Foods to Eat to Reduce Body Fat

Updated March 23, 2017

Foods low in calories, saturated fats and trans fats remain the best foods for reducing body fat. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that less than 10 percent of your daily calories come from saturated fats, with total fats comprising only 20 percent to 35 percent of your total daily calories. Healthy fats, such as unsaturated fats and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, make the best choices when creating a daily meal plan. Watching fat intake and including moderate exercise can yield the best results for reducing body fat.

Lean Proteins

Choose leaner portions of meat and fish as part of a balanced diet. Lean protein is a necessary part of building lean muscle mass, a component, along with exercise, in helping the body burn fat. The staff at explains, “Muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue does, muscle mass is a key factor in weight loss.” Lean proteins include chicken (without the skin), fish, shellfish, ground beef with no more than 15 percent fat, beef sirloin, pork loin and chops or lean deli meats. Alternative meats with low fat and cholesterol include buffalo and goat.

Complex Carbohydrates

While filling up on simple carbohydrates like pastries, overly processed foods and other sweets are not beneficial to burning body fat, complex carbohydrates provide the body with healthful energy to stay active and burn more calories. Complex carbs are also a good source of fibre. Fibre maintains blood sugar levels throughout the day and provides bulk, making the body feel full and preventing overeating. These foods include grains, beans and fresh vegetables, all of which have little or no fat. When preparing these foods, it’s tempting to use excess butter or sour cream as condiments. To maintain the benefits of complex carbohydrates, choose unsaturated fats such as flax oil, olive oil or use fresh herbs and spices as a seasoning alternative.

Low-Fat Dairy

Dairy products such as milk, yoghurt and cheese provide good sources of calcium and protein. The USDA recommends 3 cups of milk products per day for adults. Shop for low-fat or fat-free alternatives when possible, but also take a look at the label to consider calories. Some low-fat dairy products, such as yoghurt, are loaded with extra sugars, which can contribute to a higher calorie count. Select cheeses that are lower in fat such as part-skim fresh mozzarella, light cream cheese, reduced-fat cheddar, Swiss and jack and low- or reduced-fat cottage cheese. Reduce the amount of soft or ripe cheeses such as brie and blue cheese as these can contain a higher fat count.

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About the Author

Nikki Jardin began freelance writing in 2009 and focuses on food and travel articles. She has been a professional cook and caterer for more than 20 years. She holds a degree in environmental science from Humboldt State University.