How to supercharge your fat-burning ability, even while you sleep
Excess fat on the body can cause a host of health issues, so here’s what you can do to get rid of it – fast.
Around two in three Australians carry more weight than they should – mostly fat that increases the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.
Body fat may even reduce the amount of grey matter in our brain that helps with muscle control, sight, hearing and memory.
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Burning excess body fat is important, but how?
Stand up as much as you can
On average, Australians sit for at least 7.5 hours a day, while one in 10 of us sit for more than 11 hours.
Sitting for long periods slows our metabolism and has an unhealthy impact on blood sugar, blood pressure and our ability to break up fat.
So it’s important to stand and move more to lower blood glucose and fat levels.
“When we turn off the engine in a car it is stagnant. When we stand up it’s like turning on the engine,” explains Prof David Dunstan, head of the physical activity laboratory at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne.
“Our engine works more efficiently when it is moving – our love affair with the chair has got to stop.”
Plan for protein, carbs and fats of your meals
“Learn the thermic effect of food or TEF – the calories required to digest, absorb and process the nutrients in your meal,” says Dr Vincent Candrawinata, food scientist and creator of activated phenolics antioxidants.
“Protein causes the largest rise in TEF – it increases your metabolic rate by 15 to 30 per cent, compared to 5 to 10 per cent for carbohydrates, and 0 to 3 per cent for fats.
“Plan for meals to be richer in carbs and fat around breakfast and lunch, and have a protein-based dinner.”
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Try a high-intensity workout
Brazilian researchers found people who did high intensity interval training (HIIT) lost 28.5 per cent more fat than people who did longer but less intense exercise sessions.
HIIT involves short periods of intense exercise interspersed with milder intensity exercise, such as a 20-minute session of cycling hard for eight seconds, cycling slowly for 12 seconds, cycling hard again for eight seconds and so on.
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Include phenolics in your diet
“Phenolic antioxidants help to convert some of the fat stored in your body into free fatty acids, which may increase fat burning by 10 to 17 per cent,” says Dr Vincent.
“Activated phenolics also help your cells to produce more energy which further boosts your metabolic rate, especially in the morning.”
Cut back on soft drink
If you drink diet soft drinks every day you may be more likely to accumulate body fat – rather than burning it.
Prof John Dixon, of the Baker Institute, says some artificial sweeteners change our gut bacteria and, over time, this may increase fat around the stomach.
“We can’t absorb the sweet components in these drinks, and they change gut bacteria. This may lead to increased appetite and risk of metabolic disease,” he explains.
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Drink more water
“Often when you think you are hungry, you’re actually thirsty,” says Dr Vincent.
“So instead of reaching for chips, drink a glass of water and wait 10 minutes. Chances are the hunger will pass.
“Drinking water before a meal helps reduce over-eating because water fills you up on empty calories.”
He adds that drinking two glasses of water also increases our metabolism by 10 to 30 per cent for about an hour – which means more body fat burned with minimum effort.
More on fat-burning and dieting:
- The best time of day to burn more calories
- 10 easy weight-loss swaps
- Put down the protein shake – and do this instead
- Why skipping breakfast might help you lose weight
Written by Sarah Marinos.