13 Fat Releasing Foods to Lose Weight Fast

Liz Vaccariello, author of The Digest Diet, explains how you can lose weight fast by eating foods you already shop for, as certain foods, actions, and activities can gently shift your body into fat release mode.

By Liz Vaccariello
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    1. Protein

    I’m fond of this macronutrient powerhouse for so many reasons: It promotes healthy skin, hair, nails, bones, and muscle. It’s also a fabulous weight-loss aid, according to a 2005 study from Arizona State University. Protein increased satiety (satisfaction and feelings of fullness) and increased after-meal calorie burn. In other words, eating protein-rich meals, rather than higher-carbohydrate ones, leads to more satisfaction, less hunger, and more fat burn. I love that: three benefits in one. Earlier research also found that people following higher-protein diets generally decrease their food intake by an average of 10 percent (about 200 calories).

    Learn more about The Digest Diet »

    2. Vitamin C

    You’ve heard for years to stock up on your C to fend off colds, but are you aware of the vitamin’s reputation as a weight-loss aid? Research suggests that the bodies of folks who are deficient in vitamin C cling more stubbornly to fat. In 2008, researchers in Quebec reviewed a stack of studies to find what they called “unsuspected determinants of obesity.”

    Their review linked less-than-ideal intakes of particular micronutrients to an increased likelihood of being overweight. They identified deficiencies in vitamin C, zinc, magnesium, and vitamin E as risk factors for having a higher percentage of body fat and belly fat.

    Learn more about The Digest Diet »

    3. Honey

    This natural sweetener has also shown great promise in animal studies for reducing weight gain and body fat when substituted for sugar. Known to have antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties, honey boasts wide-ranging health benefits. It may improve blood sugar control and immunity, and it’s an effective cough suppressant.

    Learn more about The Digest Diet »

    Reader's Digest Publication

    4. Cocoa

    If you’re like me, you welcome any new excuse to add more chocolate to your life. Cocoa contains more phenolic antioxidants than most foods. Just look at this list of benefits from a recent study done at the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center by David L. Katz, MD, and his colleagues: “Cocoa can protect nerves from injury and inflammation, protect the skin from oxidative damage from UV radiation … and have beneficial effects on satiety, cognitive function, and mood.”

    Learn more about The Digest Diet »

    5. Vinegar

    The surprise here? The vinegar that comes along for the ride in salad dressing also helps you feel full. Research has shown that vinegar can lessen the glycemic effect of a meal (meaning it tends not to spike your blood sugar), which has been linked to satiety that reduces food intake. Vinegar may also prevent body-fat accumulation, according to a 2009 animal study by Japanese researchers. Mice that were fed acetic acid, the main component of vinegar, for six weeks accumulated less body fat.

    Learn more about The Digest Diet »

    6. Fiber

    Throughout the years, various weight-loss researchers have recommended starting a meal with a salad to stave off hunger and ensure that you don’t overeat. But why does this work exactly? One reason is that salads are a great source of fiber: lettuce greens, carrots, tomatoes, and the like all have plenty of this macronutrient. Fiber’s effects on increasing feelings of satiety are well documented.

    Whether you eat fiber and vinegar together or not, know that they are great tools to have on hand whenever you feel the need to tame your appetite and turn on fat burning controls. If you’re not a fan of salad, there are plenty of other sources.

    Learn more about The Digest Diet »

    7. Coconut Oil, 8. PUFAs, and 9. MUFAs

    Coconut Oil
    While The Digest Diet recommends keeping saturated fat intake to under 10 percent of total calories, one source sits at the top of the “should enjoy” list: coconut oil.

    Why? This sweet, rich oil was shown to do some pretty nifty things for abdominally obese women in a 2009 study out of Brazil, including decreasing their waist circumference, increasing beneficial HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol and improving the ratio of “bad” LDL (low-density lipoprotein) to “good” HDL cholesterol. And in populations where coconut oil is commonly eaten, high cholesterol levels and heart disease are not common.

    MUFAs
    In 2006, I uncovered exciting research suggesting that monounsaturated fatty acids, or MUFAs, helped people store less belly fat. Eating a diet rich in olives, olive oil, nuts and seeds, dark chocolate, and avocado has kept my belly lean and my energy up for years! These healthy fats are a mainstay of my diet.

    PUFAs
    During my dive into the current research, I came across a small study from the Netherlands that suggests we should also enjoy polyunsaturated fatty acids, or PUFAs, found in fish and in many nuts and seeds. In this study, consumption of a high ratio of PUFAs to saturated fats led to a higher resting metabolism, as well as a greater diet-induced calorie burn.

    But one clarification: Our focus will be primarily on long-chain n-3 PUFAs, commonly known as omega-3s. Researchers theorize that the weight-loss benefits of omega-3s may be a result of their anti-inflammatory effects (inflammation in the body has been strongly linked to obesity). I also love the fact that these healthy fats are associated with protection from cardiovascular disease and enhanced mood.

    Learn more about The Digest Diet »

    10. Resveratrol

    So many people have asked me if it’s OK to have a drink when trying to lose weight. Listen up, friends, as this glass is for you! 

    Many studies show that a small glass of wine a day is good for your health. Researchers credit the anti­aging properties of resveratrol (found in red grapes, mulberries, and peanuts) in red wine. Now cutting-edge research suggests this antioxidant is a fat releaser too. 

    In one large study of more than 19,000 women of normal weight, light to moderate drinkers had less weight gain and less risk of becoming overweight than those who drank no alcohol. In several animal studies, researchers have demonstrated that moderate alcohol consumption does not promote weight gain.

    And in another separate animal study done in 2006, researchers found that resveratrol improved exercise endurance as well as protected against obesity and insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes.

    Learn more about The Digest Diet »

    Reader's Digest Publication

    11. Calcium and 12. Dairy

    Calcium
    Your mom told you to drink your milk because its calcium was good for your bones. What she probably didn’t know: That same calcium also helps control your hunger. Research shows that people who don’t consume enough of this bone-building mineral have a greater fat mass and less control of their appetite—two things The Digest Diet can help you reverse.

    Dairy
    Yes, dairy is an excellent source of calcium, but I’ve singled it out because studies have found that dairy sources of calcium are markedly more effective in accelerating fat loss than other sources. Researchers theorize that other ingredients in dairy act synergistically with the calcium. (I love the two-for-one nature of this fat releaser!)

    In one study out of the University of Tennessee, researchers showed that eating three servings of dairy daily significantly reduced body fat in obese subjects. And if subjects restricted calories while consuming the same dairy servings, fat and weight loss accelerated.

    There’s more! A great study done in 2010 indicated that drinking fat-free milk immediately after whole-body resistance training and again one hour after the workout allowed participants to increase fat loss, gain greater muscle and strength, and strengthen bones by reducing bone cell turnover. Drink milk and get all these amazing benefits? Sign me up!

    Learn more about The Digest Diet »

    13. Quinoa

    I’m keen on quinoa for many reasons: This ancient grain is a nutritional powerhouse, chock-full of protein, amino acids, phytosterols, and vitamin E. A study published in 2011 points to its promise as a fat inhibitor. Animals fed supplements containing a quinoa-seed extract had less body fat, lower body weight, and decreased appetite. Also, quinoa is versatile and can be made into crackers, side dishes, and hot cereals.

    Learn more about The Digest Diet »

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    Your Comments

    • Guest@1

      There is nothing new here at all– in fact this list, in one form or another, has been around for at least 10 years. Yawn. And some of these “fat releasing” foods (that’s a good one– we can almost picture it!)  will actually increase weight. People already know how to lose weight. However, we’ve been sold on the idea that it’s so difficult and “scientific” –and we couldn’t possibly think for ourselves– that weight reduction gurus and businesses have rallied around the problem and are chortling all the way to the bank.

      We already know to trade in the Twinkies, Ho-Ho’s and hot wings for real food in reasonable portions. It’s not science. We don’t need a ton of studies to prove that fresh food is healthier. It’s pretty simple. We wouldn’t feed a race horse poor food and expect it to run well or even live long. We should respect ourselves and care for our bodies just as much as we would a prized animal.

      And why do so-called nutritionists and diet divas continue to pimp wine and chocolate? Because they’re pretty sure that’s what we want to hear and it sells. What’s not to love about a “plan” that includes booze and chocolate? But if we look at the actual studies behind these ideas that are so frequently employed to sell us yet another plan, there’s not much to rave about.

      For instance, we’d have to drink about 30 bottles of red wine (Bordeaux, specifically) every day to get any benefit noted in the study. Thanks for telling us the truth about that one! And should we conveniently forget that that even one glass of wine delays food digestion? How about that it also impairs judgement? Ever see anyone grazing on cheese with that wine? Well, “dairy” is on the list, so….. Yes, but a pound?

      And while honey is a natural sweetener, it will add weight just as easily as sugar if too much is consumed. Pooh had a tummy on him– and it was the honey!  He ate the stuff like everyday was his birthday!

      Many people are allergic to dairy and to chocolate and react violently. Others are sensitive to them and will “bloat” and retain water and/or will have diarrhea just from consuming these products. That goes for grains as well. We’re all different. And food cravings are often an indication of food problems. Just as alcoholics crave booze, people with sugar problems crave all things made with sugar, for example. It’s still simple.

      So spare us the list of singled out “winners.” Fresh, unprocessed, “un-fried” food, a little observation about what we eat and how we react to our food choices are all that’s needed. Simple. And the portion thing will take care of itself. Once the body no longer believes it’s starving or in a state of emergency, it finds balance.

      I challenge Reader’s Digest to come up with a fresh approach on a topic which plagues so many people. Obviously “the miracle plans” don’t work…..

    • Guest@1

      There is nothing new here at all– in fact this list, in one form or another, has been around for at least 10 years. Yawn. And some of these “fat releasing” foods (that’s a good one– we can almost picture it!)  will actually increase weight. People already know how to lose weight. However, we’ve been sold on the idea that it’s so difficult and “scientific” –and we couldn’t possibly think for ourselves– that weight reduction gurus and businesses have rallied around the problem and are chortling all the way to the bank.

      We already know to trade in the Twinkies, Ho-Ho’s and hot wings for real food in reasonable portions. It’s not science. We don’t need a ton of studies to prove that fresh food is healthier. It’s pretty simple. We wouldn’t feed a race horse poor food and expect it to run well or even live long. We should respect ourselves and care for our bodies just as much as we would a prized animal.

      And why do so-called nutritionists and diet divas continue to pimp wine and chocolate? Because they’re pretty sure that’s what we want to hear and it sells. What’s not to love about a “plan” that includes booze and chocolate? But if we look at the actual studies behind these ideas that are so frequently employed to sell us yet another plan, there’s not much to rave about.

      For instance, we’d have to drink about 30 bottles of red wine (Bordeaux, specifically) every day to get any benefit noted in the study. Thanks for telling us the truth about that one! And should we conveniently forget that that even one glass of wine delays food digestion? How about that it also impairs judgement? Ever see anyone grazing on cheese with that wine? Well, “dairy” is on the list, so….. Yes, but a pound?

      And while honey is a natural sweetener, it will add weight just as easily as sugar if too much is consumed. Pooh had a tummy on him– and it was the honey!  He ate the stuff like everyday was his birthday!

      Many people are allergic to dairy and to chocolate and react violently. Others are sensitive to them and will “bloat” and retain water and/or will have diarrhea just from consuming these products. That goes for grains as well. We’re all different. And food cravings are often an indication of food problems. Just as alcoholics crave booze, people with sugar problems crave all things made with sugar, for example. It’s still simple.

      So spare us the list of singled out “winners.” Fresh, unprocessed, “un-fried” food, a little observation about what we eat and how we react to our food choices are all that’s needed. Simple. And the portion thing will take care of itself. Once the body no longer believes it’s starving or in a state of emergency, it finds balance.

      I challenge Reader’s Digest to come up with a fresh approach on a topic which plagues so many people. Obviously “the miracle plans” don’t work…..

    • Struggler

      So – what if you do and eat all these things, and are STILL not losing any flab ???
      And tough if you happen to have a milk allergy, as I do!  Dairy makes my eczema worse, gives me too much chest and nasal mucus, and always shows up as the number 1 No-No if I have allergy blood tests….
      Very depressing at times!

    • Pulliamlauren

      the more antioxidents you eat the more it allows your body to use the oxygen in a healthier way thus the name antioxidents I love walnuts olive oil tomato sauce bilberry grapeseed and the winner pycnogenol its says it helps you prolong your life I think if your body recieves these all day in supplements or food you are really less hungry and can most defintly sleep better

    • AbuAli

      Dairy?????
      I thought by now the whole world knows that dairy products contribute to LOSS OF CALCIUM…
      Please re-check your facts.
      Ali AbuAli

    • VeganMomma

      I’m so disappointed that your article pushes dairy–that is SO bad for you. Someone must have the NDC in their pockets $.

      • Gray

         I am disappointed in your narrow minded thinking. Take your veganism somewhere else. Please.

      • Gray

         I am disappointed in your narrow minded thinking. Take your veganism somewhere else. Please.

    • ktclayton

      Liz: Good information. Quick note: you should have used the word “poring” rather than “pouring” in the following sentence:
       I remember pouring over the astonishing research on MUFAs (monounsaturated fatty acids) forFlat Belly Diet! and feeling so excited that I had stumbled upon a nutrient that helped the body shed fat. 

    • Masoud Gholizadeh62

      Hi my name’s Masoud, an English teacher from Iran, I’ve been following you for at least 8 years since I started to study English seriously and eversince I’ve been buying and reading the magazine, and I’ve always taken it into my classes and introduced it to my students. with your amazing and profound magazine full of knowledge, art, fiction and fun this language journey has been much more exciting and rewarding both to me and all my students throughout my teaching career; so i’m really grateful for all the efforts and energy you all have put to deliver one of the best social magazines ever ,however, it has never stopped to intrigue me why despite years of writing and talking about ways of losing weight, and thousands of “13 Ways or Things..” you’re still keeping it up and still offering the same stereotyped and common knowledge pieces of advice and tips! yet it’s mysteriously surprising that  we can’t see the slightest change in the public eating habits or the smallest drop in obesity rates or faintest decline in number of diabetes, heart, blood pressure and other patients. Don’t you think it’s high time you gave this a second thought and had a change of strategy or at least adopted a newer and more up-to-date and creative way of addressing the issue based on a genuine need analysis or a thorough study of how to develop a health care culture instead of prescribing short time impractical health advice and tips!? 
      Best Wishes!
      Masoud

    • Masoud Gholizadeh62

      Hi my name’s Masoud, an English teacher from Iran, I’ve been following you for at least 8 years since I started to study English seriously and eversince I’ve been buying and reading the magazine, and I’ve always taken it into my classes and introduced it to my students. with your amazing and profound magazine full of knowledge, art, fiction and fun this language journey has been much more exciting and rewarding both to me and all my students throughout my teaching career; so i’m really grateful for all the efforts and energy you all have put to deliver one of the best social magazines ever ,however, it has never stopped to intrigue me why despite years of writing and talking about ways of losing weight, and thousands of “13 Ways or Things..” you’re still keeping it up and still offering the same stereotyped and common knowledge pieces of advice and tips! yet it’s mysteriously surprising that  we can’t see the slightest change in the public eating habits or the smallest drop in obesity rates or faintest decline in number of diabetes, heart, blood pressure and other patients. Don’t you think it’s high time you gave this a second thought and had a change of strategy or at least adopted a newer and more up-to-date and creative way of addressing the issue based on a genuine need analysis or a thorough study of how to develop a health care culture instead of prescribing short time impractical health advice and tips!? 
      Best Wishes!
      Masoud

      • applecreeker

        Do you not understand the DIGEST part of the periodical? You want thorough, read the medical journals or Science.

        • Cemmun73

          you are an ignorant jerk! Why don’t you get an education and try traveling out of your home time sometime; you just may learn something about the world!

          • ana

            cemmun – this is an extremely agressive and unnecessary comment. Why resort to name calling.

          • Disgruntled52

            How rude. It is you who are ignorant, sir.

      • Sam

        Iran!!!!!! Have you got the Internet over there???

        • Lma3

          I agree Masoud Gholizadeh62 and I live in the US…I ger RD on my computer and it really is the same info over and over.

        • Elyse Worrell

          sigh… the intelligence of some people never ceases to amaze me.

        • Elyse Worrell

          sigh… the intelligence of some people never ceases to amaze me.

        • Elyse Worrell

          sigh… the intelligence of some people never ceases to amaze me.

        • Nathalie

          What? Are you living under a rock?

        • Aggiehoffer

           I do not think that ws  nice comment..  from Sam as it shows  his lack of knowledge.
          And,  furthermore, it is condescending.

          • ana

            yes and very rude.

        • Aggiehoffer

           I do not think that ws  nice comment..  from Sam as it shows  his lack of knowledge.
          And,  furthermore, it is condescending.

        • Kaos13al

          YOU’RE A RACIST IDIOT…HOW THE HELL DO YOU THINK HE WAS ABLE TO POST WITHOUT THE INTERNET….MASOUD, NOT ALL AMERICANS ARE AS DUMB AS SAM (CONSIDER THE 3 WHO “LIKED” SAM TO BE A STUPID AS SAM)…WE DEEPLY APOLOGIZE FOR HIM & THEM…BEST WISHES TO YOU & YOUR TEACHING…ALinSTL

        • gduf

          Wow!!! Do you think the people in every country other than USA are cavemen or something?? Talk about ignorance. Do YOU have internet? Maybe do some research before TRYING to insult an educated man. What is even funnier is you asking –  ”Have you got the Internet over there???” He is an English teacher, if your going to try and insult him at least use proper grammar.

          • Amicca

            Ummm – you’re.

          • http://www.facebook.com/maryrosenavoa Mary Rose Rodriguez Navoa

            well said buddy :) hahahahha

          • KimmyD

            *You’re*
            At least use proper grammar if you’re going to point out someone else’s mistakes.
            Pretty sure the original poster was making an attempt at humor…kinda like when we ask people from TN or AR “Do any of y’all even wear shoes?” (I live/work in both, so trust me, I come from a long line of rednecks….but even I can recognize humor & sarcasm.)

          • anna

            I agree to you.

        • Cemmun73

          Are you stupid? You probably have never studied history in high school. Otherwise you would know that the Middle East, Asia and Mexico were already higher functioning civilations than the anglo-saxons ever were. You should think (if that is possible for you to do) how dumb your remark looks to the whold world!

          • http://www.facebook.com/robert.schneider3 Robert Schneider

            The why are Arabs and wetbacks lowlifes today?

            • David Kessel

              Arab countries live better than we do. I lived in Saudi and I was so jealous! And Mexicans also live better than we do- nice food, nice girls. they are much happier than we are.

            • Eric Blair

              TAKE THAT TEST AGAIN AFTER YOU GET BACK ON THE MEDS. WOW?

            • anna.

              I am really Agree to that.

          • Richard

            Maybe some people did sleep during History but it appears you never reached high school, Cemmun73….

        • Disgusted

          You think you’re funny… don’t you think it’s high time you got out of the cave you’re living in?

        • David Kessel

          I think u are joking. Or you probably trolling.

          • Eric Blair

            Bacon will make you well.

        • Persia The Great

          It’s a shame,
          when long long ago my fathers in ancient Iran (called Great Persia) were the sole emperor of more than 50 percent of those day’s world, constructing a great civilization, you and your grand grand- fathers were living up on trees!

        • ned

          they got it all in Iran better than here.

      • Susie

        The Digest is doing the right thing in providing good advice.  It’s the people who aren’t.  The people decide what they will eat and if they will follow the advice.  The Digest can’t do anything about that.

      • Helenames7

        Masoud   You sound like jibberjabber!

      • Donna

        Yes Masoud.  You are right!  The American society, medical or otherwise,  only and always treats the symptoms of any malady, but not the cause.  It is BIG Business for pharmaceutical companies to sell useless and dangerous medicines, usually with many side effects, to the public…….so that they can fill their coffers with ‘gold’ at the peoples expense.  And weight loss is BIG, very BIG business and extremely profitable.  Natural and wholesome food has the answer, but too many people want faster results, they can’t believe that only certain foods can help them to lose weight…….so then, they rely on all these dangerous drugs to do the job for them, and still they remain fat or lose weight and then gain it all back.

        • KimmyD

          One reason supplements are so widely pushed is because the people demand them–folks would rather take a “magic pill” than doing anything themselves.
          If you only knew how many get pissed off because they can’t have the antibiotics *they* think they should have for their cold or other virus…and don’t bother telling them antibiotics don’t treat viruses & only lead to the development & new & more deadly strains of multi-drug resistant bacteria.

          • redbarron

            Very Intelligent Statement. These other fools on here Have turned this debate into a Hateful Racial Commentary! It’s embarrassing and Sad For the United States and We Do this all the time.We need to stick with the issues at hand and not make it a personal vendetta towards individuals based on their race.

            • thewoodsplitter

              I agree 100% redbarron! The way to lose weight is eat less and exercise more. People want a pill to do the job they are not willing to do! We have become a nation of fat, lazy and unfortunately ignorant people. The racial slurs and bigotry are all uncalled for. SAD! Each of us need to start reform in our own lives and hearts for anything to work! A healthy lifestyle is a great place to begin!

        • Redbarron

          Excellent, Very Well Put!

      • Ca1160

        These are only helpful for the small percentage of folks who are actually committed and interested in weight loss. With so much mis-information out there, and years of eating all the wrong things, it helps us form better eating habits which ‘keep the weight off.” I agree with you, but little gains are better than none (wt loss to date: 17 pounds, 20 more to go!!!)

      • elle

        You are right!  Dieting and exercising doesn’t work, we try something else.

        Shine responsibily

        • thewoodsplitter

          Most people do not stick with a changed lifestyle long enough to give losing a chance. They want to lose it fast. It didn’t get on the body fast. It will take changing habits and sticking with it from now on! Walk, swim, workout or whatever it takes but make small changes and baby steps to begin the strengthening endurance habit.

      • Tracyraven

        Well said !

      • hansah ashu

        if you have made so much of researches could’nt you please email me some of the easy tips to lose weight at home.

      • ana

        It’s what works for them and their readers. Perhaps it’s no longer for you.

    • ?hyjhgjghkhjklhjk

      I can’t believe that honey helps lose weight. Honey made poop fat and can’t get out of rabbit’s hole.

      • applecreeker

        Honey IS poop, sort of. It is a secretion from the bee, but not excrement. Think of it as refined sugar, as it also has a natural preservative. Eat enough and it will make you smart enough to check your replies for spelling errors!

        • john Dyson

          Honey is not poop it is the hardwork of all the worker bees. It is just plant nectar, The bees collect it day and night visiting more than millions of Flowers.

      • applecreeker

        Honey IS poop, sort of. It is a secretion from the bee, but not excrement. Think of it as refined sugar, as it also has a natural preservative. Eat enough and it will make you smart enough to check your replies for spelling errors!

      • Shiru 7034

        honey with lime and like warm water helps in loosing wight…lime acts as fat cutter

      • Shiru 7034

        honey with lime and like warm water helps in loosing wight…lime acts as fat cutter

        • Rchelle

          and lemon as well…

      • Susie

        *Pooh* is a bear and bears are naturally round.  They aren’t meant to be slim and trim like a deer.  They are made to store fat for the winter; even with eating lots of berries & such.  If we ate like bears, we’d probably be thin.

      • Disgruntled52

        Silly Billy. It’s Pooh NOT Poop, although admittedly they sound the same thing, come to think of it. LOL