale is a member of the Brassica family, vegetable royalty that boasts cabbage and broccoli among its relatives. It’s rich in potent cancer fighting substances called indoles, and loaded with bone-building vitamin K.
Kale also contains sulforaphane, a powerful nutrient that helps the liver detoxify carcinogens and other toxins. Kale has the highest antioxidant rating of any vegetable and is ridiculously low in calories.
Try it tossed with olive oil, a few dried cranberries and some pine nuts.
9) Eggs-actly Right…
Eggs are the protein source against which all others are judged. They’re also one of the best weight control foods on the planet.
Research has shown that choosing eggs for breakfast helps people manage hunger while lowering calorie consumption throughout the rest of the day6,7,8. And, for goodness sake, stop with the egg-white omelets — they’re so 1980s. The yolk is loaded with good stuff like lutein, the superstar of eye nutrition and choline, which helps support brain function.
The little bit of fat in the yolk contributes mightily to the feeling of sustained fullness and satisfaction. Don’t be afraid of it!
10) Blood-Sugar Busting Beans…
Fiber is the secret weapon in weight-control. It fills you up, slowing the entrance of sugar into the blood system and preventing the blood sugar spikes that frequently lead to hunger and cravings. Fiber also normalizes bowel movements, helps maintain bowel health, reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, and aids in weight loss.
And no food on the planet supplies as much fiber as beans, logging in 12–17 grams a cup. They are also a great source of protein, typically providing 12–17 grams per single cup.
Beans are also a fabulous source of antioxidants. Research on the areas of the globe where people routinely live to 100 in vibrant good health showed that beans were a staple in the diets of all four of the areas studied (known as “The Blue Zones”).
Truly Super Foods…
It’s no small coincidence that the same foods that help you control your weight happen to be the same ones that confer a wide spectrum of health benefits. Rather than focusing on what not to eat, try building your diet around the foods mentioned here.
The only “side effect” of this weight loss plan is a major improvement in your overall health and well-being.
6Ratliff, J et al. Macronutrient composition of breakfast influences plasma glucose, satiety hormones and caloric intake in the next 24 h in adult men. Presented at Experimental Biology 2009. Supported by the Egg Nutrition Center.
7Vander Wal JS, et al. Egg breakfast enhances weight loss. IJO. 2008;32(10):1545-51.
8Leidy, HJ et al. The incorporation of a protein-rich breakfast on appetite sensations and subsequent food intake in “breakfast-skipping” adolescents. Presented at Experimental Biology 2009. Supported by SAH Research Award, KUMC.
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