The Top 7 Gluten Free Fat Burning Foods
More than fifty-percent of Americans are significantly overweight, thanks largely to mass grain consumption, processed foods, refined flours, and sugars. Fortunately, many people are committing themselves to getting healthy, losing weight and reclaiming the lives they deserve. In my book, No Grain No Pain, I talk about “Grainbesity”, the process of excessive weight gain or gluten belly fat that occurs in people following a grain heavy diet.
The Grainbesity Cycle
Can gluten cause belly fat or general weight gain? The body steals protein from the muscle bank to feed the immune system to combat the inflammatory effects of grain consumption, causing gluten belly fat. The body also increases its production of the hormone cortisol to fight this inflammation. The result? Inflammation and pain as muscle shrinks (atrophies) and compresses joints. Many of the drugs used to mask pain or reduce inflammation interfere with long term healing and can over time actually damage the gut, causing more pain and inflammation. Moreover, such drugs deplete the body of vitamin B12 and other vital nutrients essential to healing (watch this video for more on this).
The chronic pain that results leads to exercise avoidance which makes you more likely to gain weight, which makes it harder and more painful to be active… the cycle never ends until the diet changes.
Contrary to popular belief, gluten sensitivity contributes to obesity much more commonly than it contributes to weight loss. Most people with gluten sensitivity struggle with an inability to lose weight, and for this reason, I put together a list of high quality TRUE gluten free fat burning foods.
The Value of Fat Burning Foods
Going gluten free for many will lead to fat loss, but I created a list of foods that can help expedite this process in a healthy manner.
What are fat burning foods? They are foods that have been clinically shown to help burn fat in any number of ways. Some of them boost metabolism. Some help prevent carbs from being stored as fat. Others prompt hormonal responses that signal the body to release fat you already have stored. Still others help regulate blood sugar and reduce insulin, which is a fat-storing hormone.
In a quest to lose fat, it’s important to include plenty of fresh, whole foods in the diet and to make fat burning foods a part of your diet as well. But if you’re also sensitive to gluten or have been diagnosed with Celiac disease, it can be difficult to know which gluten free foods are best for helping you to burn fat. We’ve compiled a list of 7 of the best TRUE gluten free fat burning foods to help you make the best choices.
These are in no particular order.
- Dark, leafy greens – Dark, leafy greens, such as Romaine, spinach, collards, watercress and kale, are incredible resources for a number of antioxidants. But as a fat loss food, leafy greens score because of their Vitamin C content. Our bodies use Vitamin C in the formation of l-carnitine, a compound very important to fat loss. L-carnitine transports stored fat to the liver, where it can be converted to glycogen and burned as energy. You need plenty of Vitamin C in your diet because it’s not stored in large quantities, so get at least two big servings of leafy greens each day.
- Turmeric – Turmeric is a calorie-free fat burning food, which makes it a one-two punch. Turmeric is the spice that gives curries their yellow color and is often used as a substitute for the very expensive saffron. It’s absolutely delicious in soups, stews, curries and on grilled fish and meats. Turmeric does two things that make it a fat burning food. First, it has been shown in several studies to help regulate blood glucose levels, which reduces blood insulin as well. Second, it has been found to boost metabolism naturally.
- Ginger – Ginger also boosts metabolism. Additionally, it aids digestion and reduces inflammation. Inflammation causes an increase in the production of cortisol, a fat storing hormone. By reducing inflammation, you also reduce cortisol levels, which will prompt your body to start burning stored fat. The research that has been conducted on ginger as a fat burning food has been done using fresh root, so pick up some fresh ginger in the produce section. Just a little bit goes a long way.
- Nuts – Nuts are a wonder as far as health and they’re also one of the best fat burning foods. They’re high in Omega-3 fats, which are not only great for your health but also help stabilize moods, which can prevent emotional eating. They’re also loaded with many of the antioxidants needed to reduce inflammation and cortisol and keep blood sugar steady. Nuts and seeds are also a crunchy, satisfying snack full of fiber, which you need if you’re on a gluten free diet. The best types of nuts to use as a fat burning food are walnuts, almonds, and coconut. You’ll also benefit from using the oils from these nuts in place of canola, vegetable, or other less healthy oils.
- Grapefruit – Grapefruit is truly one of the best foods you can include on a gluten-free diet because it helps fight the effect that gluten has had on your body. Grapefruit has one of the highest concentrations of Vitamin C of any fruit or vegetable, delivering 59% of your RDA in one serving. Vitamin C not only boosts the immune system, it also is used by the body to repair or reproduce every cell in your body. Red and pink grapefruit are also high in the carotenoid lycopene. Lycopene is the most powerful of the carotenoids in fighting the damage caused by free radicals, which damage literally every cell in the body. Lycopene has even been shown to fight tumor growth in cancer patients.
- Organ meats – Organ meats have gotten a very bad rap lately, because pesticides, hormones, and other dangerous toxins are found in high concentrations in organs. However, organic, grass-fed organ meats are some of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world. They’re loaded with high-quality amino acids, healthy fats, iron, B vitamins (especially B-12), CoQ10, and vitamins A, D and K, fat-soluble vitamins that promote mineral absorption. Try to include liver, kidneys and even brains into your diet and you’ll be doing your body a real nutritional favor.
- Green tea – Green tea is one of our favorite fat burning foods, for several reasons. First, it’s an excellent substitute for sodas, coffee, and other less healthy beverages. Second, it’s loaded with antioxidants. Third, its catechin content speeds metabolism without making you jittery.
By including these seven gluten free fat burning foods in a diet full of whole, fresh vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins, you can burn fat faster and do it without starving yourself or depriving yourself of pleasure. Those two things are key to success on any diet.
Don’t Forget About Exercise
This is the missing element for many. The gluten free diet change can help with weight loss, but without exercise, most his a weight loss plateau. New research has shown that the best way to exercise for a longer life is also the best way to exercise for fast fat loss.
Research Shows You Can Exercise for Fast Fat Loss and Long Life Simultaneously
A study, conducted in Australia and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine, found that very short durations of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) reduced mortality rates far more significantly than longer bouts of moderate exercise.
In the study, researchers examined the health data of 200,000 adults, noting how often and how vigorously each person exercised, and then comparing this data to the death statistics among the participants.
What they found was that people who followed the current guideline of moderate exercise for 150 minutes per week reduced their risk of early death. However, those who spent up to 30% of their exercise time working out at a high intensity (a total of 45 minutes during the week) were 9% less likely to die prematurely than the moderate group. Even more motivating, people who exercised at a high intensity for more than 30% of their workout time (45 minutes and up per week) reduced their risk of early death by an additional 13% over those who worked out moderately.
Why is this so exciting? Because HIIT, or high-intensity interval training has already been proven in study after study to be the best way to exercise for fast fat loss.
HIIT – The Best Way to Exercise for Fast Fat Loss
High-intensity interval training is the best way to exercise for fast fat loss for a number of reasons. First, let’s look at the physiological reasons.
HIIT places a far greater demand on your body because of the constant challenge of switching from moderate work to short bursts of very intense work. This boosts your metabolism for up to 48 hours after your workout. HIIT has also been shown in research studies to help regulate insulin release and blood sugar levels, which helps prevent the storage of new fat and prompt the release of fat you already have stored in your abdomen.
Now for some other important reasons why HIIT is the best exercise for fast fat loss.
You can adapt almost any type of cardio to HITT, be it walking, running, swimming, biking, or even weight-training, so there’s a way for you to do HIIT no matter which type of cardio you prefer. Contrary to some people’s misconceptions, HIIT is not just for the advanced exerciser. Even people who have been sedentary for years can do HIIT, because “high-intensity” means high-intensity for you, at your current fitness level.
Lastly, but most importantly in some cases, HIIT workouts take up very little time. You can get in a very effective HIIT workout in as few as ten minutes, three times per week. That means that anyone can include HIIT on their schedules, no matter how busy they are. As a bonus, you can do HIIT anywhere, without any equipment at all.
All of this adds up to HIIT being the best exercise for fat loss because it is effective, accessible to anyone, and doable for anyone, no matter their fitness level, busy schedule, or budget.
How to Incorporate HIIT Into Your Life
Starting a HIIT routine is extremely simple. The protocol is to warm up for at least two minutes, then work out at a moderate pace for two minutes, then at the highest intensity you can perform for 15 seconds. You repeat those last two steps 2-4 times, then cool down.
How many times you repeat the cycle depends on your fitness level and the time you want to spend. What you do depends on your personal choice. You can walk/run, jog/sprint, swim the crawl/swim the butterfly, cycle on flat ground/cycle uphill or in a lower gear, and so on.
As you adapt, it is just as easy to ramp up your workout. Simply make the moderate periods shorter and the intense periods longer.
Not only does HIIT lead to fast results in muscle gain and fat loss, you’ll also have the psychological satisfaction of knowing that you’re doing something to improve the quality AND quantity of your life.
- Gebel K, Ding D, Chey T, Stamatakis E, Brown WJ, Bauman AE. Effect of Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity on All-Cause Mortality in Middle-aged and Older Australians. Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine. 2015 Apr 6.
- Gibala, Martin J, McGee, Sean L. Metabolic Adaptations to Short-term High-Intensity Interval Training: A Little Pain for a Lot of Gain? American College of Sports Medicine – Exercise & Sport Sciences Reviews. April 2008 – Volume 36 – Issue 2 – pp 58-63.
- John A Babraj, Niels BJ Vollaard, Cameron Keast, Fergus M Guppy, Greg Cottrell and James A Timmons. Extremely short duration high intensity interval training substantially improves insulin action in young healthy males. BMC Endocrine Disorders 2009, 9:3.
Always looking out for you,
Dr. Osborne – The Gluten Free Warrior