by GameChanger Strength & Nutrition Coach Rob Riccobono
What foods can you eat to help with your fat loss journey? What foods will specifically target and burn body fat? You’ve probably heard of certain “superfoods” or “powerfoods” recommended by nutritionists and fitness experts. What foods should you eat to melt body fat away?
This might surprise you: no specific foods target and burn body fat- it really does all come down to the calories you eat vs. the calories you burn. It is helpful to eat foods that are very low in calories, that you can eat a lot of to stay satisfied- this can discourage you from eating a bunch of other calories that will make fat loss hard. But no food will directly burn body fat. No food acts as a melting agent or a fire extinguisher towards your fat cells.
Some people discuss vegetables as being “free foods”, meaning you can eat as many as you want without gaining body fat. It is incorrect to say they are free- they are not calorie free- but they do have very few calories. So if we are going to dub anything a Superfood to help with your waistline, vegetables are the clear champion. This isn’t a new discovery or something you heard for the first time from Jillian Michaels or Dr. Oz, it’s the same advice you’ve been told from when you were a toddler. Your parents were right all along! You can load up on them to get plenty of nutrients and fiber that will keep you full and satisfied.
Some nutritionists will say that eating specific vegetables will actually burn calories- that the act of chewing and digesting them makes you burn more calories than the ones you’re eating. I haven’t seen any evidence to support this so I doubt it’s true. Vegetables will not burn fat, but they make the process a heck of a lot easier. If you’re trying to lose weight, eat at least 5 fistfuls of veggies each day. It will be a big help!
This same logic is true in regards to fat gain: no specific foods turn into body fat when you ingest them! You build body fat from your total accumulation of calories throughout the day. A great example is alcohol. People often refer to alcohol as empty calories because it doesn’t have any beneficial nutrients, so people assume a shot of liquor will travel straight to your gut and morph into belly fat. In reality, you won’t put on body fat if you burn more calories in a day than you consume, even if some of those calories are from alcohol. How wonderful is that? Of course, drinking alcohol will make it harder to keep your total calories low- but a few low calories drinks a week can fit your diet.
There are no magical foods. There are no (or at least very few) directly harmful foods. There are foods that make your health easier or harder to maintain, and that’s the important thing to remember.