There Is NO Such Thing As Fat-Burning Foods
There are many lies and misconceptions in the realm of weight loss, fat loss and health. I recently came across an article identifying the "Top 10 Fat Burning Foods". I have posted a lot on fad diets and weight loss on the blog and I therefore thought this would be a good topic to address as I know many people looking to lose fat will be looking into these articles and foods and believe them.
No matter what you see or read, there is no such thing as "fat-burning foods".
For so long people were led to believe that certain foods would help with fat loss. These foods are being portrayed and marketed as magic and the reasons for losing fat.
What is a " Fat-Burning Food?"
While doing my own research on this topic, I came across this great podcast called The Model Health Show. The podcast had an episode with Dr Jade and they were discussing the topic, fat burning foods- "The Myth of Fat-Burning Foods".
In the video Dr Jade described a fat burning food as a food that simply causes you to eat less of that food and then less over the course of the day. Therefore, a food that can help suppress hunger and stop you from eating the "bad" foods later, is a fat burning food.
Broccoli, for example, is not a fat burning food because it has some magical fat loss properties, but it may be identified as a fat burning food simply because it is high in fibre and low in calories. The fibre content will help you stay fuller for longer.
Fat Burning Foods Are A Myth
No single food can help you burn fat, but all food consumed results in some fat storage.
Dr Jade provided a great example when he was explaining fat burning foods. He compared eating the same amount of calories in chicken breast and a doughnut. While they may be the same amount of calories, you can easily eat more doughnuts than chicken breast. Which in the case of fat burning foods, would mean chicken is a fat burning food.
We all love a doughnut, they are pretty and delicious. Pastries and sweet treats are highly palatable, therefore it triggers the hedonistic centre in the brain that causes us to want more of these foods and overeat.
On the other hand, however, fat burning foods shut down reward centres in the brain, so they tend to be more bland, high in fibre, protein and water.
Going off the identification of what a fat burning food is and what makes constitutes a fat burning foods, it is important to also take into consideration individualisation. We are different, we are not all the same and therefore a food, such as almond milk, may satiate me, however, it may cause you to overeat. Therefore, you could say almond milk is fat burning food for me, but a fat storing food for you.
It's All Individualised
As mentioned above we are not all the same, our metabolisms and hormones are different.
Our bodies will react differently to food when inside.
Some people are insulin resistant or leptin resistant. These are hormones that send messages from our digestive system and from our fat cells to our brain to say whether we need more fuel or not.
When food enters our mouth, swallowed, digested it and assimilated it, it will react differently in each and everyone's body.
Insulin is a hormone made in the pancreas and it has many roles in the body. However, one critical role is to keep blood sugar levels under control.
Cells in the body will burn glucose for fuel, but it will also store some for later use.
A diet high in carbohydrates, especially simple sugars, such as white bread and white rice, increases your blood sugar levels and in turn spikes your insulin. If your blood sugar is constantly elevated and you have too much glucose in your bloodstream it 's hard for your body to start burning fat as fuel as it keeps going to carbs as they require immediate action.
Secreting high levels of insulin will likely result in the cells in your body becoming resistant to insulin. Which means the cells in your body have difficulty absorbing glucose in the bloodstream. In turn, it will take a lot of insulin to the job it is meant to do, which is to keep blood sugar levels stable. As a result of all of this insulin, your body is storing calories as fat instead of fuel.
What Should You Do?
As we have established, there is no such thing as fat burning foods, therefore what do you need to be doing if you are looking to lose fat. Focus on good nutrition. A point mentioned in the podcast by the host Sean is "chronic nutrient deficiency leads to chronic overeating". All nutrients found in food, such as magnesium, are necessary not only for health reasons but also to help prevent you from overeating on foods which do not provide your body with any nutrients or value. Therefore, by denying your body these key nutrients you are not helping with your fat loss.
While flexible lifestyle is key to sustainability and adherence in the long term it is also about having some structure in your diet, through ensuring you are giving your body the nutrients it needs.
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