By focusing on burning fat instead of losing weight, you’ll reduce visceral fat, — a “type of body fat that’s stored within the abdominal cavity [and is] located near several vital organs, including the liver, stomach, and intestines,” and it also has a bad habit of building up in our arteries — naturally boost energy, and you may even be able to improve athletically and get more out of your everyday workouts.
How do you accomplish all of this?
Fat burning isn’t simply about reducing the amount of fat on your body, but it’s also been found that fat is a more effective energy source than glucose. While your body uses glucose first and foremost, fat provides a more sustained and enduring energy source.
Sounds great! So, how exactly do you encourage your body to burn fat?
It’s a combination of both lifestyle — such as exercise, reduced stress, and sleep — and, more importantly, diet. Diet plays a major role in your body’s ability to burn more fat. If you consume large amounts of glucose — either from straight sugar or carbs — then it’ll take your body longer to burn through glucose and start using the stored fat. If you eat a low-carb, low-sugar diet that’s also supplemented with high healthy fat, then your body will more easily be able to burn through the glucose and access those fat stores.
Given that diet plays such a large role in fat burning, it stands to reason that there are a few very specific natural items that may boost fat burning. Research has found that caffeine, green tea extract, protein, soluble fiber, and Yohimbine, — a fat-burning compound found in the “bark of Pausinystalia yohimbe, a tree found in Central and Western Africa” — are all effective natural agents to boost your body’s ability to burn more fat.
The Importance of Fat Burning for Health
It’s widely recognized that the human body requires glucose — sugar — for energy, hence the myth that you should “carbo-load” before any big physical endeavor. With that said, in recent years, it’s been found that healthy fat is also an integral component — maybe even the integral component — for sustained, enduring energy.
On top of that, consumption of healthy fat — such as monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and moderate amounts of saturated — in place of refined foods has been linked to other health benefits including reduction of “harmful LDL cholesterol and [improvements of] the cholesterol profile,” plus it may also lower triglycerides. What’s more? Consumption of omega-3 fatty acids in particular “may help prevent and even treat heart disease and stroke,” along with “reducing blood pressure, raising HDL, and lowering triglycerides.”
When it comes to burning fat for energy, it’s clearly the superior choice.
Even though the body uses both sugar and fat for energy, “research has shown that burning fat is a superior source of energy” due to the fact that fat “provides longer-lasting energy, enhances endurance, and aids in weight loss.” Sugar provides “short-lived burst[s] of energy which can quickly result in a depressed or low-energy state once the effects wear off.”
Get to Know Natural Fat Burners
While we would all love a curated meal plan delivered to our plates every day, that’s not a reality — at least for most of us! Yet, promoting fat burning doesn’t have to put you out. Yes, in order to promote fat burning you have to decrease carbs, which will decrease glucose and increase the use of fat. On the other hand, you can consider adding some natural fat-burning agents in conjunction with an altered diet to give you a leg up.
What are natural fat burners? Honestly, there is a long list of natural agents that can help burn fat including 5-HTP, — an “amino acid and precursor to the hormone serotonin” — synephrine, — a “substance that is abundant in bitter oranges” — green coffee bean extract, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), — a group of “omega-6 fatty acids that may help you burn fat” — and L-carnitine, — a “naturally occurring amino acid.” Yet, many of these compounds haven’t necessarily been tested out for safety. Therefore, it’s best to stick with those that have gone through rigorous testing. These top natural fat burners are caffeine, green tea extract, protein powder, soluble fiber, and yohimbine.
Here’s a closer look at each of these natural fat burners and how they work their magic!
Caffeine — whichever form you choose — provides that wonderful boost of energy to get you going in the morning or keep you going through a long afternoon. Along with an energy boost, studies have found that “caffeine can actually boost your metabolism,” which means that “your body uses fat to produce energy more efficiently.”
Of course, it’s important to note that caffeine is dangerous in high doses, so the all-natural route — coffee or tea — is best rather than going the synthetic route. On top of that, in order for caffeine to really work, it’s important to pair your consumption with regular exercise and a healthy diet.
Green Tea Extract
Matcha powder — the extract of green tea — has become a wildly popular ingredient in everything from baking recipes to smoothies to superfood supplements. This is mostly due to the fact that green tea contains both natural caffeine and a powerful antioxidant called catechin. Combine these two elements and you have a wonderful, healthy natural fat burner!
Protein is an essential macronutrient, which usually plays an integral role in a variety of diets. Yet, if you’re looking for that powerful fat-burning punch, then you may need to source your protein from a naturally-derived powder.
Protein not only burns fat but also “enhances your metabolism” and suppresses your appetite “by reducing a hunger-stimulating hormone called ghrelin.” This combination makes protein an excellent component for those seeking to either lose weight and/or maintain a healthy weight.
Maybe you already know that fiber is incredibly important for health from head to toe, but did you know there are multiple types of fiber — soluble and insoluble —that can play different roles? When it comes to fat burning, soluble fiber is your go-to!
Soluble fiber “creates a sort of gel in your gut by absorbing water,” which in turn “helps increase hormones like GLP-1 that make you feel full while suppressing appetite hormones like ghrelin.” So, how does this relate to burning fat? Turns out that due to an increased feeling of satiety from soluble fiber, you “take in less fat and calories, which allow you to burn excess fat.”
If you’ve heard of this one, then I’m truly impressed! This natural fat burner isn’t necessarily a popularized one in the West just yet.
Yohimbine is an extract from the “bark of a tree called Pausinystalia yohimbe” and it’s been purported in small studies to have fat-burning potential — not to mention it’s a hugely popular aphrodisiac! When it comes to burning fat, yohimbine “blocks alpha-2 adrenergic receptors,” which allows adrenaline to remain “in your body longer [which] … burn[s] fat to produce energy.”
Potential Risks of Synthetic Fat Burners
While natural fat burners provide the body with the tools it needs to naturally burn more fat, it’s not necessarily the simplest, easiest, or quickest route. This is why supplements were created and why many of us turn to them.
Synthetic fat-burning supplements to think twice about include ephedra, orlistat, and glucomannan. On top of that, there are many fat-burning supplements that are marketed as natural, yet research hasn’t proved that they actually work. A few of these include raspberry ketones, beta-glucans, forskolin, hoodia gordonii, and guar gum, to name just a few.
Here are a few things to consider before popping fat-burning pills!
Higher Risk of Contaminated Supplements
Supplementation can be a great way to round out an already healthy diet, yet when it comes to boosting the body’s natural way of working, supplementation can be dangerous. This is especially true when you factor in that supplements aren’t heavily regulated by the government. In fact, when it comes to regulation and guidelines by the Food and Drug Administration “supplements don’t suffer the same severe scrutiny that food and pharmaceutical drugs do,” which means there is far more room for error on the shelf.
When it comes to synthetic supplements, there have been many “cases of fat-burning supplements being pulled off the market because they were tainted with harmful ingredients.” On top of that, these contaminated products have wreaked havoc by causing “dangerous side effects like high blood pressure, strokes, seizures and even death.”
Designed for Weight Loss, Not Fat Burning
While these supplements may be marketed as “fat-burning,” they’re actually designed and targeted for those seeking to lose weight.
This can pose an issue for a variety of reasons.
First off, if you rely on a supplement to help you lose weight, then you will most likely be relying on that supplement to keep the weight off. Without proper modification to your lifestyle habits — such as increased exercise and movement — and diet habits — such as less processed foods and more real foods, maintaining a healthy is damn near impossible. Secondly, if you’re seeking to burn fat for energy to improve athletically, then taking a supplement that is formulated for weight loss won’t necessarily target your specific need and goal.
Want to learn a bit more about healthy, plant-based fat? How about getting your hands on some delicious recipes to boost fat burning? Here are a few articles to boost your knowledge base!
- Getting Energy from Vegetables: How to Burn More Fat and Less Sugar
- 15 Plant-Based Fat-Burning Recipes
- 5 Plant-Based Foods to Aid Weight Loss
- 15 Plant-Based Healthy Fat-Filled Recipes
- The 5 Cleanest Sources of Plant-Based Fats
Learn How to Cook Plant-Based Meals at Home!
Reducing your meat intake and eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammation, heart health, mental wellbeing, fitness goals, nutritional needs, allergies, gut health, and more! Dairy consumption also has been linked to many health problems, including acne, hormonal imbalance, cancer, prostate cancer and has many side effects.
For those of you interested in eating more plant-based, we highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest plant-based recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet.
Here are some great resources to get you started:
- Weekly Vegan Meal Plans
- Plant-Based Health Resources
- Plant-Based Food & Recipes
- Plant-Based Nutrition Resources
- The Ultimate Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition
- Budget-Friendly Plant-Based Recipes
- High Protein Plant-Based Recipes
- Plant-Based Meal Prep
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