It sounds counterintuitive, but research supports the notion that what you eat can make you not only fat but also lean.
Here are five foods known to fight fat.
- Almonds. These fiber-rich nuts contain magnesium, potassium, calcium, vitamin E, and healthy fats. They aren't a low-calorie food, but they are nutrient-dense. They make you feel full, and can be part of a weight-loss plan when eaten in moderation.
- Chia. One ounce of this seed delivers about 40 percent of the daily recommended amount of fiber. Fiber is a dieter's friend, as it slows digestion and makes you feel full so you eat less. Add chia to your diet gradually. Like all high-fiber foods, it can cause bloating or gas if you're not used to eating it.
- Chili peppers. These hot peppers contain capsaicin, a phytochemical that raises your metabolic rate and helps you burn more calories. You can add cayenne pepper to foods, but if you don't like the heat, capsaicin can be taken as a supplement.
- Green tea. Natural substances in green tea called catechins stimulate the body to burn calories. Green tea may also lower LDL cholesterol. If the four-plus daily cups recommended by researchers are not your cup of tea, take green tea extract supplements.
- Whey protein. Researchers found that people who consumed whey protein had lower blood levels of ghrelin, a hormone that helps regulate food intake because it makes you feel fuller. Drinking whey protein is also linked to decreased carb intake. Pick a product low in calories and fat.
"Almonds a Healthy Snack Substitute for Dieters" by Natasja Sheriff, Reuters Health, www.reuters.com, 7/19/12
"The Effects of Catechin-Rich Teas and Caffeine on Energy Expenditure and Fat Oxidation . . ." by R. Hursel et al., Obes Rev, 7/11
"Thermogenic Ingredients and Body Weight Regulation" by R. Hursel and M. S. Westerterp-Plantenga, Int J Obes (London), 4/10
"Whey Protein May Be Helpful for Weight Loss" by Brenda Goodman, www.webmd.com, 7/15/11