Normally, we focus on what foods to avoid when talking about getting ripped. And we all know the culprits: sugar, processed foods, breads, pastas, desserts, etc … but I want to take a minute to acknowledge the foods that can actually help you shred (yep, they exist!).
Many of these foods are not only lower in calories, which is the typical reason you hear certain foods like veggies promoted for helping with weight loss; these foods also contain certain compounds that may increase metabolism, or even suppress your appetite.
I suggest that if you’re trying to get ripped, or even just tone up a bit, that you make these foods central to your daily diet, alongside removing the high-sugar and processed foods. There’s a reason “they” say weight loss is 80 percent diet: because it’s absolutely true. Not only does eating healthy provide your body with foods that nature intended, thus making it easier to maintain an optimal weight, but they also fully nourish and provide you with fuel so that you can crush your workouts.
It’s a win-win situation.
Check out the fat-burning foods to toss into your regime below.
What to Eat to Get Ripped
When it comes to fat loss, eggs are truly a powerhouse food. One 8-week study found that participants who ate three eggs for breakfast consumed 400 fewer calories per day and had a 16% greater reduction in body fat, compared to the group who ate bagels instead. [*] Another found that breakfasts that include eggs reduce hunger and promote feelings of fullness for several hours in overweight and obese people. [*]
The reason for this may be the high protein content of eggs (and protein is one of the most satiating macronutrients) along with the healthy fat and nutrient content.
Try having eggs for breakfast instead of bagels or other carb-rich foods. Make sure to grab free-range or pasture-raised to make sure you’re getting top-quality eggs.
2. Wild Fatty Fish
Like eggs, wild fish is chock full of satiating protein. However, that’s not the only thing that makes it a supreme shredding food.
Studies have found people who take fish oil experience fat loss and lower cortisol levels (this stress hormone that can make you gain fat), and researchers theorize this could be due to its high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids. [*]
Ideally, aim to eat wild salmon, herring, sardines, and/or mackerel at least 3 times per week to see benefits.
Yep, coffee does more than just wake us up.
It turns out caffeine, in which coffee is rich in, can have a pretty significant effect on fat burn.
One study found that people who took caffeine an hour before exercise burned nearly twice as much fat and were able to exercise 17% longer than the non-caffeine group. [*] Others have found that caffeine increases metabolic rate by an impressive 3–13%. [*][*]
To cash in one coffee’s effects, aim for 1-4 cups per day (forgo the sugar in favor of stevia), and even try it before a workout.
4. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is rich in medium-chain fatty acids (MCTs), which have been proven to help boost metabolism and fat loss.
In one study, obese men added 2 tablespoons of coconut oil per day to their usual diet and roughly 1 inch from their waist without making any other diet changes or increasing their physical activity. [*]
If you’ve ever seen recipes for “keto coffee,” they often include coconut or pure MCT oil for this purpose. You can try adding a tablespoon to your coffee with a non-dairy milk and stevia, or even saute foods in it.
5. Chili Peppers
Cheers if you like spice. It turns out chili peppers’ heat can, quite literally, increase fat burn.
Capsaicin, the main compound in chili peppers, has been found to increase metabolism to help you burn more calories, while also preventing overeating. [*] One study also found that when calorie intake was restricted by 20%, capsaicin counteracted the slowdown in metabolic rate that typically occurs when we restrict our calories for too long. [*]
Add some chili power or a pinch of cayenne to your dishes to spice up the fat-loss benefits.
6. Olive Oil
Olive oil is another healthy fat that appears to do wonders for not only your health, but your metabolism.
Studies have found it can increase fat oxidation and boost metabolic rate, while also helping you feel fuller. [*][*] Other research have shown it can turn up your metabolism for several hours after eating. [*]
You can drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil on your salads, and bake, saute, or roast veggies in it for a deep flavor.
7. Whey Protein
If you need to grab a protein shake, definitely reach for whey protein if fat loss is the goal.
Studies show it can keep you feeling fuller by stimulating the release of “fullness hormones” such as PYY and GLP-1, possibly making you eat less calories overall. [*]
There are also beverages like green tea and apple cider vinegar that have show promising effects on fat loss, if you’re up for drinks.
Again, be sure to incorporate this foods on the daily into your diet and, as long as you keep the rest clean (lots of wild meats, veggies, leafy greens, nuts and seeds, and clean carbs like sweet potato) and don’t overdo it on portions, you should start to see a shift in your fat stores.