While your diet can cause you to gain weight and stored fat in areas such as your abdomen and thighs, certain foods can also help you lose fat faster. Some foods remove fat from your digestive tract before your body can absorb and store it, and also stimulate fat-burning metabolism. Adding these foods to your daily diet, while maintaining balanced nutrition and an active lifestyle, can help keep you at a healthy body weight.
Eat oatmeal for breakfast. Oatmeal contains beta-glucan, a soluble dietary fiber that helps to remove unhealthy fats from your digestive tract before they can be absorbed into your bloodstream, according to a study published in "Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition." It also helps to balance blood sugar levels so that you do not feel hungry and so that you have more energy for a longer time.
Make lunch and dinner with fiber-rich staples such as brown rice, whole-grain pasta and bread, barley or quinoa. Fiber-rich foods take longer to digest, helping you burn more fat. They also contain fewer calories for the same volume of food compared to refined grains such as white bread, pasta and rice. Additionally, high-fiber foods generally need more chewing time, which signals your brain that you are full, faster.
Add protein to your meals. Lean meats such as chicken breast have high thermogenic properties, meaning that they generate heat during digestion that promotes calorie-burning. Good vegetarian sources of proteins include legumes such as beans and lentils and whole grains such as quinoa.
Sip green tea throughout the day instead of heavy lattes. Green tea contains high caffeine and antioxidant content that helps to stimulate fat-burning metabolism, particularly around your middle.
- Replace the rice in recipes such as risotto or casseroles with barley; this whole grain is high in fiber and protein.
- Thicken soup, stews, sauces and gravies with powdered oats instead of adding flour and corn starch, which are simple carbohydrates. Oats are high in soluble fiber and require longer digestion, helping to burn fat and also remove unhealthy fats from your digestive tract.
- Eat more iron-rich foods such as lentils that promote energy and help your body burn more fat.
- Some disorders and diseases, such as a thyroid gland imbalance, can cause excess fat gain. Before changing your diet, consult your doctor to determine that your weight gain is not due to a health condition.
Nadia Haris is a registered radiation therapist who has been writing about nutrition for more than six years. She is completing her Master of Science in nutrition with a focus on the dietary needs of oncology patients.