It’s the best news imaginable: There is such a thing as fat-burning foods—stuff you can stuff into your mouth that will help you trim the fat while you munch. And get this: For some of us, losing weight may actually be impossible without eating them. That’s because apparently, some bodies have a harder time burning fat than others.

According to the book Become a Fat-Burning Machine, there is help in sight. Rather than focusing on the fat in foods, we need to reduce our intake of sugar instead. Here’s why.

Who is at risk

Nearly 35 per cent of American adults suffer from Metabolic Syndrome, also known as MetS. This condition causes the body to store the food as fat rather than burn it ‎for energy. Because MetS is linked to insulin resistance, sufferers find carbohydrates and simple sugars are the biggest problem foods to burn.

The Biggest Loser: Five Foods that Burn Fat FastInsulin is a hormone that shuttles glucose into cells to be used as energy. The insulin receptors on muscles operate under a lock and key system. The insulin docks in an insulin receptor, turns the key, and lets the sugar in. But when you have insulin resistance, the insulin doesn’t open the door. You literally can’t get sugar into your muscle efficiently. When sugar can’t be used by muscles, it has to go somewhere so it gets stored as fat.

With this background information, let’s look at 5 fat burning foods that might surprise you.


1. Oatmeal with half and half

Looking for a grab-and-go breakfast at Starbucks to go with your coffee, and you don’t want eggs? Choose the steel cut oatmeal with the nut topping, sprinkle some cinnamon on top and add some half-and-half if you like. But definitely skip the brown sugar and dried fruit, which would drive calories to 445, with sugar totalling a whopping 36 grams or 9 teaspoons! 

The Stats: Oatmeal with cinnamon and two tablespoons of half-and-half has 295 calories, only 2 grams of sugar and 16 grams of fat. That puts fat calories at about 49% of the meal while sugar is capped at only 3% of the calories.

2. A Simple Egg Sandwich

For a quickie egg breakfast meal on the go, don’t rule out an Egg McMuffin Sandwich from McDonalds. It’s not off limits and in fact, will help you burn fat.

The Stats: An open-faced (eat only half the english muffin) Egg McMuffin Sandwich has only 240 calories and fat calories are roughly 41% of the meal. This choice keeps sugar at only 2 grams or about 1/2 of a teaspoon.

3. Whole Milk Yogurt

An individual serving container of Greek yogurt will give you the fat burning boost without too much sugar and carbs.

The Stats: While milk yogurt has 190 calories and only 8 grams of carbohydrates, making carbs 16% of the calories for this meal choice. Fat is approximately 47% of the meal calories. If you add a tablespoon of chopped walnuts and 1/4 cup of fresh blueberries, total calories are only 261 with fat calories at 52%. Sugar is kept low at only 18% of the calories for this meal.

4. Macadamia Nuts

Almonds are often the snack choice of people moving away from the old low-fat diet principles. If you are only looking at calories and panicking at the high fat content, you are missing some important points. First, compared to other nuts, macadamia nuts contain more heart-healthy monounsaturated fat than any others. Second, fat satisfies hunger for much longer than low-fat, high carbohydrate snacks. That’s why high-fat nut snacks are part of an overall healthy diet day.

The Stats: At 170 calories for 1/4 cup of almonds, fat is at 79% of the calories of that snack. For 1/4 cup of macadamia nuts, calories move to 241 and fat is 93% of that snack.

5. Full-Fat Dressing

Fat-free Catalina Dressing by Kraft has, as you would expect, no fat and also no protein. It has 50 calories for two tablespoons, with 100% of those calories coming from carbs, and 64% of carbohydrate calories come from sugar. Ouch! That’s because the second ingredient in this dressing is high-fructose corn syrup.

You can avoid the problem of added sugar, and other chemicals, by making your own full-fat dressing. Best of all, homemade dressing is really easy.



  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • Fresh herbs, such as rosemary


Place in a small jar and shake until emulsified. This will store on your counter for 3-4 days.

The Stats: If you use half of the recipe on one very large tossed salad, there is less than 1 gram of carbohydrates and 21 grams of fat, most of it coming in the form of very healthy monounsaturated fat.

Hey! Did you know there are foods that put you in the mood? Oh yes. Check out this slideshow. It’s time to rework that grocery list.

Gale Bernhardt is a two-time Olympic coach and the co-author of the bestselling book, Become a Fat-Burning Machine: The 12-Week Diet. For more great recipes and info about how to become a Fat-Burning Machine, click here.




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