Enough has been written about what and how one must eat for healthy weight loss. However, there are some of us who’re doing it all right — eating the right food and exercising the right amount — but haven’t been able to lose any weight at all. For them, I present a list of fat burning foods that will speed up the burning of calories. But remember to eat these in moderation.
First, the science of it
Fat burning foods are rich in protein fibre and low in simple carbohydrates and fats. Protein, body’s building blocks, helps build muscle mass and improve immunity. When excessive carbohydrates are consumed they are converted to fat.
Protein-rich foods consume more energy to get digested compared to fats and carbohydrates. This is why they aid in weight loss and boost metabolism. Fibre-rich foods make you feel full faster and for a longer time.
Now, the list
Buckwheat: Also known as kuttu, this is a seed, not a grain. It has lower glycemic index than wheat and rice. It is also richer in protein than wheat, rice and maize are and its unique amino acid profile helps regulate blood sugar levels. It prevents rapid conversion of blood sugar to fat, which helps prevent chronic heart disease, high blood cholesterol and diabetes.
Beans: Beans feature along with poultry, meat, fish and eggs at the second rung of the food pyramid. This is because they are low in fat and sodium, and rich in proteins, complex carbohydrates and fibre.
They are especially good for diabetics and overweight people as they too rank low on the glycemic index scale. A cup of beans has 15 g fibre (recommended value is 25 g a day).
Sprouts: Germinated cereal and pulse is comparatively easier to digest. Sprouts also have higher amount of Vitamin C and B Complex, which are the nutrients that rev up the body’s metabolism and assist in detoxification. You can eat them in parathas, as a vegetable or even in dal. But, have them raw for maximum benefit.
Barley is a rich source of soluble and insoluble fibre. Soluble fibre helps the body metabolise fat, cholesterol and carbohydrates, thereby lowering blood cholesterol levels. Insoluble fibre — called roughage — promotes smooth bowel movement, which is a prerequisite for weight loss. Make your chapati from barley flour or prepare stew from the whole grain.
Nuts are concentrated sources of vitamin E, iron, calcium, selenium and essential fatty acids. Whenever you crave food, snack on a handful of nuts and they will keep you full. Just remember, moderation is the key.
Hot chillies have capsaicin, a compound which stimulates the release of stress hormones. It also boosts metabolism helps burn calories. But limit your intake to 2 a day, as they can also cause heart burn.
Low-fat dairy products:
People who consume a lot of dairy products burn more fat without putting on additional kilos. This is so, because dairy products contain a protein called casein that reduces hunger pangs.
Eggs have the best balance of amino acids which comes closest to human body’s requirements. Several researches have recommended eggs as ideal breakfast option. A breakfast rich in protein fires up the metabolism and boosts the energy levels for the day ahead. A good breakfast prevents the person from binging during lunch.
Dr Anjali Mukerjee is a nutritionist and founder of Health Total, a nutrition counselling centre