Apples – Apples are a great slow-digesting carb with numerous beneficial antioxidants. One group of compounds known as apple polyphenols has been found to boost muscle strength, endurance, and even fat loss, especially around the abs. While apple polyphenols appear to directly improve the body’s ability to burn fat while limiting fat production and storage, the boost in endurance and strength is helpful as well, allowing you to train longer and harder.
Grapefruit – A study from the Scripps Clinic (San Diego) found that men who ate half a grapefruit or drank 8 ounces of grapefruit juice three times a day lost an average of 4 pounds in 12 weeks, without changing their diet. The effect is likely due to grapefruit’s ability to lower insulin levels, thereby limiting fat storage. To test the effects yourself, try regularly adding half a grapefruit to a few of your daily meals.
Eggs – Eggs are packed with protein and have been shown to promote muscle strength and mass. Research shows that subjects consuming eggs for breakfast not only eat fewer calories throughout the day but also lose significantly more body fat. I recommend eating eggs for breakfast daily.
Fat – Certain fats—particularly omega-3s—do not lead to fat gain and can actually promote fat loss. Eating fat to lose fat seems counterintuitive, but if by choosing fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, or trout as well as other healthy fat sources such as olive oil, peanut butter, and walnuts, you can actually boost your fat loss.
Protein – A high-protein diet not only promotes hypertrophy (muscle growth) but also enhances fat loss. Researchers at Skidmore College found that men who followed a high-protein diet—40% of total daily calories from protein—for eight weeks lost more body fat than those following a low-fat/high-carb diet.
Nuts – A study from Loma Linda University reported that subjects following a low-calorie, higher-fat diet (40% of total calories from fat)—with the majority of fat coming from almonds—lost significantly more body fat and abdominal fat in 24 weeks than subjects consuming the same calories but more carbs and less fat.
Green Tea – The main ingredient in green tea, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), inhibits the enzyme that normally breaks down the neurohormone norepinephrine. Norepinephrine keeps the metabolic rate up, so preventing its breakdown helps you burn more calories throughout the day.
Black Tea – Green, oolong, and black teas all come from the same plant, but different processing causes black and oolong teas to lose their green color and turn either brown or black. Black tea also aids fat loss: Researchers from University College London found that drinking black tea regularly can reduce levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that encourages fat storage especially around the midsection.
Avocados – Avocados are full of monounsaturated fat, which isn’t usually stored as body fat. They also contain mannoheptulose, a sugar that blunts insulin release and enhances calcium absorption. Keeping insulin low and getting plenty of calcium is critical for encouraging fat loss. Try adding avocado to salads and sandwiches.
Water – Did you know that approximately 66% of the human body consists of water? It’s true. The amount of water in the body of an average adult would fill almost 19 two-liter bottles. German researchers have shown that drinking about 2 cups of cold water can temporarily boost metabolic rate by roughly 30%. The effect appears to be mainly due to an increase in norepinephrine.
Fish Oil – As mentioned in tip No. 5, the essential omega-3 fats in fish oil promote fat loss, which is enhanced with exercise. This is also true for fish-oil supplements containing omega-3 fats. Take 1–2g of fish oil at breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Hot Peppers – Hot peppers contain the active ingredient capsaicin, a chemical that has been shown to promote calorie burning at rest as well as reduce hunger and food intake. Its effects are particularly effective when paired with caffeine—in fact, research shows that the pair can significantly boost fat burning during exercise. If you can’t stand the heat, consider taking a supplement that contains capsaicin instead.