15 Fat-Burning Foods

While there's no magic bullet for weight loss, the following foods naturally increase your body's fat-burning potential.

By Karen Asp from readersdigest.com
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    1. Low-Fat Milk
    2. Low-Fat Yogurt
    3. Cheese

    Secret fat-burner: Calcium
    As it turns out, milk really does do a body good--as do yogurt and cheese! A review of more than 90 studies in the journal Nutrition Reviews revealed a strong link between high calcium intake and improved body composition.

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    4. Oats
    5. Barley

    Secret fat-burner: Fiber
    Enjoy a delicious barley side dish instead of white rice with dinner and you could be well on your way to shedding dangerous belly fat, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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    6. Green Tea

    Secret fat-burner: Catechins
    'Catechins increase metabolism and the rate at which the liver burns fat,' says Journal of Nutrition study author Kevin C. Maki, PhD. To reap those rewards, drink four to six cups of caffeinated green tea a day and log at least 180 minutes of exercise each week.

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    7. Eggs

    Secret fat-burner: Protein
    Protein helps with weight loss in a number of ways. First, your body uses more energy (think calories) to break down protein foods than it does to break down other foods. Protein also helps you hang onto muscle mass as you're losing weight, and since muscle burns more calories than fat, you want to keep as much of it as you can. Finally, protein dampens hunger better than carbohydrates do, says Donald K. Layman, PhD, the Journal of Nutrition study's lead researcher, adding that decreasing carbohydrates also helped the protein group lose weight.

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    8. Walnuts
    9. Almonds

    Secret fat-burner: 'Good' fats
    Plenty of studies point to nuts as a waist-friendly addition to your diet as long as you don't go overboard. Chalk it up to their fiber, their protein, and their 'good' fat, which may increase the body's sensitivity to insulin, aiding weight loss. Walnuts are one of the best non-fish sources of omega-3 fatty acids, and almonds provide an extra benefit in the form of bone-building calcium.

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    10. Salmon

    Secret fat-burner: Omega-3's
    Eating fat might sound like a crazy idea when you're trying to lose fat, but getting more omega-3 fatty acids from fatty fish like salmon could be just what the diet doctor ordered, according to a study in the British Journal of Nutrition. 'Although the exact mechanisms are unknown, omega-3 fatty acids reduce fat mass,' says Irene Munro, study author and researcher from the University of Newcastle in Newcastle, Australia. Other studies have found that omega-3 fatty acids make you feel less hungry and more satisfied up to two hours after eating a fatty fish meal. Aim to eat salmon or another oily fish, like mackerel, herring, or canned tuna, at least twice a week.

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    11. Apples
    12. Pears
    13. Sweet Peppers

    Secret fat-burner Flavonoids
    What do these three foods have in common? They all contain flavonoids, natural chemicals in plant foods that may have fat-fighting effects. Women who consumed the most flavonoids had significantly lower increases in body mass index over a 14-year period than women who ate the least, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 'Animal studies have shown that these flavonoids can increase energy [calorie] expenditure, increase glucose uptake into muscle, and increase fat burning,' says Laura Hughes, MSc, the study's lead investigator and a nutritional epidemiologist at Maastricht University in the Netherlands.

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    14. Flaxseed

    Secret fat-burner: Lignans
    These shiny, nutty-tasting seeds pack a secret weight loss weapon: compounds called lignans. Consumption of lignans in postmenopausal women was associated with lower body fat and body mass index, according to a study in the British Journal of Nutrition. Try grinding and adding a tablespoon of flaxseed each day to cereals, yogurt, or salad dressing.

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    15. Vinegar

    Secret fat-burner: Acids
    Researchers say vinegar turns on genes that produce enzymes that help the body break down fat. Interested in trying it? Slurp 15 milliliters (about a tablespoon) of vinegar daily, perhaps diluting it with milk or soda to make it less acidic and more palatable.

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