The amount of people going to the gym on a regular basis has never been higher. The reasons why people go to a gym differ of course; some go to get better at their sport, others go for stress relief, but it’s obvious that most people go to keep on top of their body fat levels.
However, for most of us, the hard work we put in each week just doesn’t seem to be yielding the results we hoped for. Talk to 90% of people in your average local gym, and they’ll tell you that they are struggling to get to a body fat level they’ll be happy with.
After several months of running, squatting, benching and skipping, it is easy to give up.
The reason most people don’t see the results they’d like is because they haven’t paid enough attention to the most important aspect of any training regime: nutrition.
The Always Overlooked Importance of Nutrition
Whether you’re looking to build muscle, get fitter, or lose fat, the training is the easy part; nutrition is where things get tricky.
Going into the gym for 40 minutes, three times per week is not difficult if you are motivated enough. For most people, the gym is a fun, social place, and it’s obvious when you’ve worked hard enough.
But your diet is different.
Your diet is something which needs attention at every meal, every single day, for a very long time.
Getting your nutrition right requires planning, commitment, discipline, and money.
This is why so many people make basic mistakes when it comes to nutrition, which in turn is why so few people make the progress they thought they would.
If you’ve got your training on-point and the scale has stopped moving, then it’s almost certain that the problem lies with your nutrition.
Thankfully, there are some really easy ways that you can optimize your diet for burning fat. All you need to do is incorporate a few key foods into your diet.
Contrary to what many people believe, there are a number of foods that burn fat in and of themselves.
Sure, there are lots of foods out there that are over-hyped. The next “super-food” seems to come along every couple of months. But just because some people exaggerate the power of raspberry ketones, for example, doesn’t mean there aren’t foods which can genuinely help you lose body fat.
Listed below are our top 10 recommended foods for burning fat. Not all of them work in the same way, and some are much more potent than others. But one thing they all share is that they have been scientifically proven to help with fat loss.
By adding some of these foods into your regular diet, or by consuming more of the ones you already eat on a regular basis, you might finally start to see the scale moving in the right direction.
Top 10 Foods That Burn Fat
Unlike other lists of this kind, we’re only going to list foods that have been proven to burn fat through rigorous, scientific study. If we can’t find a research paper proving its fat burning credentials, then it isn’t on the list.
So let’s get started!
The health benefits of drinking green tea on a regular basis are well-known nowadays, but few people know of the fat burning potential of white tea. A study  published in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism in 2009 found that a concentrated white tea extract was able to both bring about lipolysis (fat burning to you and me).
Astoundingly, researchers also found that the white tea extract was able to prevent the formation of new fat cells, called adipocytes.
Tip: Bring some iced white tea to the gym with you to drink while you work-out.
Recipe: Blueberry White Tea
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that spinach is listed here as a food known to burn fat. But what might be surprising is just how comprehensive a fat burner spinach turns out to be.
For instance, take a look at this study  which looked at thylakoid-rich spinach extract and its effect on appetite and dieting success.
The results were fairly conclusive: “Compared to placebo, intake of thylakoids significantly reduced hunger (21% reduction), increased satiety (14% increase), reduced cravings for all snacks and sweets during the day (36% reduction), as well as cravings for salty (30%); sweet (38%); and sweet-and-fat (36%) snacks, respectively, and decreased subjective liking for sweet (28% reduction).”
If you struggle with food cravings while trying to lose weight, spinach could be a cheap, healthy, effective solution.
Tip: Try adding a few handfuls of spinach to your post workout smoothie.
Recipe: Garlic Sauteed Spinach
Coconut oil is a very popular product right now, and with very good reason. It is thought to help with everything from joint health to heart health. Most importantly for us, it is also known to enhance fat loss .
Unlike other oils, coconut oil is composed predominantly of fatty acids called medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs. And unlike other fatty acids, these MCTs can be used directly by cells for fuel. Any fat MCTs that aren’t used are converted into ketones in the liver and used by the brain for fuel. Available studies show that MCTs are not readily stored as fat.
Tip: Swapping sunflower oil for coconut oil can be a good first step to accelerating your rate of fat loss.
Recipe: Crispy Coconut Waffles
We doubt you’ve heard beans recommended as a food that burns fat before, but hear us out. A recent study  found that eating just 3/4 of a cup of pulses (black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, etc) was linked to greater weight loss than control.
While the results were modest, the trial lasted for only 6 weeks, and no effort was made to interfere in the diet of participants in any other way. Participants kept eating whatever else they wanted through the day, but the group eating 3/4 of a cup of legumes lost more weight on average.
Tip: Replace fatty beef in your recipes with black beans and kidney beans. Fried or stewed, they’re delicious, filling, and they’ll help blast away body fat.
Recipe: Black Bean Chili
Green coffee beans aren’t as exotic as they sound. They are simply coffee beans in their raw, un-roasted form. The coffee beans we are all familiar with, the ones used to make our morning drinks, are green coffee beans which have been roasted.
So why is green coffee bean thought to burn fat?
Green coffee beans contain a high concentration of a compound called chlorogenic acid. Much of this stuff is denatured during the roasting process, so it is only found in regular coffee in tiny amounts.
Well, chlorogenic acid turns out to be an incredibly effective, scientifically-proven fat burner . This stuff has been shown time and again to help people lose body fat at a significant rate.
More research is needed on how chlorogenic works exactly, but there is little doubt that it works primarily by affecting insulin secretion.
Tip: Try having a cup of coffee made from un-roasted beans in the morning instead of your usual cup of Java.
Of all of the foods that burn fat listed here, garlic is perhaps the most under-rated. Regular garlic consumption is linked to a wide range of health benefits, but a growing number of studies are finding that garlic’s most impressive property may be its ability to help with fat loss.
This study  found that a compound found in abundance in garlic, allicin, was able to prevent weight gain in mice fed a high sugar diet. It seems that garlic is most useful in preventing weight gain at the end of a diet, when over-eating is most common. As the study authors noted: “The difficulty of preventing weight gain after reaching the nadir of weight loss underscores the practical value of allicin for weight control.”
Tip: Buy some fresh garlic and cook some into your post-workout meal.
Recipe: Easy Garlic Kale
Another food known to help prevent rapid weight gain after dieting is grapefruit. A study  published in 2014 found that mice fed a high fat diet and large quantities of grapefruit juice experienced an 18.4% drop in body weight compared to mice fed the same diet without the grapefruit juice.
The same study also found that grapefruit juice was able to induce weight loss and an improvement in insulin sensitivity after the mice had already reached obesity.
So grapefruit juice seems to be both a powerful and versatile weapon in your weight loss arsenal. Whether you’ve just finished dieting and worried about the ‘yo-yo’ effect, or you’re overweight and want to maximize your rate of fat loss, grapefruit juice might be able to help.
Tip: If you have an intense workout coming up, trying sipping grapefruit juice throughout. Or try squeezing some fresh grapefruit juice into your water bottle before heading to the gym.
Recipe: Grapefruit Green Smoothie
Pumpkin seeds don’t have any direct fat burning properties of their own. Yet they are still a powerful tool for anyone looking to speed up their rate of fat loss.
That’s because pumpkin seeds can only be described as “nutritional goldmines  of benefits related to fat loss.
Perhaps the most profound of these is how dark chocolate can help beat food cravings.
Dark chocolate gives us one of the things which makes so many of us crave chocolate so strongly: phenylethylamine  . Yet it doesn’t have the same sugar content as milk chocolate.
Defeating cravings for our favorite foods can be the biggest obstacle to a successful diet. If you have a sweet tooth, indulging in some dark chocolate can help keep you on track.
Tip: Keep one bar of extra dark, low-sugar chocolate in the house. If you’re hit with a serious Hershey’s craving, just break off a small square and enjoy it slowly.
Recipe: Dark Chocolate Almond Bars
Whenever people hear that chili peppers can help you lose fat, they almost always understand why without needing it explained to them. It is intuitively obvious, assuming you’ve eaten spicy food before.
Chili peppers contain an oil called capsaicin. It is an irritant, which is why we get such a glorious (or horrendous, depending on perspective) burning sensation when we eat chili peppers.
Well, one thing that also happens when we consume capsaicin is that our body temperature increases. When our body temperature goes up, our body needs to work harder to keep us cool. It therefore expends more energy regulating our core temperature, and in expending more energy, it uses up more calories. Simple.
Don’t just take our word for it though. Check out this study , in which researchers examined capsaicin’s relationship with fat oxidation and energy expenditure.
Tip: There’s no need to go crazy here, but try introducing a few spicy meals per week. Whatever you make, make it with fresh chili to get all the capsaicin you can.
Recipe: Chili Shrimp
|||^||BioMed Central: White Tea extract induces lipolytic activity and inhibits adipogenesis in human subcutaneous (pre)-adipocytes|
|||^||The National Center of Biotechnology Information: Consumption of thylakoid-rich spinach extract reduces hunger, increases satiety and reduces cravings for palatable food in overweight women|
|||^||Authority Nutrition: How Coconut Oil Can Help You Lose Weight and Belly Fat|
|||^||Science Daily: Eating beans, peas, chickpeas or lentils may help lose weight and keep it off|
|||^||Fat Burners Digest: Do Green Coffee Beans Help With Fat Loss|
|||^||The National Center of Biotechnology Information: The effects of allicin on weight in fructose-induced hyperinsulinemic, hyperlipidemic, hypertensive rats|
|||^||PLOS: Consumption of Clarified Grapefruit Juice Ameliorates High-Fat Diet Induced Insulin Resistance and Weight Gain in Mice|
|||^||The World’s Healthiest Food: Pumpkin Seeds“.|
Pumpkin seeds deliver sizable amounts of key minerals and vitamins with minimal calories. Just 100g of pumpkin seeds will give you over 100% of your RDI of zinc and magnesium, a big helping of omega-3 fatty acids, almost 20g of protein, lots of iron, and all for about 350 calories.
Tip: Snack on pumpkin seeds if you struggle with grazing throughout the day. Not only will the fats and protein help fill you up, but you’ll be getting more nutrients than you will snacking on chips!
Recipe: Spiced Pumpkin Seeds
Dark chocolate has always been touted as a food that burns fat, but this isn’t just hype; there is a great deal of evidence to back this claim up.
It may surprise you to learn that dark chocolate is associated with a wide range ((Chron: The Effect of Dark Chocolate for Reducing Weight
|||^||Science Focus: Why does chocolate make us happy?|
|||^||The National Center of Biotechnology Information: Acute Effects of Capsaicin on Energy Expenditure and Fat Oxidation in Negative Energy Balance|