When it comes to loosing body fat there are so many different factors that come into play. At the end of the day, the base “science” behind weight loss is burning more calories than you consume. In order to ensure that you are burning more calories than you are eating you need to be sure of a couple things. First, you must be active. You can lose weight without structured exercise program however I would not typically recommend this approach due to the fact that the human body is made to work. In an effort to support complete health and wellness regular exercise and/or physical activity is key. With that being said the second thing that you need to pay attention to is what you are eating. Knowing how the food that you are eating can impact your health and fitness is going to provide you with a better shot at achieving your goals. Here are 6 foods that you may or may not typically associate with weight loss. Implementing these foods into your daily regiment with the appropriate balance can definitely help you reach your health, fitness and weight loss goals.
- Whole Grains: The higher fiber content of whole grains means that they take more energy to break down and digest. Therefore, eating more whole grains can boost the number of calories that it takes to process your food.
- Lean Meats: Out of the 3 macronutrients (Protein, Carbohydrates and Fats) protein has the highest thermogenic (metabolism boosting) effect. In fact, it has been shown that it can take up to 30% of the calories contained in a lean source of protein to digest it.
- Low Fat Dairy: Dairy is a great source of vitamin D which is a key component in muscle development. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories your body burns.
- Green Tea: The substance EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) which is found in green tea has been shown to temporarily boost metabolism. Again, increased metabolism=more calories burned.
- Lentils: Deficiencies in any nutrient can have a negative effect on your metabolism. Many people are iron deficient and by eating lentils which are loaded with iron, you can boost your metabolism.
- Peppers: Capsaicin, the compound that gives peppers their heat, boosts your metabolism. Peppers can also increase HCL secretion in the stomach promoting better digestion. Improved digestion can play a major role in decreasing additional fat storage for those looking to decrease body fat levels.
Knowing how to use food as fuel and knowing how that fuel can bring you closer to your goal or push you further from it is only one piece of the puzzle. Proper exercise, sufficient sleep and a number of other factors impact your ability to reach any health or fitness related goal and weight loss in no different.
By Vic M.
B.S. Exercise Science, NSCA-CSCS Certified