If you’re trying to lose weight, you’ve probably heard that cutting carbs from your diet is the first step. Carbs often get a bad reputation for adding pounds, when in reality there are “healthy” carbs that do the exact opposite. These carbs burn fat faster and keep you from gaining the lost pounds. Here are 8 foods that contain carbs that fuel fat burning and help you trim those extra inches around your waist.
1. Whole Grains
The number of calories you lose after eating a cup of whole grains is the same number you’d lose after a 30-minute brisk walk. Whole grains are high in fiber, a carbohydrate that cannot be digested by your body. This increases the time taken for whole grains to be digested. The slow digestion keeps you full for longer and prevents you from binge-eating more food.1
The best examples of whole grains are oatmeal, quinoa, and whole wheat bread or pasta. While purchasing, and make sure that the food is actually whole grain. Read the label and buy the product only if “whole grain flour or grain” is listed as one of the top 3 ingredients.
2. Lean Chicken
Lean chicken is a source of healthy protein, one of the major macronutrients. Protein is highly thermogenic, which means that it produces heat by stimulating metabolism and burning fat in the process. Also, protein can keep you full for a long time and prevent you from eating between meals.2
For a filling food that burns fat, add skinless lean chicken to your list. Roast or boil the chicken instead of frying them, as frying can strip the chicken off its nutrients. However, ensure you don’t eat more than 6 ounces of lean meat a day.
A small cup of chickpeas can load you with energy and keep you satiated for a long time. They have a low energy density, which means fewer calories. Chickpeas are also high in fiber and protein, so they’ll fill you up and keep you from overeating. In fact, a study found that individuals who regularly ate chickpea had a healthy weight and were 53% less likely to be obese.3
A good trick for weight loss is to replace your mayonnaise or salsa dip with hummus. It’s not only more delicious but also healthier!
A handful of nuts can go a long way in helping you lose weight. Almonds, for example, contain healthy monounsaturated fatty acids called oleic acid, or omega-9. It stimulates mitochondria – the energizing “battery” cells – which then increases your metabolism or fat-burning rate. Omega-9 has even been shown to encourage physical activity because it contributes to a healthier brain function.4
Other nuts that can help you lose weight are peanuts, pistachios, walnuts, and brazil nuts. And yes, before you ask us, peanut butter also belongs to the category of nuts. Peanut butter is not only good for burning fat, but also for convincing you to stick to your diet. Is this a win-win? We think so.5
This delicious food contains monounsaturated fat, which is the good kind of fat. Studies observe that a diet rich in monounsaturated fat limits the activity of certain fat genes and encourages the burning of fat. One study has, in fact, revealed that eating half an avocado during lunch keeps you full for over 3–5 hours after the meal.6 7
To lose fat, eat half an avocado during your lunch or breakfast. Alternatively, substitute your mid-day oily snacks with some healthy guacamole.
6. Legumes And Pulses
Legumes and pulses, like whole grains, are rich in fiber. Since fiber cannot be digested, these foods remain in your digestive tract for a long time, thus warding off hunger pangs. Additionally, legumes are also rich in protein, which is known to increase satiety and keep you from overeating. Thus, including legumes and pulses in your diet can help you keep your weight in check.8
Beans, lentils, soybeans, and peas are some examples of legumes and pulses. You can toss them into your salad and make it a filling meal.
7. Dark Chocolate
If you thought that sticking to a diet means everything you love is off the table, you couldn’t be further from the truth. The cocoa in dark chocolate can boost your metabolism and help you burn fat, even when you’re at rest! Dark chocolate also contains resveratrol, an antioxidant that causes the death and elimination of fat cells. Resveratrol also converts white fat into calorie-burning brown or beige fat.9
Always go for dark chocolate that contains over 70% cacao. Also, ensure you eat no more than 1–2 squares a day.
8. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
While it’s necessary that you avoid oily foods, we know that staying away from oil completely is impossible. So, it becomes important that you use the right kind of oil. A major part of the Mediterranean diet, virgin olive oil has been revealed to possess fat-burning properties. Unlike other vegetable oils, olive oil contains healthy fat, which can boost your metabolism and aid weight loss. Eating an olive-oil-enriched diet regularly can, in fact, help you lose more pounds than a standard low-fat diet.10
Note that olive oil only helps you lose weight when you use it with the above-mentioned foods, such as whole grains and chickpeas. Also, make sure that the label on your olive oil reads “extra virgin,” and not just “virgin” or “pure.”
While these foods may help you burn fat, you cannot achieve weight loss unless you exercise regularly. So, along with including these foods in your diet, ensure you perform at least 30 minutes of your favorite form of cardio every day.
|↑1||Eat Grains, Burn Calories. AARP.|
|↑2||Paddon-Jones, Douglas, Eric Westman, Richard D. Mattes, Robert R. Wolfe, Arne Astrup, and Margriet Westerterp-Plantenga. “Protein, weight management, and satiety.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 87, no. 5 (2008): 1558S-1561S.|
|↑3||Wallace, Taylor C., Robert Murray, and Kathleen M. Zelman. “The nutritional value and health benefits of chickpeas and hummus.” Nutrients 8, no. 12 (2016): 766.|
|↑4||Kien, C. Lawrence, Janice Y. Bunn, Connie L. Tompkins, Julie A. Dumas, Karen I. Crain, David B. Ebenstein, Timothy R. Koves, and Deborah M. Muoio. “Substituting dietary monounsaturated fat for saturated fat is associated with increased daily physical activity and resting energy expenditure and with changes in mood.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 97, no. 4 (2013): 689-697.|
|↑5||Weight-Loss Science Highlights: Peanuts and Peanut Butter Can Play an Important Role in Weight-Loss Diets. The Peanut Institute.|
|↑6||Paniagua, Juan Antonio, A. Gallego De La Sacristana, I. Romero, A. Vidal-Puig, J. M. Latre, E. Sanchez, P. Perez-Martinez, J. Lopez-Miranda, and F. Perez-Jimenez. “Monounsaturated fat–rich diet prevents central body fat distribution and decreases postprandial adiponectin expression induced by a carbohydrate-rich diet in insulin-resistant subjects.” Diabetes care 30, no. 7 (2007): 1717-1723.|
|↑7||Wien, Michelle, Ella Haddad, Keiji Oda, and Joan Sabaté. “A randomized 3×3 crossover study to evaluate the effect of Hass avocado intake on post-ingestive satiety, glucose and insulin levels, and subsequent energy intake in overweight adults.” Nutrition journal 12, no. 1 (2013): 155.|
|↑8||McCrory, Megan A., Bruce R. Hamaker, Jennifer C. Lovejoy, and Petra E. Eichelsdoerfer. “Pulse consumption, satiety, and weight management.” Advances in Nutrition: An International Review Journal 1, no. 1 (2010): 17-30.|
|↑9||Aguirre, Leixuri, Alfredo Fernández-Quintela, Noemí Arias, and Maria P. Portillo. “Resveratrol: anti-obesity mechanisms of action.” Molecules 19, no. 11 (2014): 18632-18655.|
|↑10||Flynn, Mary M., and Steven E. Reinert. “Comparing an olive oil-enriched diet to a standard lower-fat diet for weight loss in breast cancer survivors: a pilot study.” Journal of Women’s Health 19, no. 6 (2010): 1155-1161.|