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Fat Burning Foods: 15 to Add to Your Diet TODAY!

By: Erin Coleman, B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.,

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

fat burning foods

Eating the right fat burning foods is vital to getting the physique you desire.

But, consuming fat burning foods must go hand-in-hand with an overall healthy eating plan and plenty of exercise!

In general, fat burning foods fall into the following categories:

  1. Foods that boost energy (caffeinated foods and those containing natural sugar – such as milk, yogurt, legumes, whole grains, fruits, and veggies) so you can burn more calories throughout the day.
  2. Foods that boost metabolism, such as protein-rich foods, chili peppers, and green tea.
  3. Foods that boost satiety, such as protein-rich foods, high-fiber foods, and heart-healthy fats.
  4. Foods low in calories, such as non-starchy vegetables, many fruits, green tea, black coffee, lean protein foods, and low-fat dairy foods.

Believe it or not, eating protein and fat in place of refined grains, added sugars, and other unhealthy carbs helps your body transition to burn fat for energy instead of carbohydrates.

This state is called ketosis.

Ready to start burning fat?

Keep the following list of fat burning foods handy and include them in your daily meal plans.

Looking to lose tummy fat fast? A variety of simple strategies can get you the results you’ve been striving for. Here’s what you need to do.

The Top 15 Fat Burning Foods

1. Green Tea

Green tea helps your body burn extra fat and boosts metabolism, according to researchers who conducted a study published in the Nutrients.

Green tea is almost entirely calorie free but boosts energy nonetheless due to its caffeine content.

The researchers found that ingesting extract from green tea results in fat burning after intermittent exercises and even during periods of rest.

If you’re not currently a green tea drinker, consider adding about 2 cups per day initially.

A study published in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences found that drinking 4 cups of green tea daily leads to significant decreases in body weight, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, and blood pressure in adult men and women.

2. Hot Chili Peppers

Hot peppers contain capsaicin, the component of chili peppers that causes your mouth to feel burning or hot.

Capsaicin helps boost your body’s metabolism and burn fat.

This makes sense as some people report sweating in response to eating hot peppers.

A review published in Bioscience Reports found that eating capsaicin-containing foods is associated with lower rates of obesity and abdominal body fat loss.

Add chili peppers to chilis, soups, salads, fajitas, other Mexican dishes, and even stir fry — or simply eat this spicy food as a snack to give your metabolism a boost.

3. Salmon

Because salmon is rich in protein, containing about 22 grams in each 3-ounce portion, it makes sense that it’s a fat-burning food.

Protein increases the number of calories your body burns throughout the day, helps you feel full, promotes a healthy weight, and allows you to maintain lean body mass even during weight loss, according to a study published in Frontiers in Endocrinology.

Two main omega 3s in salmon, DHA and EPA, also appear to help reduce body fat.

A study published in Plos One found that fish oil reduces waist circumference when combined with a healthy lifestyle intervention, and lowers waist-to-hip ratio with and without healthy lifestyle interventions.

The American Heart Association recommends eating at least two 3.5-ounce servings of fish every week to maximize heart health, so you can’t go wrong when choosing salmon as one of your favorite fat burning foods.

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4. Avocados

You probably already know that avocados are healthy for your heart because of a high monounsaturated fat content.

But it might come as a surprise that avocadoes are linked with improved body composition as well.

Dietary fat keeps you full for long time periods, which can reduce your overall calorie intake.

A study published in the Nutrition Journal found that people who eat avocados regularly have lower body weights, body mass indexes, and waist circumferences than people who don’t eat avocados.

The researchers also found that avocado eaters have a better overall diet quality and lower disease risks.

So, when fat loss is your goal, consider adding avocados to daily meal plans.

5. Flax Seeds

Flax seeds are loaded with satiating fiber and heart-healthy fats, making these seeds superfoods you’ll want to include in weight loss or fat loss meal plans.

Flax seeds are loaded with omega 3 fats, which lower heart disease and other chronic disease risks.

In a study published in Obesity Reviews, researchers found that supplementing diets with flax seeds leads to lower body weights, body mass indexes, and waist circumferences, and improves body composition – especially when taken in doses of at least 30 grams (about 3 tablespoons) of whole flax seeds per day.

6. Almonds

Because nuts are fairly high in calories, it might sound surprising that almonds are fat burning foods for women.

But almonds are rich in protein, fiber, and healthy fats which is why including them in your meal plan boosts satiety, prevents nutrient deficiencies, and improves body composition.

A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that eating 1.5 ounces (about 1/3 cup) of almonds daily reduces abdominal fat and decreases cholesterol and heart disease risks when used in place of high-carbohydrate snacks.

7. Greek Yogurt

Because Greek yogurt is rich in calcium, protein, and probiotics, it’s often classified as a superfood.

It’s higher in protein and lower in carbs than regular yogurt, and has fat burning properties.

One container of plain low-fat Greek yogurt provides almost 20 grams of protein.

A review published in the International Journal of Obesity found that yogurt consumption is associated with a lower body mass index (BMI), lower body weight, smaller waist circumference, and a lower body fat percentage.

Another study published in the European Journal of Nutrition found similar results — that women who consume yogurt regularly have lower waist circumferences, body mass indexes (BMI), body fat, and blood glucose levels.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020 recommend adults consume 2 to 3 cups of dairy foods or dairy alternatives daily to reap health benefits and prevent nutrient deficiencies.

8. Olive Oil

Olive oil is loaded with monounsaturated fat and provides numerous health and wellness benefits when used in place of animal fat.

Olive oil is a staple in Mediterranean-style eating patterns, which are known to promote healthy weights.

One study published in The Lancet: Diabetes and Endocrinology found that study subjects following Mediterranean diets rich in extra-virgin olive oil had lower body weights and less abdominal fat than the control group.

Researchers also say olive oil also helps reduce blood pressure.

9. Beans

Beans are loaded with protein and fiber and boost satiety, making this superfood a good pick when you want to reduce weight and body fat.

A large review published in the journal Foods found that adding white beans to your daily diet enhances weight loss and significantly reduces body fat.

Add beans into weekly meal plans by replacing red meat or refined grains with beans and other legumes.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020 recommend eating at least 1 1/2 cups of beans each week when following a 2,000-calorie diet.

If you’re following a vegan (entirely plant-based) diet, which is often an effective way to reduce excess weight and body fat, a review published in the Journal of Geriatric Cardiology recommends eating 2 to 3 servings (1 serving = 1/2 cup) of cooked legumes each day.


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10. Low-Fat Milk

Milk and other dairy products appear to enhance fat loss during periods of energy restriction.

The reason milk works well as a fat burning food is because it’s rich in protein.

There might be unknown components in dairy foods responsible for fat loss as well.

A review published in the journal Nutrients found that consuming 2 or more servings of dairy foods daily helps reduce body fat and the loss of lean muscle associated with calorie restriction.

The researchers say consuming more than 3 servings of dairy foods daily appears to enhance fat loss more than eating 3 servings or less.

11. Soy Protein

Soy foods, such as soy milk, soy yogurt, soy beans, tofu, and soy protein powder, are rich in satiating and metabolism-boosting protein as well.

Soy is one of the few plant-based protein sources that’s classified as a complete protein because it provides all essential amino acids your body needs on a day-to-day basis to build proteins within the body.

A review published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition says numerous studies show that soy promotes fat loss and preserves lean muscle mass during periods of calorie restriction.

Soy protein helps lower high cholesterol as well.

Studies show that while more research is needed, regular soy consumption may help reduce menopause symptoms in women, such as hot flashes.

12. Grapefruit

It may be no surprise that grapefruit consumption is associated with weight and fat loss, as various versions of the popular Grapefruit Diet exist.

Grapefruit helps fill you up but contains just 75 calories per cup, and has fat-burning properties.

A study published in Food and Nutrition Research found that grapefruit and grapefruit juice consumption is associated with lower waist circumference, body weight, body mass index, and triglycerides, higher HDL (good) cholesterol, and improved diet quality.

Participants in this study ate grapefruit or drank grapefruit juice at least one time in a 2-day period.

13. Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are often classified as superfoods because these nutrient-dense seeds are rich in protein, heart-healthy fat, and fiber.

Chia seeds also help you burn excess body fat.

A review published in Planta Medica says hundreds of studies show chia seeds help decrease blood sugar, body weight, and waist circumference in overweight adults.

Another study published in Nutricion Hospitalaria found that ingesting 35 grams (about 3 tablespoons) of chia seed powder daily for 12 weeks significantly reduced body weight, waist circumference, and total cholesterol in overweight individuals.

Sprinkle chia seeds on oatmeal, salads, soups, or in protein smoothies.

14. Pea Protein

Peas are a protein-rich legume, and many plant-based protein powders contain pea protein as an ingredient.

In a review published in Nutrition & Metabolism, researchers say pea protein is one of the most effective proteins for suppressing hunger, which helps you reduce calories and burn excess body fat.

As one of the top fat burning foods for women, keep pea protein on hand.

Eat fiber-rich peas on salads, in soups, or as a side dish — or consume pea protein powder in satiating protein-rich smoothies for fat loss.

15. Garlic

Garlic is another fat burning food for women you may want to consider.

A study published in Advanced Biomedical Research found that study subjects who ingested 400-milligram garlic powder tablets twice daily (800 milligrams per day) had significant reductions in weight and body fat compared with a control group.

Add garlic to dishes when you cook at home or ask your doctor if taking garlic supplements is right for you.

If you are preparing to lose weight, find out what you can do to set realistic losing weight expectations!


Starting a Fat Burning Diet for Women

Adding fat burning foods to your diet is just the beginning when you want to shed excess body fat and lean out.

The process of improving body composition involves:

  1. Controlling your overall calorie intake
  2. Eliminating unhealthy foods (such as sugary drinks, sweets, fried foods, refined grains, processed foods, and foods high in saturated fat)
  3. Completing fat-burning workouts regularly
  4. Eating healthy foods in the recommended amounts

To get started with a healthy and sustainable diet plan, sign up for the free Fit Mom 3-Day Weight Loss Jumpstart today!

Erin Coleman

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian with over 15 years of freelance writing experience.

She graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in nutritional science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and completed her dietetic internship at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Prior to beginning her career in medical content writing, Erin worked as Health Educator for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Internal Medicine.

Her published work appears on hundreds of health and fitness websites, and she’s currently working on publishing her first book! Erin is a wife, and a Mom to two beautiful children.

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*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on fat burning foods.

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