Increasing your metabolic rate can help you lose body fat.
However, most of the “fat burning” supplements on the market are unsafe, ineffective, or both.
Fortunately, several natural foods and drinks have been shown to boost your metabolism and promote fat loss.
Here are 12 healthy foods that help burn fat.
Raw salmon fillet and vegetables on a wooden cutting board
Fatty fish is delicious and unbelievably good.
Salmon, herring, sardines, mackerel, and other oily fish contain omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce inflammation and lower the risk of heart disease.
Also, omega-3 fatty acids can help you lose body fat.
In a six-week controlled study of 44 adults, those taking fish oil supplements lost an average of 1.1 pounds (0.5 kilograms) of fat and experienced a drop in cortisol, a stress hormone associated with fat storage.
In addition, fish is an excellent source of high-quality protein. Protein digestion leads to greater feelings of fullness and increases metabolic rate significantly more than fat or carbohydrate digestion.
To increase fat loss and protect heart health, include a minimum of 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of fatty fish in your diet at least twice a week.
Summary: Oily fish contain omega-3 fatty acids that may promote fat loss. Fish is also high in protein, which helps you feel full and increases your metabolic rate during digestion.
Learn more about “fish” in our article: Benefits of fish .
2. MCT Oil (Medium Chain Triglycerides)
TCM oil is made by extracting TCM from coconut or palm oil. It is available online and in natural supermarkets.
MCT stands for medium chain triglycerides, which are a type of fat that is metabolized differently than the long chain fatty acids found in most foods.
Due to their shorter length, MCTs are quickly absorbed by the body and go directly to the liver, where they can be immediately used for energy or converted to ketones for use as an alternative fuel source.
Medium chain triglycerides have been shown in several studies to increase metabolic rate.
One study gave eight healthy men 1-2 tablespoons (15-30 grams) of MCT per day in their regular diets, the men increased their metabolic rate by 5% over a 24-hour period, meaning that they burned an average of 120 additional calories per day.
Additionally, MCTs may reduce hunger and promote better muscle mass retention during weight loss.
Replacing some of the fat in your diet with 2 tablespoons of MCT oil per day can optimize fat burning.
However, it is best to start with 1 teaspoon a day and gradually increase the dose in order to minimize potential digestive side effects such as cramps, nausea, and diarrhea.
Summary: TCMs are quickly absorbed for immediate use as an energy source. MCT oil can increase fat burning, decrease hunger, and protect muscle mass during weight loss.
Coffee is one of the most popular drinks around the world.
It is a great source of caffeine, which can improve mood and improve mental and physical performance.
Also, it can help you burn fat.
In a small study involving nine people, those who drank caffeine an hour before exercise burned almost twice as much fat and were able to exercise 17% longer than the non-caffeine group.
Research has shown that caffeine increases metabolic rate by an impressive 3-13%, depending on the amount consumed and individual response.
In one study, people took 100 mg of caffeine every two hours for 12 hours. Lean adults burned an average of 150 additional calories and previously obese adults burned an additional 79 calories during the study time period.
To get the fat-burning benefits of caffeine without the potential side effects, like anxiety or insomnia, aim for 100-400mg per day. This is the amount found in approximately 1-4 cups of coffee, depending on its strength.
Summary: Coffee contains caffeine, which has been shown to improve mental and physical performance, as well as boost metabolism.
Learn more about “coffee” in our article: Benefits of coffee .
Eggs are a nutritional powerhouse.
Although egg yolks used to be avoided due to their high cholesterol content, whole eggs have been shown to help protect heart health in those at increased risk of heart disease.
In addition, eggs are an ideal food for weight loss.
Studies have shown that egg-based breakfasts reduce hunger and promote feelings of fullness for several hours in overweight and obese people.
In an eight-week controlled study of 21 men, those who ate three eggs for breakfast consumed 400 fewer calories per day and had a 16% reduction in body fat, compared to the group who ate bagels for breakfast.
Eggs are also a great source of high-quality protein, which increases metabolic rate by around 20-35% for several hours after eating, based on several studies.
In fact, one of the reasons why eggs tend to make you feel full may be due to the increased calorie burn that occurs during protein digestion.
Eating three eggs several times a week can help you burn fat while keeping you full and satisfied.
Summary: Eggs are a protein-rich food that can help reduce hunger, increase fullness, increase fat burning, and protect heart health.
Learn more about “the egg” in our article: Properties of the egg .
5. Coconut oil
Coconut oil is loaded with health benefits.
Adding coconut oil to your diet appears to increase your HDL “good” cholesterol and lower your triglycerides, as well as help you lose weight.
In one study, obese men who added 2 tablespoons of coconut oil a day to their regular diet lost an average of 1 inch (2.5 cm) from their waists without making any other dietary changes or increasing their physical activity.
The fats in coconut oil are mostly MCT, which has been credited with properties such as appetite suppression and fat burning.
However, some studies suggest that its metabolism-boosting effects may diminish over time.
Unlike most oils, coconut oil is stable at high temperatures, making it ideal for cooking with.
Consuming up to 2 tablespoons of coconut oil daily can help maximize fat burning. Be sure to start with a teaspoon and gradually increase the amount to avoid any digestive upset.
Summary: Coconut oil is rich in MCTs, which can boost your metabolism, reduce appetite, promote fat loss, and reduce risk factors for heart disease.
Learn more about “coconut oil” in our article: What is coconut oil for?
6. Green tea
Green tea is an excellent beverage choice for good health.
Studies suggest that it may help reduce the risk of heart disease and protect against certain types of cancer.
In addition to providing a moderate amount of caffeine, green tea is an excellent source of “epigallocatechin gallate” (EGCG), an antioxidant that promotes belly fat burning and loss.
In a study of 12 healthy men, fat burning increased by 17% during cycling in those who took green tea extract, compared to those who took a placebo.
On the other hand, some studies have found that green tea or green tea extract has little to no effect on metabolism or weight loss.
Given the difference in study results, the effects of green tea vary from person to person and may also depend on the amount consumed.
Drinking up to four cups of green tea a day can provide a number of health benefits, including potentially increasing the number of calories you burn.
Summary: Green tea contains caffeine and EGCG, both of which may boost metabolism, promote weight loss, protect heart health, and reduce cancer risk.
Learn more about “green tea” in our article: Properties of green tea .
7. Whey protein
Whey protein or whey protein is pretty awesome.
It has been shown to promote muscle growth when combined with exercise and can help preserve muscle during weight loss.
Furthermore, whey protein appears to be even more effective at reducing appetite than other protein sources.
This is because it stimulates the release of “satiety hormones” such as PYY and GLP-1 to a greater extent.
One study in 22 men consumed different protein drinks on four separate days. The men experienced significantly lower levels of hunger and ate fewer calories at their next meal after drinking the whey protein drink, compared to the other protein drinks.
Additionally, whey appears to increase fat burning and promote weight loss in lean people and those who are overweight or obese.
In a study of 23 healthy adults, whey protein meal was found to increase metabolic rate and fat burning more than casein or soy protein meals.
A whey protein shake is a quick meal or snack option that promotes fat loss and can help improve your body composition.
Summary: Whey protein appears to increase muscle growth, reduce appetite, increase fullness, and increase metabolism more effectively than other protein sources.
8. Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is an age-old folk remedy with evidence-based health benefits.
It has been credited with reducing appetite and lowering blood sugar and insulin levels in people with diabetes.
What’s more, the main component of vinegar, acetic acid, has been used to increase fat burning and reduce belly fat storage in several animal studies.
Although there isn’t much research on the effect of vinegar on fat loss in humans, the results of one study are quite encouraging.
In this study, 144 obese men who added 2 tablespoons of vinegar to their usual daily diets for 12 weeks lost 3.7 pounds (1.7 kilograms) and experienced a 0.9% reduction in body fat.
Including apple cider vinegar in your diet can help you lose body fat. Start with 1 teaspoon per day diluted in water and gradually work up to 1-2 tablespoons per day to avoid any digestive upset.
Summary: Apple cider vinegar may help suppress appetite, promote loss of belly fat, and reduce blood sugar and insulin levels.
Learn more about “apple cider vinegar” in our article: Benefits of apple cider vinegar .
9. Aji es picantes
Chili peppers do more than add heat to food.
Its powerful antioxidants can reduce inflammation and help protect your cells.
Additionally, research suggests that an antioxidant in chili peppers called capsaicin may help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
It does this by promoting satiety and avoiding overeating.
What’s more, this compound can also help you burn more calories and lose body fat.
In a study of 19 healthy adults, when caloric intake was restricted by 20%, capsaicin was found to counteract the slowing of metabolic rate that normally occurs with decreased caloric intake.
A large review of 20 studies concluded that taking capsaicin helps reduce appetite and can increase the number of calories burned by approximately 50 calories per day.
Consider eating chili peppers or using ground cayenne pepper to season your meals several times a week.
Summary: Compounds in cayenne pepper have been found to reduce inflammation, help control hunger, and increase metabolic rate.
10. Oolong tea
Oolong tea is one of the healthiest drinks you can drink.
Although it gets less hype than green tea, it has many similar health benefits to green tea, thanks to its caffeine and catechin content.
A review of several studies found that the combination of catechins and caffeine in tea surprisingly increased calorie burn by 102 calories a day, on average.
Small studies in men and women suggest that drinking oolong tea increases metabolic rate and promotes weight loss. What’s more, one study found that oolong tea increased calorie burn twice as much as green tea.
Drinking a few cups of green tea, oolong tea, or a combination of the two on a regular basis can promote fat loss and provide other beneficial health effects.
Summary: Oolong tea contains caffeine and catechins, which have been found to increase metabolic rate and promote fat loss.
11. Full-Fat Greek Yogurt
Full-fat Greek yogurt is extremely nutritious.
First of all, it is an excellent source of protein, potassium, and calcium.
Research suggests that high-protein dairy products may increase fat loss, protect muscle during weight loss, and help you feel full.
Also, yogurt that contains probiotics can help keep your gut healthy and can reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, such as constipation and bloating.
Full-fat Greek yogurt also contains conjugated linoleic acid, which appears to boost weight loss and fat burning in overweight and obese people, according to research including an extensive review of 18 studies.
Eating Greek yogurt regularly can provide a number of health benefits. But be sure to choose full-fat Greek yogurt, as nonfat and low-fat dairy products contain little or no conjugated linoleic acid.
Summary: Full-fat Greek yogurt may increase fat burning, reduce appetite, protect muscle mass during weight loss, and improve gut health.
Learn more about “Greek yogurt” in our article: Benefits of Greek yogurt .
Olive oil is one of the healthiest fats on earth.
Olive oil has been shown to lower triglycerides, increase HDL cholesterol, and stimulate the release of GLP-1, one of the hormones that helps maintain satiety.
What’s more, some studies have shown that olive oil can increase metabolic rate and increase fat loss.
In a small study conducted in 12 postmenopausal women with abdominal obesity, adding extra virgin olive oil as part of the meal significantly increased the number of calories the women burned over several hours.
To incorporate olive oil into your daily diet, drizzle a couple tablespoons on your salad or add to cooked foods.
Summary: Olive oil appears to reduce the risk of heart disease, promote feelings of fullness, and increase metabolic rate.
Learn more about “olive oil” in our article: Benefits of olive oil .
Despite what some supplement manufacturers may suggest, there is no safe “magic pill” that can help you burn hundreds of extra calories per day.
However, a number of foods and drinks can modestly increase your metabolic rate, in addition to providing other health benefits.
Including several of them in your daily diet can have effects that ultimately lead to fat loss and better overall health.
If you want to know other ways to burn abdominal fat, read our article: 6 steps to burn abdominal fat .