Thought for Food Blog

Burn Fat!

Changing your diet can be difficult and frustrating. Especially if you're not sure which foods will provide the greatest boost to get your metabolism going.

If you want to achieve a certain measure of weight loss and keep it off for good, then it's important to put certain controls into play. Without an active plan to change your lifestyle, the goals you set forth just won't be attainable. For anyone trying to lose weight, regardless of the goal that is set, it always starts with food.

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As they say, you are what you eat. If you shovel unhealthy food into your mouth and live off of processed and refined goods that are loaded with calories, carbs and fat content then you're going to end up with all of that unnecessary intake being stored as fat.

In the end, you will become a walking example of what not to eat and how not to live. The good news for anyone that wants to lose weight is that the same is true for healthy foods and a certain measure of exercise.

The better you eat, and the more healthy your lifestyle, the more it will be reflected in your everyday appearance and overall wellness. It always comes back to the food we take in, because it's the food that - for so many people - controls how they live.

Most people don't understand how they woke up and suddenly found themselves overweight. They can't trace it to any measurable or quantifiable event because it's not something that happened overnight. It's something that has happened over the course of years as the result of abuse to the body.

Some foods and ingredients will increase your metabolism and actually burn fat:

  • Tofu

The New England Journal of Medicine reports 47 g of soy protein (equivalent to 297 g of tofu) daily, cuts cholesterol by 23.2 mg per decilitre of blood.

Tofu replaces meat without giving up the protein. It also has a high calcium content. A 100 g serving of water-packed firm tofu contains 10 g of protein and 204 mg of calcium. A 100 g serving of silken firm tofu contains 8 g of protein and 200 mg of calcium.

The same size cooked chicken breast has 35 g of protein and 17 mg of calcium. The same amount of ground beef has 26 g of protein and less than 2 percent of your daily recommended calcium intake. Because of its high calcium content, tofu also works as a substitute for high-calorie cheese in recipes.

Tofu wins the low calorie war compared to meats or chicken. A 100 g serving of water-packed firm tofu contains 97 calories and the same amount of silken firm tofu contains 85 calories.

Comparatively, a 100 g cooked chicken breast has 187 calories. The same amount of lean ground beef with a 5 percent fat content has 178 calories while ground beef with a 15 percent fat content has 250 calories.

Despite its low calories and high nutrition, tofu is still high in fat. A 100 g portion of water-packed firm tofu is actually higher in fat than a 100 g chicken breast, with 5.6 g of fat to the chicken's 4 g. The fat content in silken firm tofu rates the same as the chicken.

  • Lentils

Molybdenum, a trace mineral, helps the body convert carbohydrates to energy more efficiently; 100 g of lentils provides your RDA.

Molybdenum is an essential trace element that contributes to the functions of your nervous system and kidneys. Molybdenum also plays a role in energy production on a cellular level. Although the specific functions of molybdenum are not well understood, the American Cancer Society notes that this element may have the potential to counteract the damaging effects of certain cancer drugs on the heart and lungs. Because the amount of molybdenum that your body requires for healthy function is very small, and the mineral occurs in many foods, deficiency is rare in humans.

People who have a genetic condition that interferes with their absorption of molybdenum, or who receive nutrition intravenously due to a prolonged illness, may be at risk for molybdenum deficiency. Most healthy people get more than the RDA of molybdenum from dietary sources. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, the average American man gets 109 mcg of this element from dietary sources each day, and the average American woman gets 76 mcg daily.

  • Limes

Canadian researchers found its limonin inhibits the liver’s production of the protein APOB, so you produce less heart-clogging fat.

  • Pine nuts

Prompt the release of the hormone cholecystokinin – a key appetite-suppressor.

Among the many health benefits which may be derived from sufficient amounts of pine nuts in the diet are: anti-oxidative properties against aging; more energy for daily activities; enhanced immunity to diseases; good eyesight; strong bones; and as a feel-good food. Additionally, research evidence suggests that its fat content is heart-friendly, and that eating these nuts facilitates weight loss, promotes normal blood circulation, and is good for the nervous system.

Experts in natural medicine, including educators Dr. Michael Murray and Dr. Joseph Pizzorino, maintain that a hundred grams of the European pine nuts called pignoli delivers 24 grams of protein. This amount is by far the highest among nuts and seeds. Pine nuts are also excellent sources of vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C, D and E, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, potassium, and zinc. The European variety also contains less fat in monosaturated form, fibre, and carbohydrates than the American species of pine nuts called pinons. These nuts also contain lutein, pinoleic acid, and free radicals.

  • Chickpeas

Using chickpeas as your primary fibre source results in better regulation of blood fats.

When you’re eating fewer calories to lose weight, those calories must be packed with nutrition. This is where chickpeas shine as a weight-loss food. One-half cup of cooked chickpeas has barely a trace of fat, yet provides 7 g of protein and 22 g of energy-providing complex carbohydrates. Chickpeas are a rich source of iron, giving men 25 percent of their recommended daily intake, while women get 11 percent. You’ll also gain bone-building calcium and phosphorus and the potassium you need to keep nerves and muscles functioning. Chickpeas have 3 to 8 percent of the recommended daily intake of the B vitamins essential for energy. The same serving also has 35 percent of the recommended daily intake of folate, which is essential for the synthesis of genetic material and the creation of normal red blood cells.

The dietary fibre in chickpeas supports weight loss by making you feel full. Their soluble fibre absorbs water, fills the stomach and sends signals to the brain that you’re full. The total fibre content in chickpeas also improves satiety by increasing levels of a hormone called cholecystokinin. When partially digested proteins and fats enter the small intestine, they stimulate the release of cholecystokinin, which then aids digestion by telling your body to release digestive enzymes. It also sends signals that you’re full.

Meals that contain legumes increase the amount of cholecystokinin and help suppress appetite, according to research published in the May 2001 issue of the Journal of Nutrition. Additional research published in the September 2002 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that the sense of satiety caused by cholecystokinin is improved when dietary fibre is increased.

  • Cinnamon

One 40-day study saw the spice slash blood sugar levels by helping activate insulin receptors, so cells metabolise sugars 20 percent more efficiently.

  • Broccoli

Research shows that as vitamin C levels drop, waistlines increase, as less carnitine – which transports fat to be burnt – is produced.

A vitamin C deficiency reduces the body's synthesis of L-carnitine, an amino acid that the mitochondria need to burn fatty acids.

  • Radicchio

A Tufts University study found vitamin K improved insulin responses, priming men not to store glycogen as fat - 21 g radicchio provides your RDA.

  • Apples

Apples are rich in pectin. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports upping your intake of this fruit-derived fibre increases fat excretion by 44 percent.

Apples are a rich source of polyphenols that can help to promote weight loss and fat metabolism. A study by Nagasakome-Akazome, at the Fundamental Research Laboratory, Asahi Breweries, Ltd., Moriya-shi, Ibaraki, Japan, found that consuming 600 mg polyphenols each day can also decrease abdominal fat, total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels, which over time can help decrease your risk for heart disease. Because the polyphenol content of apples can vary, to achieve such results, an intake of approximately three apples per day is needed.

According to a study by Dr. Maria Conceicao de Oliveira, in Nutrition Journal, overweight females who consumed three apples per day over the course of 12 weeks lost approximately 2.6 pounds, while making no other significant changes to their diet or activity level. After the study, it was also observed that participants had significant decreases in blood glucose levels, suggesting that apple intake may help with diabetes management as well.

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