Burning fat is the pinnacle of health goals. Here’s our top five ways to burn fat from the experts
Go Fast… But Not Long
Fasted exercise has long been touted around as the simplest way to encourage the body to use its own fat for fuel. ‘That’s because there’s good evidence to suggest that exercising on an empty stomach is beneficial for fat-burning,’ says clinical nutritionist Suzie Sawyer. ‘Working out before breakfast, in a fasted state encourages the conversion of fat to energy. But if people are on a longer fast, then the body tends to ‘protect’ itself because it senses starvation, therefore energy levels will be low. The body will be less efficient at breaking down glycogen from its stores to convert into glucose.’
Don’t Drink Your Calories
Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that up to 37% of people’s daily calorie intake comes from sugar-sweetened drinks – including fizzy sodas – and fruit juices. (That’s before you add the alcoholic variety). These calories fail to make you feel full and simply spike your blood-sugar levels. Opt for whole fruit if you’ve got a sweet craving and low- or no-sugar options when it comes to drinks.
Visualise The Visceral
Unless you undergo a visceral scan to see how much fat is deposited around your organs there’s no way of knowing if you’re a TOFI (Thin Outside, Fat Inside). ‘The body puts excess glucose, stored as glycogen, around the organs safely away from the blood,’ says Sawyer. ‘A diet high in sugar or stimulants is most likely to cause visceral fat to be stored because the hormone insulin is released when blood sugar level rise. This shunts the excess around the body away from the bloodstream – the targets for depositing it are the liver and kidneys, hence the term ‘fatty liver’.’
Get Some Shut Eye
Sleep deprivation has a chronic effect on our fat levels. ‘When sleep is poor, people are tired and lacking in energy and tend to crave sugary foods,’ says Sawyer. ‘It becomes a vicious cycle.’ The body then becomes nutrient depleted. ‘Taking a high potency daily multi-vitamin and mineral (Try: Alive Ultra Wholefood Plus range www.natures-way.com) will give energy levels a boost. Poor sleep also interferes with the satiety hormone ghrelin meaning the body doesn’t sense a feeling of fullness as acutely.’
‘Green tea is great for boosting metabolism and encouraging thermogenesis (calorie burn),’ says Sawyer. ‘Hot spices such as chilli and hot peppers will also have the same effect. Studies suggest that as much as 10% of calories are burned through diet-induced thermogenesis.’ Among other foods that can encourage this are coconut oil, black pepper and proteins.
For the full 21 ways to burn fat, pick up your copy of Healthy For Men magazine in any Holland & Barrett store across the UK