One of the reasons your metabolism isn't burning away fat as efficiently as you'd like? Look to your magnesium levels. This essential micronutrient is required for the body to produce and store energy, and also helps boost lipolysis (a process by which your body releases fat from its stores to use as energy)—yet 75 percent of Americans do not get their RDA of this important metabolism-boosting mineral. Just a half cup of pumpkin seeds provides nearly 100 percent of your daily magnesium needs.
Still, it’s a worthy goal to lose belly fat because it’s “unfortunately the most dangerous location to store fat,” says Lawrence Cheskin, M.D., chair of the department of nutrition and food studies at George Mason University and associate professor of health, behavior & society at Johns Hopkins University. Because belly fat—also known as visceral fat, or the deep abdominal fat that surrounds your organs—is more temporary, it circulates throughout the bloodstream more regularly and is therefore likelier to raise the amount of fat in your blood, increasing your blood sugar levels and putting you at a greater risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
You may also know this root veggie as a sunchoke since they're the roots of a type of sunflower. According to a Canadian study, subjects whose diets were supplemented with a type of gut-healthy insoluble fiber called oligofructose not only lost weight but reported less hunger than those who received a placebo. Researchers discovered that the subjects who consumed the prebiotic fiber had higher levels of ghrelin—the hunger-suppressing hormone—and lower levels of blood sugar. And you guessed it: Jerusalem artichokes are one of the best sources of the fiber.
Through the proliferation of beneficial bifidobacteria in the gut, certain studies have found that consuming more probiotics may be helpful for those trying to lose weight — since eating foods containing them is associated with enhanced weight loss and protection against obesity. (9) To consume more probiotics in your diet, try eating yogurt, kefir or cultured veggies at least a few times a week, while also considering a supplement.
It’s been found that due to faulty labeling, some weight loss products like herbs, acids or enzymes can sometimes be tainted with things like bacterial germs, fillers, pesticides or toxic heavy metals. In one case, supplements advertised to women as “weight loss supplements” contained the weight loss drug sibutramine, which has been banned in the United States because of the risk of heart attack and stroke.
There’s a key difference between how supplements are regulated versus how medications or other drugs are. Dietary supplements are considered safe until proven unsafe, while the opposite is true of prescription drugs: They’re kept out of the public’s hands until clinical trials show they’re generally effective and also unharmful to the majority of patients taking them.
Who knew there was a connection between a spicy pepper scorching your mouth and burning your belly fat? Scientists did! According to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, daily consumption of one of the compounds found in pepper (capsaicin) speeds up abdominal fat loss by boosting the body's ability to convert food into energy. It also acts as a natural appetite suppressant: men who ate spicy appetizers consumed 200 fewer calories at later meals than those that did not, a study by Canadian researchers found. All you have to do to reap the benefits is use a pinch of cayenne pepper to season grilled fish, meats, and eggs.
Surprised? Although olive oil contains fat, it actually contains a type of healthy fat that has been found to decrease levels of fat-storing inflammation. According to a review published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, a polyphenol only found in unrefined extra virgin olive oil—oleocanthal—reduces inflammation in a similar way that ibuprofen does: it prevents the production of two pro-inflammatory enzymes, COX-1 and COX-2.
One of the best ways to get the benefits of green tea is to consume matcha green tea, a concentrated powdered green tea from Japan that seems to have some noteworthy fat-burning benefits. What’s in matcha that makes it so beneficial for everything from cognitive function to enhancing fat-burning? It’s the catechins, a type of antioxidant found in high levels in green tea that may reduce body weight, speed up recovery following workouts and decrease free radical damage.
Caffeine is often included in fat-burning supplements the form of yerba mate or guarana — however, manufacturers may include these substances in amounts they’re rarely used otherwise. Caffeine is a common weight loss ingredient because it often has the effect of dulling someone’s appetite and help increase energy for activity. However, too much caffeine can cause side effects like jitteriness, headaches, insomnia, anxiety, heart palpitations, diarrhea and more.
To avoid feeling hungry after a workout, eat a snack with at least 12 grams of protein before exercising, says Dr. Cheskin. And if you’re still hungry afterward? First, check in with yourself and make sure it’s actual hunger and not dehydration, says Dr. Cheskin. Then, eat a protein-rich snack that also includes some carbs, like a protein bar with whole grains.
Instant Knockout looks great – but all the signs suggest it offers much more than pretty packaging. The product can help support your training goals, boost confidence and keep you motivated for longer as part of a good diet and exercise routine. No proprietary blends and transparent formula are big bonuses and make this product stand out on our list!
Kickstart your morning—and your metabolism—with this warming spice. Cinnamon contains powerful antioxidants called polyphenols that are proven to alter body composition and improve insulin sensitivity (which means it keeps blood sugar stable, preventing hunger-inducing spikes and crashes). Japanese researchers found that mice who ate a daily helping of cinnamaldehyde (the ingredient that gives cinnamon its flavor) lost belly fat, while those who skipped the spice did not. Add it to your overnight oats or sprinkle some in your coffee to reap the benefits.
Don't buy your tickets to Bonnaroo just yet; the kind of acid that will help you slim down is the stuff right inside your cabinet. A 12-week study published in Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry reveals that obese study subjects who made vinegar part of their diet dropped more belly fat than a control group, and other research suggests that acidic foods, like vinegar, can increase the human carbohydrate metabolism by as much as 40 percent.
Are the weight loss claims about these ingredients necessarily true? It seems to depend on the type of thermogenic fat burners in question, the active ingredients that are used in the products, dosages taken and an individual person’s response. Active ingredients that are commonly used in thermogenic supplements vary by brand but usually contain a mix of stimulants, herbs and acids. Testimonials, along with findings from certain studies, suggest that thermogenics do seem to work for some — however in some cases their ingredients can also be dangerous or totally ineffective.
Fat burners have ingredients, such as caffeine and green tea, that act as a hunger suppressant. These help to ward off those cravings and decrease your overall hunger. Your body produces a hormone called leptin that is responsible for telling your body it is full and doesn’t need more food. This helps reduce the urge to overeat or snack throughout the day.
A scoop of guacamole is one of the most effective fat-burning, hunger-squashing snacks known to man. Not only are avocados rich in vitamin B6—which directly counteracts the belly-fat-building stress hormone, cortisol—they're also full of monounsaturated fat. This healthy fat may actually prevent body fat distribution around the belly by down-regulating the expression of certain fat genes, according to research in the journal Diabetes Care. These same satiating fats may also be the reason behind another study that found people who ate half a fresh avocado with lunch reported a 40 percent decreased desire to eat for hours afterward.
A little garlic in your meals could mean a lot less weight around your middle. The results of a Korean study found that mice given a high-fat diet supplemented with garlic lost significantly more weight and abdominal fat than those who just ate fatty foods. Even better, they also improved their liver health, making it easier to stay healthy and burn off that excess fat in the long term. For more flavorful ways to make your food more enjoyable, turn to the metabolism-boosting spicy recipes and watch those pounds melt away.
Many television ads are now pitching devices that supposedly stimulate muscles to contract repeatedly without exercise. I even saw an infomercial for an "ab belt" that claimed it does the work of 700 sit-ups in 10 minutes! The ad shows people doing various abdominal exercises the wrong way, hating every second of it, versus smiling men and women going about their days with "Ab-whatevers" strapped around them. How enticing!
The researchers explain that people who cook their own meals may simply have other good-for-you habits, like exercising more. However, they also concluded that home cooks ate more fruits and vegetables (along with a wider variety of foods), have healthier methods of prepping their food, and splurge less on foods high in calories and sugar. Consider any of the healthy eating books below to get started.