Can Food Really 'Burn' Fat?

Foods can't 'burn' fat, but healthy diets can lead to weight loss

(RxWiki News) Written By Digital Pharmacist Staff

You eat a certain food, and the extra fat on your body burns and melts away. That's the way many advertisements say it's going to work, but the concept of food "burning" fat may be more fiction than fact.

There's no doubt that diet plays a role in weight. What you eat is one of the key factors in how much you weigh. But the idea that eating one food — whether it's fish, green tea, cayenne pepper or something else — will melt away the extra pounds is often a misrepresentation.

Many companies that release claims about the "fat-burning" properties of their products point to the idea that the food or drink appears to speed up the consumer's metabolism, meaning the speed at which the body processes the food, eliminates waste and more. While some of these claims about increased metabolism may be technically true, it's important to keep in mind that a small increase in this area is likely to result in only a minor difference in the number of calories burned.

Another problem with claims about foods that supposedly burn fat is that they may give dieters the idea that they can eat that particular food to make up for other poor diet choices. While it's better to eat a healthy food than an unhealthy food, your body will still see the effects of the high-calorie or high-sugar food you consumed earlier in the day. Even though fish is actually a healthy food to eat, you can't eat fish for dinner and expect the fish to negate the effects of the junk food you ate at lunch.

So, if you want to lose weight, what are you supposed to do? Before you make any major dietary changes, talk to your health care provider. He or she may have some recommendations that are specific to you. But to cut through the potentially misleading claims you're exposed to in ads and other media, it's often helpful to stick to tried-and-true healthy choices.

That means focusing on fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and nuts and seeds. It also means limiting your sugar and alcohol intake, as well as the total number of calories you consume. And if your health care provider approves, it also means adding exercise like walking, jogging or lifting weights to your daily routine.

Traditional healthy choices like these may not "burn" all the fat you're trying to lose overnight, but they're likely to lead to consistent, healthy weight loss and improve your health overall. If you're concerned about your weight, ask your health care provider for help coming up with a healthy weight loss plan.

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Review Date: 
December 21, 2018