May 21, 2013

3 Compounds that Burn Belly Fat


New research is revealing that the secret to weight loss may be more complex than “eat less, move more." The key may be an enzyme called AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) that is found in blueberries, grapefruit, green tea and cayenne peppers.  AMPK’s helps your body utilize sugar which results in boosting your metabolism resulting in weight loss.

AMPK is generally activated during exercise to help muscles use stored sugar and fat for energy. But, AMPK can also be activated by food. The secret to activating the power of AMPK is by including foods that contain polyphenols, nootkatone, and capsaicin all of which activate this fat-burning enzyme.


Polyphenols are antioxidants found in a variety of foods including tea, coffee, vegetables, and chocolate. A powerful polyphenol that has been shown to activate AMPK is called resveratrol and is found in the skin of red grapes and blueberries. Resveratrol can help decrease the development of fat cells and can reduce fat tissue in rats on a high fat diet.

If you having difficulty losing weight, you may want to consider a resveratrol supplement which can help reduce inflammation and may help with weight loss. Or increase your intake of foods high in resveratrol such as red grapes and blueberries. If you are going to drink, choose red wine for the extra resveratrol boost. Remember though, calories do count some, so drinking more wine to try to lose weight will not result in weight loss, just excess calorie consumption.


Nootkatone a component found in grapefruit has been shown to significantly increase fat-burning (AMPK) activity. Nootkatone also increases calorie burn and reduces stomach fat accumulation in rats. Consider grapefruit as vitamin C- rich snack, add grapefruit slices to a spinach salad, or even into an immune-boosting smoothie.


Capsaicin, found in cayenne pepper, can increase calories burned after consumption.  A study in the British Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that when subjects consumed capsaicin for weight maintenance, fat oxidation (the breakdown of fat) was increased. Capsaicin may also stimulate the production of AMPK, leading to further breakdown of fat. Try adding cayenne pepper to recipes like chicken tenders for an extra fat-burning effect or try a detox drink with cayenne pepper.

If you are having difficulty losing weight, adding some fat-burning foods may be key. Also, remember, to get less calories from grains, sugars, and carbohydrates and more from vegetables, berries, grapefruit, nuts, seeds, organic meat and raw dairy.

Key Lessons:

  1. Weight loss may not be as straight forward as “calories in vs. calories out."
  2. An enzyme called AMPK, which helps the body use fat and glucose, may also play a role in helping in weight loss.
  3. Certain foods can activate AMPK, including resveratrol, nootkatone, and capsaicin.
  4. Consume Blueberries, Resveratrol Supplements, Green Tea, Grapefruit, Hot Peppers, and Cayenne Pepper for fat burning fuel.
  5. Try to increase your intake of these “fat burning” foods by replacing other less ideal foods in your diet for optimal weight loss.

CC Photo by brx0

Find more content like this in Imago Wellness Center.

Originally Published: May 21, 2013
Category: Health
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