With all the wonky wellness claims circling the media these days, it’s understandable to roll your eyes at yet *another* too-good-to-be-true allegation. Foods that burn calories? HA. Riiiight.
But unlike other weight loss and diet myths and headscratchers, this claim has science to back it up. Even though many of these foods won’t burn enough to tip the scales, every little bit helps, right?
Ready to dig in to some energy-torching eats? Here are five healthy foods that may help boost your daily calorie-burning efforts.
1. Hot sauce. Not only is hot sauce low in calories itself, but it might actually help your body sizzle more calories too. How? Capsaicin, an antioxidant found in chili peppers, may help slightly boost your metabolism. What’s more, the heat from the spices can increase your body temperature, making your body work harder.
In one review of studies conducted by the Manchester Food Research Centre in the UK, researchers were studying the role of capsaicinoids (capsaicin being the most common) and their potential role in aiding weight management. Among 563 participants who consumed varying dosages of capsaicinoids, the researchers found that the fiery compound increased energy burn by approximately 50 calories a day.
2. Coffee. Here’s another justification for your coffee addiction: Not only is coffee a measly 5 calories per cup, but your daily caffeine fix may also increase your metabolic rate and boost your calorie burn during workouts.
Many studies have shown that caffeine can increase metabolic rate by 3 to 13 percent, depending on the person and the dose. Even more impressive, some of those studies showed that that metabolism boost lasted up to 3 hours after the caffeine was consumed. (Can you say, “sip, sip, hooray?!”)
Caffeine’s famous energy boost may also help you work out harder or longer, which can amp up the calorie burn during your workout.
Even though coffee has its serious calorie-burning perks, make sure you don’t overdo it. Here are clues that you’re drinking too much coffee.
3. Oolong tea. This Chinese tea is one of the healthiest bevvies you can drink. It’s full of catechins, a compound that’s bursting antioxidants, which has been touted for its heart-health promoting and cancer-fighting properties.
This soothing tea also has a bit of caffeine. According to a review of several studies conducted in the Netherlands, when caffeine and catechins found in oolong tea combine, that’s when the real calorie-burning power begins. Researchers found that catechin-caffeine mixtures, compared to caffeine-only mixtures, increased calorie burn by a whopping 100 calories over 24 hours.
4. Eggs. Eggs are one of the best foods for weight loss. They’re full of nutrients, relatively low in calories (especially the whites, at 17 calories per egg), and chock-full of high-quality protein—about 7 grams per large egg.
Protein not only keeps you fuller, longer, but high-protein foods also have calorie-burning power.
When you eat, your body burns some calories to digest your food. This is called the thermic effect of food (TEF). Studies have shown that protein tends to have a higher thermic effect (20 to 30 percent) compared to carbohydrates (5 to 10 percent) and fat (0 to 3 percent). Pretty egg-cellent, wouldn’t you say?
Concerned about how eggs affect your heart health? Learn more about the effect of eggs on cholesterol here.
To lose weight the healthy way, fill your plate with produce, lean proteins, and whole grains, get regular physical activity, and make your food work as hard as you do by adding these calorie-burning eats into your healthy lifestyle rotation.