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Belly Fat? The Solution Lies in These 6 Fatty Foods

Remember when fats were forbidden back in the 1970s?

Enter: The first edition of The Dietary Goals for the United States.

These goals—published in 1977—ex-communicated fats from society, recommending that Americans “reduce overall fat consumption from approximately 40 percent to about 30 percent of energy intake”. They even went so far as to say that fats [from meat, eggs, and cheese] cause obesity, heart disease, cancer, and stroke (1).

However, this sage advice only led to an overconsumption of refined carbohydrates and added sugars—resulting in what we now call “the obesity epidemic” (2, 3).

Here’s what the Big Food Industry doesn’t want you to know (both then and now): If you want to burn fat, you have to eat fat.

It’s true—fat is not the enemy. Your cells need fat (and lots of it) in order to function properly.

But, what fats should you be adding to your daily diet? Read on to find out...

Slow Metabolism vs. Fast Metabolism

Before revealing which fat-burning foods you should be adding to your diet, it’s important to address the difference between a slow metabolism and a fast metabolism...

Put simply, metabolism is your body’s way of converting food into the energy you need to live and function at your best. This energy is needed for everything from moving to thinking to growing and more.

And luckily, the right fat-burning foods can stimulate your metabolism—helping you function even better.

But, what’s the difference between a slow metabolism and a fast metabolism?

A slow metabolism means that you burn fewer calories. Thus, those calories get stored as fat in the body, which means that you need less fuel (or calories) to keep your body running.

A fast metabolism burns more calories at a faster rate. Thus, it’s less likely for a person with a fast metabolism to gain extra weight.

Does Metabolism Slow with Age?

If it feels like your metabolism is slowing by the year, that’s because it is.

After the age of 20, the rate at which you break down food decreases by 1 to 2% each decade (4).

This slowing of metabolism—in addition to reduced energy expenditure—results in weight gain, even if your caloric intake hasn’t changed.

What Are Fat-Burning Foods?

Fat-burning foods are foods that promote fat loss by activating your metabolism, curbing your appetite or cravings, and reducing overall food intake.

All foods trigger your metabolism, but there are certain high-fat foods that are significantly better at activating the metabolism than others.

The Science Behind Fat-Burning Foods

When you eat, a hormone called leptin is released from your fat cells. This hormone increases metabolism while decreasing appetite. Thus, its two main jobs are:

  1. Regulating fat storage and a stable weight
  2. Balancing the body’s energy (i.e. how many calories you eat and burn)

In short, the amount of leptin in your bloodstream is a telltale sign of appetite, body weight, and metabolism (5).

6 Fat-Burning Foods Your Diet Is Missing

When I say, “Eat fat”, I’m not telling you to go buy sticks of butter and munch on those throughout the day.

The quality of the fats you’re eating is crucial and will be revealed in the following 6 foods.

1. MCT Oil Powder

MCT oil is a type of saturated fat that’s derived from coconuts. Hence its name, it’s made up of medium-chain fatty acids (or MCTs)—fat molecules that have between 6 and 12 carbon atoms (6).

Because MCTs have a shorter chain of carbon atoms than other saturated fats (like LCTs), they are readily digestible and transported directly to the liver to be used as energy. Based on this knowledge, it’s believed that MCT oil may lead to weight loss, fat loss, and an increase in basal metabolic rate (calories burned at rest) (7).

This healthy oil is also known for its ability to boost leptin—the hormone responsible for regulating fat storage while balancing your body’s metabolic rate.

We recommend this MCT oil powder for optimal appetite regulation, weight management, and all-day energy.

2. Krill Oil

Consuming fatty, oily fish like krill is a great way to lower your triglycerides—by 10% in fact (8).

Triglycerides are a type of fat, and too much of it can lead to the hardening of arteries or the thickening of the artery walls (atherosclerosis). This heightens the risk of stroke, heart attack, and heart disease like coronary artery disease. Extremely high triglyceride levels can cause acute inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) (9, 10).

In addition to this, krill oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids—EPA and DHA, in particular. These two omega-3 fatty acids are linked to proper fetal development, improved cognitive functioning, weight loss, and more (11).

When it comes to weight loss, research reveals that the EPA and DHA found in fatty fish may promote weight loss and decrease belly fat in those who are overweight (12, 13).

3. Organic Grass-Fed Ghee

Ghee is a type of clarified butter—originating in ancient India—that’s used in cuisine, traditional medicine, and even religious rituals. It’s made by simmering cow milk butter until the water evaporates, and then filtering out the milk solids (14).

In Ayurvedic medicine, ghee is used to improve memory, digestion, and intellectual performance (15).

Ghee contains the omega-6 fatty acid conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). CLA is linked to numerous health benefits, one of which is the reduction of body fat. In one animal study, male mice were fed a CLA mixture for 6 weeks and saw a 50% reduction in body fat and an increase in basal metabolic rate (16, 17).

Although these results are promising, it still remains unclear as to how much CLA one must consume to experience weight loss.

Here are a few ways you can add grass-fed ghee to your daily diet:

  • Sauté vegetables with ghee
  • Spread ghee on a piece of gluten-free toast
  • Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of ghee to your rice, potatoes, or sweet potatoes

4. Nuts

Nuts are a heart-healthy way to lose weight. Rich in fiber, protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, they make for a clean, satiating snack between meals (18).

The following 5 nuts are best for burning belly fat:

  1. Walnuts
  2. Pistachios
  3. Almonds
  4. Cashews
  5. Brazil nuts

If you suffer from digestive issues, try soaking your nuts and seeds. This breaks up their antinutrients, helping you feel less bloated and gassy after eating them.

NativeTip: It’s easy to over-indulge on nuts and seeds. To avoid this, grab a handful of nuts, put them in a small bowl, and snack away.

NativeTip: It’s easy to over-indulge on nuts and seeds. To avoid this, grab a handful of nuts, put them in a small bowl, and snack away.

5. Avocados

The high amount of fat and fiber in avocados makes them exceptional for weight loss—due to their satiating effects.

One study found that individuals who ate half an avocado at lunch were 23% more satisfied. Not only that, but their desire to eat decreased by 28% (19).

Here are a few ways to add avocados to your daily diet:

Note: Half of an avocado is approximately 100 grams, 160 calories, and boasts 15 grams of fat (20).

6. Organic Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) is high in mono-unsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). This type of fat helps keep your heart healthy and your blood sugar stable. EVOO also contains phenolic compounds, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties (21).

Recent research shows that EVOO reduces central obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease (22).

Need some ideas on how to incorporate olive oil into your daily diet?

  • Sauté your vegetables with olive oil
  • Drizzle olive oil on your salad, eggs, meat, and more
  • Add this healthy homemade Caesar Dressing to your salad
  • Try this Roasted Cauliflower
  • Make a Lemon Olive Oil Drink
  • Substitute it for recipes that call for margarine, butter, or mayonnaise

How Much Fat Should I Eat Each Day?

Registered dietitian, Shannon Henry, recommends eating 44 to 77 grams of fat a day (if you eat 2,000 calories a day). This is based on the dietary reference intake (DRI) of fat for adults, which recommends consuming 20% to 35% of your overall calories from fat.

But, which fats should be making an appearance in your diet?

Henry breaks it down for us:

  • Polyunsaturated Fats (PUFAs): 5% to 10%
  • Monounsaturated Fats (MUFAs): 15% to 20%
  • Trans Fat Oil: 0%
  • Saturated Fat: Less than 10%
  • Cholesterol: Less than 300 milligrams per day

Dr. Rashmi Byakodi, writer and editor for Best for Nutrition, chimes in, saying, “A minimum fat intake of 20% ensures adequate consumption of total energy, essential fatty acids, and fat-soluble vitamins.”

She expands, stating, “Although it’s important to include fat in your diet, it’s also essential to understand that not all fats are healthy. Fat from processed food, fried food, or added sugar leads to inflammation and other health problems in your body. Hence, eating natural food that promotes metabolism and fat burning is recommended.”

When Should I Eat Fat-Burning Foods?

Registered dietitian, Shannon Henry, shares research-based suggestions on when to eat fat-burning foods for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if you want to lose weight:

  • Breakfast: Between 7:00 and 7:15 AM
  • Lunch: Between 12:30 PM and 1:00 PM
  • Dinner: Between 6:00 PM and 6:30 PM

Eating at these times will help you create more sustainable energy sources. Henry expands on this notion, saying, “The goal is to eat every meal at the right time so that your blood sugar is stable and your stomach is well digested [to promote optimal weight loss].”

The Bottom Line

The consumption of high-quality fats is essential, yet only 41% of people know this (2).

High-quality fats like MCT oil, grass-fed ghee, and avocados not only promote weight loss, but also prevent coronary heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and more (2).

A healthy intake of fat is between 20 and 35% of your daily caloric intake. So, if you’re consuming 2,000 calories a day, you’d want to eat between 44 to 77 grams of fat to optimize metabolism, cognition, and whole-body health.

Because remember: If you want to burn fat, you have to eat fat.

Certified Health Coach and Head of Content at NativePath (aka I’m the gal responsible for ensuring that every blog we publish helps you live life a little more #OnThePath).

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Medical Disclaimer
This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Chad Walding nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement, or lifestyle program.