The best fat burning diet has to do three things. It must provide sufficient calories to satisfy your basal metabolic rate. It must offer slow-release calories that restrict spikes in blood sugar levels. And it must be timed to enhance hormones that drive metabolic balance between fat burning and fat storage. Here is what to look for.
The best fat burning diet plan must include three components. (1) WHAT you eat is equally important to (2) WHEN you eat and (3) HOW MUCH you eat. Each of these is a separate topic, so for now this article will focus the first of these, the foods themselves.
Fat burning diet foods provide calories with nutrients. That is almost all there is to it. In addition, the best foods also do not cause too much inflammation. Paying attention to nutrient content and inflammatory potential is the simplest and most effective approach to choosing what to eat for burning fat. Let me give you an obvious example. Oranges contain a lot of sugar AND a lot of nutrient value. Fruity Pebbles contain a lot of sugar and very little nutrient value. This is a no-brainer. By the way, both contain the same exact kind of sugars, either sucrose or fructose or a mixture of the two. This is not really important. You already know that Fruity Pebbles are awful for fat burning diets.
Processed sugar and other nutrient-free carbohydrates also cause inflammation. Excess sugar drives up your insulin level. Insulin is a caustic protein that causes damage when you have too much in your bloodstream. Excess insulin from a high sugar intake is just one of the inflammatory responses you will have by eating the wrong kind of food for fat burning diets.
Foods for a Fat Burning Diet – Nutrient Density
High nutrient density includes mostly fresh foods. Dieticians, nutritionists, and naturopaths mostly agree that the highest nutrient density comes from several categories of foods, which include vegetables, fruits, fish, meat, poultry, herbs and spices, nuts and seeds, and eggs.
Note that, in spite of what the USDA food pyramid advises (see image above), this list does NOT include processed flour products (breads, pastas, so-called whole grain products) or dairy (I’ll go into THAT one some other time). The food pyramid is the result of a political process, not a health process.
Here is what should be the foundation of your food pyramid:
- VEGETABLES: Arugula, Bell peppers, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Leeks, Onions, Romaine lettuce, Scallions, Shiitake mushrooms, Spinach, Tomatoes, Sweet potatoes (NOT yams!)
- FRUIT: Apples, Blueberries, Cherries, Grapefruit, Oranges, Pomegranates
- FISH: Flounder, Salmon (esp. wild caught), Sole, Tilapia
- MEAT AND POULTRY: Beef, Lamb, Pork, Chicken, Turkey, Wild game
- HERBS AND SPICES: Basil, Black pepper, Cardamom, Chives, Cilantro, Cinnamon, Cloves, Garlic, Ginger, Parsley, Turmeric
- NUTS AND SEEDS: (raw, unsalted) Almonds, Flaxseeds, Sesame seeds, Walnuts
- OTHER: Eggs (esp. the whites)
Do you suppose that you could survive on any of the fat burning diets if they were based only on foods taken from this list? Of course! This is a list of incredibly delicious foods, and the variety of taste treats is endless when you use different combinations of herbs and spices.
A Nice Surprise About Frozen Foods
Fruits and vegetables are often picked when they are unripe, then stored in a cold box. They are fumigated with ethylene gas just before they are put out for sale. This gas makes them look like they are ripe. Looks are deceiving, since they have little of the nutrient value that comes from ripening naturally. You know this is the case when you bite into a really beautiful orange or tomato that has almost no flavor. Flavor, like nutritional value, goes hand in hand with natural ripening.
What about frozen foods? Fruits and veggies are left on the tree, bush, or vine longer if they are to be picked for freezing. They have to be ripe at that time because they are going to be frozen right away. By ripening naturally, they have a higher nutrient density than their fresh counterparts. Nevertheless, be sure to get only unadulterated frozen foods for the best benefits to your health and fat reduction program. Food manufacturers consistently offer high-sugar and high-salt frozen foods, which should be a crime. Don’t buy them!
Foods That Are Not So Good
Think about potatoes and rice. These foods are excluded from the list above because they carry a big load of starch and little else. “If it is white, don’t bite,” is generally good advice regarding these foods. It also includes anything made with enriched flour of any kind. If the flour is enriched, then it was first stripped of its nutritional value. No amount of “enrichment” can make up for the stripped-out nutrition.
Juices are also missing from the above list. Commercial juices are almost all a bunch of sugar-laden crap. If you can get whole, completely unprocessed, fresh or frozen juices without adulteration by apple or grape juice, go for it. Just be sure to count the calorie density in your daily intake, because a glass of juice can be a big load of calories.
Really Bad Foods
You must consume all three food groups – carbohydrate, protein, and fat – to be trim and healthy. Fats, however, have acquired an evil reputation, which is idiotic and oversimplified. The key is to eat the right kinds of fats and avoid the wrong kinds.
The biggest culprits among bad fats are the saturated fats from animal products and the trans fats from chemical processing. Saturated fats most often come from meat and dairy and from processed and fried foods. Just be sensible about eating meat by eating less meat that is fatty. Marbled steak, as good as it tastes, is too fatty. Chicken and turkey skin are too fatty. Most pork is too fatty, although not all. By the way, the added hormones and antibiotics in commercial meats also make fat stick fat to you like super-glue. The best fat burning diets are free of hormones and antibiotics.
Trans Fats: Evil Non-Food
Trans fats have become the whipping boy of the health food industry, for good reason. You probably know by now that trans fats are made by a synthetic chemical transformation. Foods contain trans fats if they have partially hydrogenated oils. These are highly inflammatory. They ruin blood vessels, lead to insulin resistance, and promote obesity. Avoid them at all costs.
French fries, potato chips, crackers, baked goods, and all kinds of processed foods are loaded with saturated fats, trans fats, or both. These are triple-whammy early death foods because you get: 1) lots of bad fats, 2) lots of inflammatory carbohydrates, and 3) very low nutrient density.
Evil, I tell you!
Stay away from them!
Your Eating Plan
The success of a good fat burning diet depends on consuming only valuable, nutrient-dense foods. You don’t have to get crazy and start feeling as though you are depriving yourself of good food. Fat burning foods should be appealing, tasty, and offer lots of variety that you can look forward to without feeling as though you are deprived.
For the best fat burning diet,