Not all drinks need to be labeled as no-nos if you're trying to lose weight. Sure, sugary drinks won't help you reach your goals, but we found five drinks that won't hurt your waistline. These beverages burn fat for you, so you can sip sinlessly. (For more healthy drink ideas, download the latest special edition of our digital magazine—free!)
Here's another reason to pop the cork on a bottle of wine: Dark-colored Muscadine grapes—the kind used in many red wines and grape juices—contain a chemical called ellagic acid, which new research has found dramatically slowed the growth of existing fat cells and formation of new ones, so your body burns fat better. The chemical also boosts metabolism of fatty acids in liver cells, which can improve liver function. In a second study, ellagic acid actually lowered the blood sugar of mice on a high-fat diet to almost the same levels normally fed mice. Don't overdo it though. A glass here and there is OK—more than that, and you'll lose any health benefits. (That's just one of 5 Red Wine Mistakes You're Probably Making.)
Skip your afternoon coffee break and choose decaf green tea instead. A combination of green tea and exercise can boost weight loss, say researchers at Penn State University. The researchers believe that green tea modulates genes related to metabolism: Your metabolism speeds up and your body creates less fat. Although the study looked at mice, scientists think humans could have similar fat burning results.
Curcumin, a substance found in turmeric suppresses the expansion and growth of fat tissue by decreasing the development of new blood vessels in fat tissue, an animal study from Tufts University found. In the study, animals that ingested curcumin had less total body fat. While scientists haven't tested the effects curcumin may have on fat tissue in humans, other studies have shown that the substance can prevent against viruses and ease symptoms of depression, so the spice is worth adding to your diet! Brew the bright yellow substance into a tea with this tasty recipe from one of our favorite food and nutrition bloggers, McKel Hill, R.D., of Nutrition Stripped. (See 4 Health Benefits of Fall Spices.)
To burn fat efficiently, your body needs to be hydrated (it's is made up of more than 50 percent water, so hydration is key to many processes!). Without enough H20, your liver has to work harder to process food, so your metabolism slows down. Staying hydrated (8 or more cups a day) keeps it humming along. Plus, water keeps you fuller longer, so you're less likely to reach for a snack when you're not actually hungry. (Try these 8 Infused Water Recipes to Upgrade Your H2O)
You already know that caffeine can help energize, but did you know that drinking coffee before physical activity can also jumpstart your body's fat burning ability? A 2013 study in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism found that certain compounds in coffee can increase the breakdown of fat, so instead of burning through your energy reserve first, you'll burn more stubborn fat first. Experts think the coffee-specific compounds trigger this, not just the caffeine. (Don't go overboard though: How Much Coffee is Too Much?)