One of the reasons you’re not losing weight may be you’re not eating enough fat-burning foods. Many dieters believe they need to cut their fat intake to shed extra pounds; however, research shows you need to make friends with fat and add some good fat into your diet to punch down the numbers on your scale.
The Best Way to Lose Weight is to Fight Fat with Fat
Counting calories is not the only way to drop pounds. The body needs fat to function, says Susan Kleiner, Ph.D., R.D., in Kimberly A Daly’s Shape article “Lose Weight Now Keep It Off Forever.” If you’re not getting enough fat from your diet, your brain sends a signal to your body to start holding onto body fat.
People who eat more fat lose more weight. Research proves this paradox is true. The New England Journal of Medicine found that females who got 35 percent of their calories from fat shed 13 more pounds compared to those in a control group who ate a low-fat diet. Eating a diet that is a little higher in good fat will also fend off hunger pangs and the urge to binge, says Daly.
Good fat comes from plant sources like nuts, avocados, olive oil and fish. These foods are high in healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat. Just make sure to choose fish that are high in healthy omega-3s like wild salmon from Alaska, Atlantic Mackerel and sardines, and make sure keep the total percentage of fat from your calories under 35 percent.
Fight Fat with Dairy
While many people avoid dairy products to drop pounds, experts say eating three daily servings of cheese, low-fat milk and yogurt can help you shed pounds and keep them off.
A study from the Curtin University of Technology strongly supports increasing dairy intake for weight control to five servings a day. Participants who ate five servings of dairy every day over a 12-week weight loss trial had more fat mass loss, a greater drop of systolic blood pressure and a greater percentage of stomach fat loss than those in a control group (Dunn).
Before you start bulking up on dairy, keep in mind the participants in the study also ate fewer calories than they burned each day. Previous studies have also proven that eating more dairy increases the loss of body fat as long as dieters restricted their caloric intake accordingly for weight control. The calcium in dairy products is believed to be the ingredient that helps people burn fat; however, before changing your diet and increasing the amount of dairy you eat each day, make sure to check with your doctor first.
A diet high in protein also enhances fat loss. Health experts at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York found that study participants who got 40 percent of their total daily calories from protein for eight weeks, lost a lot more body fat, specifically abdominal fat, compared to those on a low-fat high-carbohydrate diet (Stoppani). Make sure to choose mostly lean protein sources.
Fat-burning foods consisting of protein also help keep you fuller longer. Eggs are packed with protein and have been shown to increase muscle mass and increase strength, and if you eat eggs for breakfast, you’re more likely to consume fewer calories during the day and burn more fat, says Jim Stoppani in “50 Rules of Fat Burning” published in Joe Weider’s Muscle and Fitness. Eggs are definitely on the list of the best diet foods to lose weight.
Get Fit with Green Tea
While it may take a little getting used to as far as taste, green tea increases metabolism and burns fat. It contains catechin polyphenols, which are chemicals that boost metabolism and act as an antioxidant. According to Ben Kallen in the Men’s Fitness article “Fat Loss in a Tiny Bag,” green tea has “27 percent catechins, while black tea has just 4 percent.”
A Swiss study revealed volunteers who took green-tea extract with meals boosted their energy by four percent for 24 hours. Four percent may not seem like much but it does translate into 88 additional calories burned each day, which will add up to a nine pound loss over one year. Green tea also encourages your body to burn fat instead of carbohydrates, says Kallen.
Eat and Drink to Shred Fat
By eating good fats, increasing dairy consumption, going for high-protein foods and washing these down with green tea, you will help your body become a fat-burning machine.
Daly, Kimberly A. “Lose Weight Now keep It Off Forever.” Shape. February 2011, Vol. 30 Issue 6, p168-173.
Dunn, Josette. Weight Loss Expert Supports Diary in Diets. Nutridate. March 2010, Vol. 21 Issue 1, p8.
Hobson, Catherine. “11 Best Fish: High in Omega-3s–and Environmentally Friendly.” US News.
Kallen, Ben. “Fat Loss in a Tiny Bag.” Men’s Fitness. September 2002, Vol. 18 Issue 9, p142.
Stoppani, Jim. “50 Rules of Fat Burning.” Joe Weider’s Muscle and Fitness. September 2009, Vol. 70 Issue 9, p100.