Natural Fat-Burning Foods? Here Are 6 of Them (Plus When to Eat Them)

May 25, 2023

Remember in the 1970s when fats were forbidden?

It all started with a guidebook called The Dietary Goals for the United States. These guidelines—published in 1977—condemned fats, recommending that Americans “reduce overall fat consumption from approximately 40 percent to about 30 percent of energy intake”. They even went so far as to say that fats (from meat, eggs, and cheese) cause obesity, heart disease, cancer, and stroke (1).

However, this sage advice only led to an overconsumption of processed carbohydrates and added sugars—resulting in “the obesity epidemic” (2, 3).

Fat is not the enemy. Your cells need fat (and lots of it) in order to function properly. In this blog we asked a registered dietician what healthy fats one should add to their daily diet to burn fat. Read on to find out…

Table Of Contents

What Are Fat-Burning Foods?

Fat-burning foods are foods that promote fat loss by activating your metabolism, curbing your appetite or cravings, and reducing overall food intake.

When you eat, a hormone called leptin is released from your fat cells. This hormone increases metabolism while decreasing appetite. Thus, its two main jobs are:

  • Regulating fat storage and a stable weight
  • Balancing the body’s energy (i.e. how many calories you eat and burn)

In short, the amount of leptin in your bloodstream is a telltale sign of appetite, body weight, and metabolism (5).

All foods trigger your metabolism, but there are certain high-fat foods that are significantly better at activating the metabolism than others.

NativePath MCT Powder container with a French Press and person scooping the powder into a mug of coffee.

Boost Energy & Burn Fat

NativePath MCT Powder provides your brain, muscles, and other tissues with fast energy. If you’re looking for enhanced mental clarity, curbed cravings, or easier weight loss, this is it.

6 Fat-Burning Foods Your Diet Is Missing

When I say, “Eat fat”, I’m not telling you to go buy sticks of butter and munch on those throughout the day.

The quality of the fats you’re eating is crucial and there are six fatty foods stand out among the rest.

1. MCT Powder

MCT powder is a type of saturated fat that’s derived from coconuts. Hence its name, it’s made up of medium-chain fatty acids (or MCTs)—fat molecules that have between 6 and 12 carbon atoms (6).

Because MCTs have a shorter chain of carbon atoms than other saturated fats, they’re easily digestible and transported directly to the liver to be used as energy. Based on this, MCT oil may lead to weight loss, fat loss, and an increase in basal metabolic rate (calories burned at rest) (7).

MCT powder is also known for its ability to boost leptin—the hormone responsible for regulating fat storage while balancing your body’s metabolic rate.

MCT powder is an easy way to add MCT into your diet.

2. Krill Oil

Consuming fatty, oily fish like krill is a great way to lower your triglycerides (8). Triglycerides are a type of fat that can lead to the hardening of arteries or the thickening of artery walls (atherosclerosis). This heightens the risk of stroke, heart attack, and heart disease like coronary artery disease. 

Extremely high triglyceride levels can cause pancreatitis (9, 10).

In addition to this, krill oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA, in particular). These two omega-3 fatty acids are linked to proper fetal development, improved cognitive functioning, weight loss, and more (11).

When it comes to weight loss, research reveals that the EPA and DHA found in fatty fish may promote weight loss and decrease belly fat in those who are overweight (12, 13).

3. Organic Grass-Fed Ghee

Ghee is a type of clarified butter—originating in ancient India—that’s used in cuisine, traditional medicine, and religious rituals. It’s made by simmering cow milk butter until the water evaporates, then filtering out the milk solids (14).

In Ayurvedic medicine, ghee is used to improve memory, digestion, and intellectual performance (15).

Ghee contains the omega-6 fatty acid conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). CLA is linked to numerous health benefits, one of which is the reduction of body fat. In one animal study, male mice were fed a CLA mixture for 6 weeks and saw a 50% reduction in body fat and an increase in basal metabolic rate (16, 17).

These results are promising, more research needs to be done on how much CLA you need to consume for weight loss. 

Next time you saute your vegetables try a couple tablespoons of ghee instead of butter or toxic vegetable oil.

4. Nuts

Nuts are a heart-healthy way to lose weight. Rich in fiber, protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, they make for a filling, nutrient snack between meals (18).

These 5 nuts are best for burning belly fat:

  • Walnuts
  • Pistachios
  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Brazil nuts

If you suffer from digestive issues, try soaking your nuts and seeds. This breaks up their anti-nutrients, helping you feel less bloated and gassy after eating them.

It’s easy to over-indulge on nuts and seeds. To avoid this, grab a handful of nuts, put them in a small bowl, and snack away.

5. Avocados

The high amount of fat and fiber in avocados makes them exceptional for weight loss—due to their satiating effects.

One study found that individuals who ate half an avocado at lunch were 23% more satisfied. Not only that, but their desire to eat decreased by 28% (19).

Here are a few easy (and delicious) ways to add avocados to your daily diet:

  • Add sliced avocado to your eggs, burgers, salads, and more.
  • Make fresh guacamole.

6. Organic Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) is high in mono-unsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). This type of fat helps keep your heart healthy and your blood sugar stable.

EVOO also contains phenolic compounds, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties (21). Recent research shows that EVOO reduces central obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease (22).

Need some ideas on how to incorporate olive oil into your daily diet?

NativePath MCT Powder container with a French Press and person scooping the powder into a mug of coffee.

Boost Energy & Burn Fat

NativePath MCT Powder provides your brain, muscles, and other tissues with fast energy. If you’re looking for enhanced mental clarity, curbed cravings, or easier weight loss, this is it.

How Much Fat Should I Eat Each Day?

Registered dietitian, Shannon Henry, recommends eating 44 to 77 grams of fat a day (if you eat 2,000 calories a day). This is based on the dietary reference intake (DRI) of fat for adults, which recommends consuming 20% to 35% of your overall calories from fat.

But, which fats should be making an appearance in your diet?

Henry breaks it down for us:

  • Polyunsaturated Fats (PUFAs): 5% to 10%
  • Monounsaturated Fats (MUFAs): 15% to 20%
  • Trans Fat Oil: 0%
  • Saturated Fat: Less than 10%
  • Cholesterol: Less than 300 milligrams per day

Dr. Rashmi Byakodi, writer and editor for Best for Nutrition, chimes in, saying, “A minimum fat intake of 20% ensures adequate consumption of total energy, essential fatty acids, and fat-soluble vitamins.”

She expands, stating, “Although it’s important to include fat in your diet, it’s also essential to understand that not all fats are healthy. Fat from processed food, fried food, or added sugar leads to inflammation and other health problems in your body. Hence, eating natural food that promotes metabolism and fat burning is recommended.”

When Should I Eat Fat-Burning Foods?

Registered dietitian, Shannon Henry, shares research-based suggestions on when to eat fat-burning foods for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if you want to lose weight:

  • Breakfast: Between 7:00 and 7:15 AM
  • Lunch: Between 12:30 PM and 1:00 PM
  • Dinner: Between 6:00 PM and 6:30 PM

Eating at these times will help you create more sustainable energy sources. Henry expands on this notion, saying, “The goal is to eat every meal at the right time so that your blood sugar is stable and your stomach is well digested [to promote optimal weight loss].”

NativePath MCT Powder container with a French Press and person scooping the powder into a mug of coffee.

Boost Energy & Burn Fat

NativePath MCT Powder provides your brain, muscles, and other tissues with fast energy. If you’re looking for enhanced mental clarity, curbed cravings, or easier weight loss, this is it.

The Bottom Line

Remember: If you want to burn fat, you have to eat fat.

High-quality fats like MCT oil, grass-fed ghee, and avocados not only promote weight loss, but also prevent coronary heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and more (2).

A healthy intake of fat is between 20 and 35% of your daily caloric intake. So, if you’re consuming 2,000 calories a day, you’d want to eat between 44 to 77 grams of fat to optimize metabolism, cognition, and whole-body health.

Caroline Nicks, NASM CPT
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Caroline Nicks, NASM CPT

Caroline Nicks is the Director of Content at NativePath. Her frustration with the lack of transparency in the food industry—and her slight obsession with checking ingredient labels—led her to obtain her health coach certification (IIN) and personal training certification (NASM) right out of college.

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    Medical Disclaimer

    This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Chad Walding nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement, or lifestyle program.

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