We are excited to share one of our fave stories from Prevention here on FitSugar!Power up your fat-burning engine with every bite!
Excerpted from The Active Calorie Diet book by Leslie Bonci, R.D.
A calorie is a calorie, and cutting them is the best way to lose weight, right? Not so fast. New research shows that eating certain types of foods can rev your metabolism, curb your appetite, and help you drop more pounds than others. The Active Calorie Diet, an eating plan based on this research, explains how some foods take more work to eat so you burn more calories during digestion. In fact, just the act of chewing foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean cuts of meat can increase your calorie burn by up to 30 percent!
In this diet plan, foods are broken down into four types of "active calories" — chewy foods, hearty foods, energizing foods, and warming foods. Here's how each one encourages your body to burn more calories.
Chewy Foods (lean meats, nuts, whole fruits and vegetables)
These calories make your body work right off the fork. To maximize the chew factor, choose food in its most "whole" state — apples instead of applesauce, for instance. High-protein foods really are your best ally in the Active Calorie Diet because they take more work to chew and longer to leave your stomach so you take more time eating—and have more time to register that you're full.
Hearty Foods (fruits, vegetables, brown rice, whole grains and cereals)
In addition to being chewy, these active calories are packed with fiber, so they take up more room in your belly (compared to other foods with the same number of calories), and leave less room for second helpings. Foods that take more work to chew literally make your mouth work harder (ramping calorie burn by 10 percent!) and increase the thermic effect of food, the calorie-burn bump we get from eating and digesting any given type of food.
Energizing Foods (coffee, black and green tea, dark chocolate)
You can get metabolism-boosting caffeine in coffee and black tea; just be careful not to load them up with milk, cream, or sugar. Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant, so your daily java or black tea can boost your metabolism by 5 to 8 percent — about 80 to 128 calories a day. Green tea doesn't have much caffeine but it does contain catechins, an antioxidant that raises resting metabolism by 4 percent (about 80 calories a day). Dark chocolate contains both catechins and caffeine, but stick to one ounce per day to limit fat and calories.
More foodie tips to rev your metabolism after the break.
Warming Foods (peppers, cinnamon, ginger, garlic, cloves, mustard, vinegar)
To fully activate the calories from every meal, add some heat. Dieters taking capsaicin, the chemical that gives peppers their burn, doubled their energy expenditure for several hours after eating, according to a new study from UCLA. Even mild peppers contain compounds that help erase up to 100 calories a day by binding to nerve receptors and sending fat-burning signals to your brain. Cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves, and garlic help, too.
Fat-Burning Meal Ideas
Following The Active Calorie Diet is easy and doable because you're probably eating many of the foods on a daily basis already. Your meals will consist of mostly Chewy and Hearty foods, plus at least one Energizing or Warming food. You can have a daily snack that contains at least one type of Active Calorie food. Keep your calories to around 1,500 a day and you could lose up to 14 pounds and four inches in just four weeks.