50+ Fitness and Fat-Burning Foods

This time of year we are hammered extra heavily with advertisements and claims of the best diet plan. How do you choose the real sound and factual information and skip the hype? Bob and Ron are offering up advice that’s scientific-based and free for the taking.

Bob’s Experience:

I often read articles, actually mostly ads for the newest weight loss diet plan that includes the magic formula of fat burning foods. Fat burning foods… are there such things? The storyline for these diet plans always seems to suggest that specific foods will actually trigger some physical reaction in our body, or metabolism that causes the burning of body fat. Well, I’m suspect of these claims.

One of the reasons I’m suspect is that as an adult with a history of childhood obesity, and a lifelong propensity to pack on the pounds, I have tried most all of these fat burning food plans. Remember the grapefruit diet? I did it. That one was in college, and BTW, I HATE grapefruit! Did I lose some weight? Yes I did, for a few days, but the balance of the diet plan was so restrictive that I gave up out of sheer boredom. And frankly, now that I’m 50 plus, I have learned to enjoy an even greater variety of foods and variety is something that I don’t feel I should have to give up.

I’ve also tried other combinations of foods that were all promoted as the sure-fire way to burn extra body fat. I didn’t see results. But I have often wondered about the reverse of the fat burning food premise, meaning are there foods that actually promote more fat storage? I have to think there are such foods; fatty meats come to mind. But what about carbohydrates and sugars, do they promote fat storage? What about protein?

My feeling is that carbohydrates get a bad rap, and over fatty foods have been given a pass by such popular and heavily promoted diet plans as Atkins. Personally, I always have said “carbohydrates are your friend”! Granted I have mixed reasons for this:

1) I truly feel that I have more workout energy if I eat sufficient carbs and

2) I absolutely love pasta. But there are other good sources of carbs that are non-starchy, broccoli for example, and even blueberries, both foods packed with other important nutrients.

Likewise there are alternative sources of protein beyond fatty meats that contain healthy fat sources, like nuts, egg white omelets, fat free organic milk and others. And don’t forget that our bodies do need some fat in the diet; just choose the healthy fat sources like olive oil, avocado and almonds, etc.

And as for foods that promote fat storage (or are more prone to pack on the pounds), the guy with the expertise in this area is our friend Ron the Trainer. Listen to what he has to say and then refer to our jointly compiled list of favorite foods for staying lean (or reducing body fat) and building and maintaining your muscle.

Ron’s Expertise:

I constantly hear people say that now that they are getting “older” they find it harder to lose weight or maintain the body weight they desire. Unfortunately, many people 50 plus will throw in their age as the reason their body weight isn’t where it should be. But, I suspect that IF they hear all of the good advice on weight control AND really, really, really take a hard look at their lifestyle, age isn’t the factor in being overweight.

But most people like, even crave a variety of good foods. And for many fitness enthusiast the idea of good food is very different from the average American who struggles with the bathroom scale. I suspect the average American is overeating and more sedentary than the fitness industry and US Government recommends.

Now, onto “fat-burning” foods… well, these are actually natural foods that are lower in fat and will help to contribute to weight control and, in some cases, help to lower cholesterol. The fitness industry recommends:

Natural starchy carbs and whole grains include:

  • Wheat Bread
  • Brown Rice
  • All Varieties of Beans – except refried!
  • Hot cereals such as oatmeal, cream of rice, and others which contain barley, rye or oats
  • Sweet Potatoes and Yams – there is a slight difference
  • White Potatoes – just not French fries!
  • Wheat Pasta

Best vegetable choices are:

  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Cucumbers
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Peppers – all colors
  • Spinach
  • Salad greens
  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchini

Lean protein selections:

  • Buffalo
  • Egg Whites (the yolks in eggs are where fat is found)
  • Whey Protein (protein powder supplements)
  • Skinless White Chicken (especially breast meat)
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Lean Ground Turkey
  • Turkey Breast
  • Top Round Steak
  • Flank Steak

Best Fruit Choices:

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Grapefruit
  • Grapes
  • Oranges
  • Grapefruit
  • Peaches
  • Pineapple
  • Strawberries

Of course, all of these great food choices are of no value if you prepare them poorly. I interjected a couple of choice “not” directives, but making good food choices and preparing them well (fruit and vegetables in their natural, uncooked state is best) makes all the difference between struggling with the bathroom scale and succeeding. Meat, poultry and fish should be baked, broiled, etc. to bring out the most flavor and be healthiest.

When choosing healthy, non-processed foods, be sure to include those with the healthy fats included, such as almonds, avocados, extra virgin olive oil, flaxseeds, flaxseed oil supplement, walnuts.

Some of the best advice ever regarding food choices is to limit your grocery shopping to the perimeters of the grocery store – fresh, produce, dairy, meats. The lists here may seem as though you are being limited in your choices but really, when eating fresh and healthy, you don’t have to eat the same things over and over.

So, 50+ or not, don’t throw in the towel when it comes to weight control but also be wary of amazing fat-burning food claims. Nothing tastes as good as healthy feels – so, stay focused on your weight goals, monitor food choices and portions for your 50+/+Fit Quality of LifeStyle!