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Fat Burning Foods & Thermogenic Foods

Q: What Are The Best Fat-Burning Foods For Burning Body Fat?

Is this a fat burning food?

A: That depends on your definition of a "fat burning food." When you say "fat burning food" or "foods that burn fat," many people instantly think of exotic herbs, hot spices or foods like cayenne, chili pepper, mustard, cider vinegar, guarana, green tea, etc., which allegedly increase your metabolic rate.

It sounds like a diet gimmick, so you're justified in being skeptical, but believe it or not, some of these purported fat burning foods actually have some science behind the claims.

For example, there is a slight thermogenic effect from capsaicin in hot pepper.

Well-controlled research has also proven that a compound in green tea called epigallo-catechin gallate (EGCG) gives a small but significant increase in 24 hour metabolic rate. It would take 3-4 strong cups of green tea to get the necessary amount, 270-300 mg of EGCG, or it can also be obtained from green tea extract supplements.

However, there is a catch. The fat burning (thermogenic) effect of these foods is real, but very small. A study published in the European Journal of clinical Nutrition found that a dose of hot pepper (in an amount that could be tolerated), only increased metabolism by 21 calories. Green tea extract fared a little better, but not much. Research from Switzerland found an average 24 hour increase in metabolism of 79 calories.

That's not much. In fact, it's controversial whether this short term (24 hour) increase in metabolism will have any impact on actual fat loss over time.

If you like Green tea, it's extremely healthy, and I do recommend it as a beverage. And, if you like hot peppers and hot spicy foods (I do), by all means enjoy them - they can be quite nutritious - and they may give a tiny boost to your metabolism. Just don't expect any fat loss miracles.

What WILL help you burn fat is a diet consisting of nutrient-dense, natural foods and putting together your meals to maximize satiety, while also choosing some of the foods that have a lower caloric density and a higher thermic effect of digestion. Let me explain...

Dietary Thermogenesis and the Thermic Effect Of Food

In reality, ALL foods are "thermogenic" because the body must use energy to digest them. This is known as the "thermic effect of food" (TEF) or "specific dynamic action of food."

However, not all foods have the same thermic effect. Dietary fat has the lowest thermic effect. The most thermogenic food (my "favorite") is lean protein from solid foods, especially the following:

  • chicken breast
  • turkey breast
  • game meats (venison, elk, etc)
  • bison, buffalo
  • very lean red meat such as top round and lean sirloin (grass fed is especially nutritious)
  • almost all types of fish
  • shellfish and other seafood
  • egg whites (whole eggs in moderation)

Research has proven that the thermic effect of protein is the highest of all the macronutrients, requiring about 30% of the calories it contains, just for digestion and processing. An added bonus is that lean protein foods suppress your appetite!

This is one of the reasons that a fat loss diet calls for a lean protein food at every meal. It's also no coincidence that bodybuilders are the leanest muscular athletes on earth. My entire fat loss program is based on these fat burning and muscle-friendly diet methods.

When you combine thermogenic lean protein foods with the right amounts and types of essential fats, add in plenty of green vegetables and just the right amount of natural starchy carbs, your body will literally turn into a turbo-charged fat burning machine - without drugs, supplements or weird diet gimmicks.

A Simple 3-Step Formula To Put Together A Fat-Burning Meal:

STEP 1: Select a green vegetable or fibrous vegetable such as asparagus, green beans, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, salad vegetables, etc., and then

STEP 2: Combine that with one of the lean proteins (previously mentioned above).

STEP 3: The lean protein and fibrous carb forms the foundation of your fat burning meal. From there, add natural starchy carbs or grains such as brown rice, oats, or sweet potatoes - in the amount your calorie needs dictate and to the degree your body can tolerate them (some people have a carb-intolerant body type). Fruit is also ok, but focus even more on the green and fibrous vegetables.

You can learn a lot more about fat burning foods and a very powerful fat burning system by visiting the home page: www.BurnTheFat.com/home

- Tom Venuto, author of

Burn The Fat, Feed the Muscle

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About Bodybuilding & Fat Loss Coach, Tom Venuto

Tom Venuto is the author of the #1 best seller, Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle: Fat Burning Secrets of the World's Best Bodybuilders and Fitness Models. Tom is a lifetime natural bodybuilder and fat loss expert who achieved an astonishing ripped 3.7% body fat level without drugs or supplements. Discover how to increase your metabolism, burn stubborn body fat and find out which foods burn fat and which foods turn to fat by visiting the home page at: BurnTheFat.com. Get details about Toms private members-only club at www.BurnTheFat.com/InnerCircle

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