Canadian research has identified a fat-burning molecule in grapefruit. If you drink a glass of grapefruit juice every morning, it could help you lose weight. Meanwhile, scientists in Holland have discovered substances in red pepper and green tea that encourage cells to break down calories faster. Professor Margriet Westerterp-Plantenga of Maastricht University said ‘We identified plant molecules that speed up metabolism and reduce appetite,’. So which plants are proving to be the best fat-busters?
1. Green tea
Green tea speeds up the rate your body burns cellular energy by up to 40 per cent, according to research reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The plant also increases the rate of fat burning. Researchers have found this effect is caused by the combination of caffeine and flavonoids found in the tea, whether it is drunk hot or cold.
TIP: Drink two to three cups a day to keep your metabolism in top gear.
Naringenin, a flavonoid in grapefruit, balances out blood sugar levels and helps to prevent metabolic syndrome, a pre-diabetic condition associated with weight gain around the waist. Scientists at the University of Western Ontario found it worked by programming the liver to burn up excess fat, rather than store it.
Asked to drink grapefruit juice before each meal, obese people lost 31/2-10lb over three months through this alone, according to a study at the University of California.
TIP: Begin your day with a glass of grapefruit juice to kick-start your liver into fat-burning mode. Check with your doctor if you are taking statins or warfarin as drinking large amounts of grapefruit juice may interfere with these medications.
A Scandinavian study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that when volunteers were given rice pudding with three grams of cinnamon, they produced less insulin after the meal. Because insulin is the hormone that turns excess sugar into fat, this means less weight gain. Furthermore, cinnamon may slow down emptying of the stomach, meaning it can make you feel fuller for longer.
TIP: Sprinkle cinnamon on your morning cereal and cappuccino to balance out your blood-sugar levels.
4. Chilli Pepper
Capsaicin, the heat-producing molecule that gives chilli peppers their fiery edge, is thermogenic, meaning it speeds metabolism and heat production. Research has found that cells can burn up to 25 per cent more calories after a person has eaten chilli. Trials at Maastricht University found that chilli peppers also reduce appetite by suppressing hunger and prolonging the feeling of fullness.
TIP: Add some spice to light summery salads or to starters so that you eat less for your main meal.
5. Coconut oil
According to Cherie Calbom, author of The Coconut Diet, when people replace their usual cooking oil with coconut oil they consistently lose weight. Coconut fat yields fewer calories per gram than other fats, producing only 6.8 calories per gram rather than nine calories like most fats. Unlike many others, calories in coconut oil act more like carbohydrates, being burned by the liver for immediate energy. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the body digests coconut oil more easily than the fats in butter or spreads, rapidly converting it into a source of energy.
TIP: Replace your usual cooking oil with virgin coconut oil. (dailymail)