You have to eat fat to beat fatzjuzjaka/Shutterstock
While too much of the wrong fat (certain saturated fats in highly processed meats and trans fat found in some cookies and crackers) is bad for your health and waistline, a diet rich in the right fat—good unsaturated fats—can help both. (Check out these other 10 myths about fat that keep you from losing weight.) Good fats, like monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) in olive oil, nuts, and avocados have proven to be powerful reducers of belly fat. Other sources of good fat are the polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs); found in fish and its oil, and in many nuts and seeds, PUFAs help release fat, too. A Dutch study found that consumption of PUFAs led to a higher resting metabolic rate (the calories used just to live), as well as a greater DIT, or diet-induced calorie burn. PUFAs are also burned faster than saturated fats in the body. What’s more, fats help you feel full—they have 9 calories per gram compared to 4 for protein or carbs. So a small nibble of something yummy, like a handful of nuts or some peanut butter on whole wheat crackers, can help you feel full for hours. Find out how to tell if you need more “healthy” fats in your diet.
A daily dose of chocolate can trim your waistlineDe Repente/Shutterstock
If you’re like us, you welcome any new excuse to add more chocolate into your life. To release fat, here’s the trick: Go heavy on the cocoa and light on sugar. Cocoa contains more antioxidants than most foods and is good for so many things, including—when consumed in moderation—weight loss. In a June 2011 study from the Journal of Nutrition, researchers looked at the effect that antioxidants found in cocoa had on obese diabetic mice. Since a diabetic’s lifespan is, on average, seven years shorter, they were looking for any anti-aging promise that increasing dietary intake of this flavonoid might give. Their findings: The mice lived longer. The cocoa reduced degeneration of their aortic arteries, and it blunted fat deposition. Here’s more about how even just smelling dark chocolate can make you less hungry. To add more cocoa into your diet, buy unsweetened cocoa and add it to shakes, coffee, and other recipes. Learn more about the health benefits of chocolate.