Research suggests these magical pulses are one of the closest things we have to a fat-burning pill. For starters, beans are a great source of resistant starch, a type of slow-digesting, insoluble fiber that feeds the healthy bacteria in your gut, triggering the production of the chemical butyrate, which encourages the body to burn fat as fuel and reduces fat-causing inflammation. They're also one of the top sources of soluble fiber. A recent study by Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center researchers found that for every additional 10 grams of soluble fiber eaten per day, a study subject's belly fat was reduced by 3.7 percent over five years. Black beans? One cup boasts an impressive 4.8 grams of soluble fiber.
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Another risk regarding the use of dietary supplements intended to promote weight loss is that these products are usually self-prescribed without clearance or input from a health care professional. This can result in harmful interactions between different products and/or medications. Currently in the U.S., there is no controlled system for reporting bad reactions and side effects associated with popular weight loss pills. While some people taking these products, or their doctors, may sometimes report problems to the FDA, they’re not required by law to do so.
The fat-burning equation is simple: Protein builds muscle. More muscle = more fat burning. And fish is one of the healthiest sources of lean protein—especially wild salmon, says dietitian Lauren Minchen, MPH, RD, CDN. It's also a rich source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, which fuel fat burning, block fat storage and aid weight loss, she explains. But that's not all: "Getting enough protein and healthy fat also helps to reduce cravings and has been shown to help keep weight off for longer," adds Alissa Rumsey, MS, RD, CDN, CSCS.
Knowing that dietary supplements — including weight loss pills, herbs, enzymes and teas — are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in ways that other medications are, you may be wondering if they’re safe to consume. (2) Better yet, do weight loss pills or other fat-burning supplements even work, making them worth any potential risks involved? Studies have found that risks of fat-burning supplements can include nausea, headaches, anxiety, indigestion and trouble sleeping. Most adverse effects are caused by factors like interactions with medications, ingesting too much caffeine or consuming “filler” ingredients not even listed on the product’s label. While weight loss products may possibly give you a lift in energy and mood, they likely won’t be enough to sustain any real weight loss without other lifestyle changes.
Chromium might help increase lean muscle mass, promote fat loss and reduces food intake. Research findings suggest that chromium usually has “minimal effect on body weight and body fat,” but the good news is that it also doesn’t seem to pose risks. There have been very little safety concerns reported at low to moderate intakes (25–45 micrograms a day for adults), although at higher doses headaches, watery stools or constipation are possible.
Spending more time in the kitchen can help you shed belly fat, as long as you’re cooking with the right foods, according to a 2017 study. After analyzing data from more than 11,000 men and women, U.K. researchers found that people who ate more than five homemade meals per week were 28 percent less likely to have a high body mass index, and 24 percent less likely to carry too much body fat than those whole only downed three meals at home.
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.
Red is one of the best colors for weight loss. That's because the color is due to higher levels of nutrients called flavonoids—particularly anthocyanins—which calm the action of fat-storage genes, according to Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity research. In fact, red-bellied stone fruits like plums boast phenolic compounds that have been shown to "turn off" fat genes. Plus, their pectin—a gelatin-like type of fiber found in the cell walls of fruits—limits the amount of fat your cells can absorb, as shown by a Nutrition & Metabolism study.
A big part of weight loss is simply being aware of the decisions you’re making. For example, when out at happy hour with friends, you may lose track of how much you're eating or drinking. But if you take a split second to step back and become aware of that fact, you’re able to course correct. “The awareness and then planning for what else I can be doing, that might give me the same benefit of eating comfort foods,” says Gagliardi.