Sept. 16, 2012 -- You are NOT what you eat.
If we were what we ate, then people who ate lots of hot dogs and pork chops would be solid walls of muscle. People who ate lots of pasta would be stringy and fat-free. People who ate lots of pecan pie would be Zooey Deschanel (sweet, but nutty and flaky).
And people who ate a lot of fat would be fat.
What's that, you say? That last sentence is true? People who eat fat are fat? Well, no, not necessarily. Science shows that eating fat won't make you fat any more than eating money will make you rich.
Now, eating foods that are packed with the wrong kinds of fat will make you fat. Trans fats found in pie crusts and other baked goods, and saturated fats found in processed and grain-fed meats, add hefty calories while doing mostly harm to your body's nutritional bottom line. But healthy fats will do the opposite: They can quell your appetite, cutting the number of calories you eat in a day, while improving your heart health and stoking your metabolism.
Delicious, fatty foods that help you lose weight? Where can you sign up? Right here! Sign up for the FREE Eat This, Not That! Newsletter and you'll get up-to-the-minute news, tips and studies that can help you lose weight and feel great—without ever dieting!
Yeah, I know: grass-fed beef is a little pricey. But its higher ratio of good-for-you fats make it well worth the cost: A study in Nutrition Journal found that grass-fed meat contains higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to reduce the risk of heart disease. And when it comes to your waistline, grass-fed beef is naturally leaner and has fewer calories than conventional meat.
Consider this: A 7-ounce conventional strip steak, trimmed of fat, will run you 386 calories and 16 grams of fat. But a 7-ounce grass-fed strip steak is only 234 calories and five grams of fat—you'll save more than 150 calories and your steak will taste better. Ready to take advantage of beef's weight-loss potential?
Olive oil is rich in cancer-fighting polyphenols and heart-strengthening monounsaturated fats, and when it comes to looking lean, it's backed by some pretty strong facts. A recent study from Obesity found that an olive-oil-rich diet resulted in higher levels of adiponectin than did a high-carb or high-protein diet.
Adiponectin is a hormone responsible for breaking down fats in the body, and the more you have of it, the lower your BMI tends to be. Reap the benefits by making olive oil your cooking fat of choice and using it in dressings and sauces.
BUST BELLY FAT: Skipping breakfast increases your chances of becoming obese by 4.5 times, making it one of the 20 Habits that Make You Fat! How many do you need to break?
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Coconut is high in saturated fat, but more than half of that comes from lauric acid, a unique lipid that battles bacteria and improves cholesterol scores. And get this: A study published in Lipids found that dietary supplementation of coconut oil actually reduced abdominal obesity. Of the participants, half were given two tablespoons of coconut oil daily and the other half were given soybean oil, and although both groups experienced overall weight loss, only the coconut oil consumers' waistlines shrunk. Sprinkle unsweetened flakes over yogurt or use coconut milk in a stir-fry to start whittling your waist.
SANDWICH SABOTEURS: Restaurant sandwiches are prime suppliers of fatty toppings. Watch out for overblown renditions like The Cheesecake Factory's Grilled Chicken and Avocado Club. Clocking in at an astonishing 1,752 calories, it's one of The 25 Worst Sandwiches in America.
Good news for your sweet tooth: Chocolate can help you flatten your belly. Dark chocolate, that is. But to truly take advantage, don't wait until dessert: A recent study found that when men ate 3.5 ounces of chocolate two hours before a meal, those who had dark chocolate took in 17 percent fewer calories than those that ate milk chocolate. The researchers believe that this is because dark chocolate contains pure cocoa butter, a source of digestion-slowing stearic acid. Milk chocolate's cocoa butter content, on the other hand, is tempered with added butter fat and, as a result, passes more quickly through your GI tract. Because dark chocolate takes more time to process, it staves off hunger and helps you lose weight. (Click here for more "Bad" Treats That Are Actually Good for You)
Numerous studies have indicated that almonds can help you lose weight despite their high fat content. In fact, a study from the International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders compared two diets over the course of six months. One group followed a low-fat, calorie-restricted diet (18 percent fat) and the other followed a moderate-fat diet (39 percent fat) in which the extra fat was supplied by almonds. The latter group lost more weight than the low-fat dieters, despite the fact that both groups consumed the same amount of total calories. Furthermore, the almond eaters experienced a 50 percent greater waistline reduction.
How is this possible? Almonds contain compounds that limit the amount of fat absorbed by the body, so some passes through undigested. Try stirring almond butter into your oatmeal, spreading it on toast with banana slices, or eating a couple spoonfuls as a snack.
When all is said and done, eating these foods will ultimately help you lose weight, but to get complete satisfaction, you need to incorporate exercise. Incinerate fat and sculpt your body with SPEED SHRED, the new 8-DVD fitness program from Men's Health DeltaFIT.
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