We’ve spoken to top health experts and nutritionists to discover which fat-busting foods you need to be eating. Right now.
‘All beans are rich in resistant starch, which doesn’t add much to our daily calorie intake, promotes bowel regularity, is associated with less fat storage after a meal and encourages a phenomenon known as second meal effect, where the body's ability to keep blood sugar balanced results in us eating less at our next meal,’ says nutritionist Fiona Kirk, author of the diet book 2 Weeks In The Fast Lane.
Fiona also recommends walnuts. ‘Walnuts contain Omega 3 essential fats, which turn up the action of our fat-burning genes and slow down the action of our fat-producing genes. Recent research also suggests that they may switch on a protein that allows more energy to be dissipated as heat, increasing energy expenditure and decreasing stored fat. Just 30g of fresh walnuts provide 260mg of Omega 3.’
‘The natural phytochemical that gives prawns their vibrant colour is a plant chemical called astaxanthin, which has been shown to increase the use of fat instead of carbohydrates for fuel and accelerate fat burning, particularly during exercise,’ Fiona goes on to tell us.
‘Eggs are a great source of Vitamin D,’ says Fiona. ‘Research recently revealed that women who are Vitamin D-deficient carry between 40 per cent and 80 per cent more abdominal fat. Deficiency has also been shown to disrupt the delicate balance of insulin production and lead to an increased risk of type 2 Diabetes.’
Herbs and Spices
‘Cinnamon has thermogenic properties that can temporarily raise your metabolic rate, while chili peppers contain a compound called capsaicin. This increases your core body temperature and raises your heart rate, which in turn pushes your metabolism up a notch,’ says nutritionist Amanda Hamilton, author of Eat, Fast, Slim. ‘Studies found that eating a single spicy meal can boost your metabolism for up to three hours after you finish eating.’
Amanda also can't recommend oily fish highly enough. ‘Oily fish, such as salmon and mackerel, contain healthy fats that keep you feeling full and may even lower levels of leptin, the so-called hunger hormone,' she says.
‘Research suggests that dairy foods are an aid to fat loss. One study found people were more likely to lose fat when a yoghurt was consumed daily,’ says Reebok Sport Club’s health expert Tim Hart. ‘But stick to authentic Greek yoghurt and milk, while keeping higher calorie products, such as cheese, to a minimum.’
‘Research has continued to find that a high concentration of vegetables in the diet is associated with lower levels of body fat in all age groups,’ says Tim. ‘Broccoli, in particular, contains a great deal of fibre, so it fills you up and is low in fat and calories.’