24 Best Foods that help you Burn Fat

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Losing weight with fat-burning foods seems to be global obsessions with thousands of different strategies that help burn calories more effectively. Losing weight by altering your diet to include key fat-burning foods is easier than you might think, as many of these will not only speed up the metabolism but also prevent overeating, reduce fat deposition, and improve your cholesterol profile, all of which can lead to lower levels of fat and better overall health.

Best Fat-burning Foods

There are some incredible fat-burning foods that should be in everyone’s pantry, including avocado, salmon, oysters, lentils, berries, lean meats, and garlic.


Allicin is the active ingredient in garlic, and it has a number of powerful properties when it comes to weight loss, namely helping the body metabolize sugar more rapidly. It is also shown to prevent the buildup of fats in the blood, which can reduce fat deposition. [1]

Lean Meats

As opposed to red meats and fatty meats, lean meats like turkey contribute more to muscle development and growth and are less likely to be stored as fat by the body, leading to lower overall lipid levels and a faster metabolism. [2]


Berries of all sorts have low energy density, meaning they provide a significant amount of fiber and nutrients without contributing many calories to your diet. In addition to this, berries are packed with antioxidants and metabolism-boosting minerals that will increase your passive fat-burning. [3]


One of the best sources of iron in your diet is lentils, providing more than 40% of your daily requirements in a single serving. This can increase circulation and give your metabolism a needed boost, which will help you burn more fat and calories simply by eating them 2-3 times per week. [4]


This popular food has a number of unique qualities that help it burn fat including shutting off the fat-storage signals in the body. This unusual fruit also has the ability to increase energy production in cells and function as an antioxidant to relieve oxidative stress. [5]


This popular fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help to manage blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity, resulting in less empty calorie deposition as fat. Furthermore, salmon is a great stimulant for the thyroid gland, which can boost hormone production and speed up your metabolism, leading to more fat-burning. [6]


In terms of low energy density, oysters are extremely low in calories and very high in certain essential nutrients that can stimulate the metabolism, such as zinc, meaning that you can eat oysters without worrying about putting on any extra pounds! [7]

Flatline view of a salad, biscuits, a glass of water and fork wrapped up in a tape measure, on a slate background.

Eat fresh and healthy food for a low-fat diet. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Foods that Burn Belly Fat

If you are trying to burn belly fat, don’t miss out on fat-burning foods like almonds, eggs, beans, spinach, walnuts, and tart cherries.


These simple nuts are rich in “good” fats, which can improve your cholesterol profile, while also providing the body with fiber that can fill you up and decrease your appetite. The monounsaturated fats in these nuts will also decrease your overall body mass index, which specifically impacts your belly fat. [8]


One of the most basic foods in any diet, eggs are rich in protein and low in calories, making them very filling and stimulating for the metabolism, without adding too many calories to your daily intake. [9]


Eating spinach helps to release leptin, which is the satiety hormone, preventing overeating and snacking between meals, while also delivering dietary fiber, which can help you feel full. This is also complemented by the presence of thyllakoids, which further reduce hunger, without decreasing nutrient intake. [10]


Legumes are excellent sources of fiber and minerals, which can help to lower your bad cholesterol levels significantly, while also filling you up and preventing overeating and other habits that lead to a high-calorie intake. [11]


Most problems with obesity come from eating the wrong types of fat, namely saturated fats but walnuts are rich sources of monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, which can re-balance your cholesterol levels and improve your metabolic speed. [12]

Tart Cherries

Tart cherries are proven to lower inflammation throughout the body including in the blood vessels and arteries, which will lead to less fat and cholesterol deposition, helping to increase circulation and keep your metabolism burning calories even after you finish eating. [13]

Fat-Fighting Foods

The best fat-burning foods are actually spices, seeds or toppings for other food, including turmeric, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, peanut butter, chia seeds, and pumpkin seeds.

Pumpkin Seeds

One of the key nutrients that many people lack is magnesium, but a single serving of pumpkin seeds provides more than 100% of your daily nutrient requirements. Magnesium can induce lipolysis in the body, which is the process by which fat stores in the body are converted into usable energy. [14]

Chia Seeds

These unassuming seeds are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and a significant amount of dietary fiber, which can lower cholesterol levels, speed up the metabolism and stimulate the production of certain fat-burning hormones in the body that can increase your calorie-burning. [15]

Cayenne Pepper

Although cayenne pepper is considered “fiery” in flavor, it is anti-inflammatory in nature, helping to reduce fat deposition and speed up the metabolism, which keeps your body working in fat-burning mode for much longer than normal spices. [16]


One of the best aspects of cinnamon is its inhibitory effect on blood sugar levels, namely by increasing the amount of insulin being produced by the body. Since high blood sugar levels can encourage fat deposition by the body, regulating glucose and increasing insulin will help you fight fat very effectively. [17]

Peanut Butter

Eating peanut butter in moderation can help to lower overall fat levels, since it is rich in “good” fats, while also making you feel full. This means you will consume fewer calories and be less likely to snack between meals. [18]


The active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, has been shown to reduce the growth of fat tissue, meaning less fat deposition and more usable energy. Furthermore, regular consumption of turmeric has been linked to less inflammation in the tissues and organs, higher insulin levels and lower blood sugar levels, all of which means less fat storage in the body. [19]

Raw turmeric root and turmeric powder in a bowl and spoon on wood

Turmeric usually does not cause any serious side effects. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Foods that Help You Burn Calories

Boosting your metabolism to burn more calories can be helped by certain fat-burning foods like brown rice, green tea, dark chocolate, whole grains, and apples.

Whole Grains

When you eat whole grains, it provides a burst of nutrients and fiber into your diet but the unhulled grains help to reduce calorie absorption as the grains are easily digested. The other active ingredients in whole grains can also help boost the metabolism, which leads to burning more calorie, even hours after you’ve finished eating. [20]

Dark Chocolate

Not all chocolates are created equal, and dark chocolate is inarguably the best. Known for its ability to regulate blood sugar, lower blood pressure, and suppress “bad” cholesterol, the flavonoids in dark chocolate can seriously help you burn calories and increase overall energy levels. [21]

Brown Rice

Although even a half-cup of brown rice can have more than 100 calories, the huge levels of dietary fiber, magnesium, protein, and iron all have critical effects on the body. This type of rice will help to increase circulation, suppress hunger, increase muscle development and prevent the storage of fat in the body. [22]

Green Tea

With high levels of antioxidants and significant levels of caffeine, green tea is an excellent way to boost the metabolism, eliminate inflammation of tissues, lower fat deposition and prevent oxidative stress, which can often lead to belly fat gain and other health concerns. [23]


Arguably the most common fruit, apples provide high levels of soluble fiber, which can fill up the stomach, while also delivering critical nutrients that the body’s metabolism needs to operate on a high level. This will keep you satiated and prevent overeating, while also stimulating passive calorie-burning after the meal is over. [24]

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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