For the past couple of weeks I have focused on fat loss and the problems that you may be encountering trying to lower your own body fat percentage at this point in the fat loss season. First I looked generally at some of the common causes of stalled fat loss and then I outlined the most common method used to begin losing fat and also looked at a couple of typically forbidden fat loss foods and explained how they could in fact be beneficial to any diet where weight loss is the overall plan. Today I’m going to look at more foods that can help you to lose fat and hopefully give your diet the variety it may be lacking.
If you’re like me, at least in the sense that you love spicy foods, then you may already be doing yourself and your metabolism a big favor by eating hot peppers. The active ingredient capsaicin, found in all peppers but in the greatest amounts in the hot variety, has been shown to both enhance calorie expenditure while at rest and also to reduce hunger and food intake. That is a relatively potent one two fat loss punch packed by the almighty hot pepper.
I already mentioned the benefit of fruit in the article that preceded this one, but in this case I’d like to look specifically at apples. Apples are actually a slow digesting carb source that has many vital antioxidants present. Another big plus is that apple polyphenols, a compound found in all apples, have been shown to boost muscle strength, endurance, and even to increase fat loss. This is explained by understanding that these polyphenol compounds increase the activity of genes that are directly linked to fat usage and these same genes also decrease both fat production and fat storage.
Both green and black tea can be useful in the war against body fat. Green tea gets most of the attention because epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, prevents the enzyme that breaks down neurohormone norepinephrine from being able to do its job. By doing so norepinepherine is able to keep the body’s metabolic rate higher throughout the day and allow more calories to be burned. Black tea on the other hand has been shown to reduce cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone that lowers insulin sensitivity over time and will promote fat storage as well, especially around the abdominal area.
In addition to the above-mentioned foods, these supplements have been proven to assist is fat loss, although like any supplement they are not magic. Your diet still needs to be spot on because no matter how much you take of any supplement they won’t help you at all unless you are already doing the majority of the work. EGCG from green tea extract has been proven to absorb much more effectively than that found in the actual tea. Consider adding the supplemental form of green tea to your diet. CLA has also been shown to both aid in fat loss as well as enhance hypertrophy. Omega-3 has been shown to promote fat loss when used in conjunction with exercise. Lastly in this short list of supplements is one called astaxanthin. A Japanese study conducted in 2008 showed that when astaxanthin was combined with exercise fat loss was accelerated and endurance was improved. The study concluded that astaxanthin protects the system that transports fat into the mitochondria of muscle cells where it is used as fuel.
Lastly, something that isn’t food related at all, but worthy of mention is EPOC. If you have spent any amount of time in the game of fitness, then you have heard the term EPOC thrown around in numerous conversations and articles. EPOC simply means excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. A study performed by the Norwegian University of Sport and Physical Education concluded that heavy weights for low reps produced a greater and more sustained rise in metabolic rate than lighter weights with fewer reps did. This goes directly counter to the typical cutting plan of large amounts of reps with lighter weights, and why I felt it was worth including in this article.
The life of the constantly questing fat loss soldier is a tough one. The rewards are small and the workload is great. If it truly is what you seek then hopefully the above information can be put to good use by those of you willing to do the work. As someone who has just recently renewed his fat loss obsession membership card, I know the dissatisfaction that comes when progress is stalled and I hope this three-part mini series has given you what you need to continue to make progress and get you to your destination.