For years scientists have searched for a magical ingredient that would help people shed fat. In 2008, Dr. Shalamar Sibley of the University of Minnesota put 38 obese people on an 11-week diet where they consumed 750 calories less than their estimated daily need. Study participants whose blood levels of D were higher at the study’s start lost more weight than participants whose blood levels of D were lower. They actually lost a lot more—70 percent more, to be exact.
Based on the results of this study, by fueling your body with the D-rich nutrients it needs to stay out of a fat-storage state and in a fat-burning state, you can speed weight loss by 70 percent! Thousands of studies on vitamin D have been completed over a span of 40 years, and it’s become clear that vitamin D is pretty incredible and effective. Still, it’s not the only player on this fat-melting team. Turn up your metabolism and melt body fat adding vitamin D and these five fat-melters from The Vitamin D Diet:
HOW IT MELTS FAT: Calcium is a mineral that works in tandem with D to help you shed fat. Calcium is stored in fat cells, and researchers think that the more calcium a fat cell has, the more fat that cell will release to be burned. Calcium also promotes weight loss by binding to fat in your GI tract, preventing some of it from getting absorbed into your bloodstream.
HOW IT MELTS FAT: In addition to keeping hunger in check, regular doses of protein help to keep body composition—the amount of fat relative to muscle—in better proportion. Along with calcium and D, protein helps you to preserve muscle mass as you drop pounds. A recent study out of the University of Illinois found that women who consumed protein twice daily lost 3.9 percent more weight than women who consumed less of it on a diet. They not only lost more weight, they also got stronger as they did so, with their thigh muscles alone ending up with 5.8 percent more protein at the end of the diet than before.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
HOW IT MELTS FAT: Omega-3s enable weight loss by switching on enzymes that trigger fat-burning in cells. They also help to boost mood, which may help reduce emotional eating. And omega 3s might improve leptin signaling in the brain, causing the brain to turn up fat burning and turn down appetite.
You almost can’t consume D without consuming omega-3 fatty acids, and that’s a good thing. Fatty fish like salmon (which are also high in D) are one of the richest sources of this fat. Other foods, such as some nuts and seeds, contain a type of fat that can be converted into omega-3s after ingestion.
Monounsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFAs)
HOW THEY MELT FAT: MUFAs are a type of fat found in olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocados, peanut butter, and chocolate, and they have just one chemical bond (which is why they are called “mono” unsaturated). One Danish study of 26 men and women found that a diet that included 20 percent of its calories from MUFAs improved 24-hour calorie burning by 0.1 percent and fat burning by 0.04 percent after 6 months. Other research shows that MUFAs zero in on belly fat. Specific foods that are high in MUFAs—especially peanuts, tree nuts, and olive oil—have been shown to keep blood sugar steady and reduce appetite, too.
Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)
HOW IT BURNS FAT: CLAs are potent fat burners that are found, along with D and calcium, in dairy products. They are fatty acids that are created when bacteria ferments the food in the first part of the stomach of cows, sheep, and other ruminant animals. The CLA that is created through fermentation then makes its way into the meat and milk of these animals.
When we consume these foods, the CLA helps blood glucose enter body cells, so CLA can be burned for energy and not stored as fat. CLA also helps to promote fat burning, especially in muscles, where the bulk of our calorie burning takes place.
THE WHOLE FAT-MELTING PICTURE
Now before you start superdosing yourself with all of these fat melters and waiting for the fat to magically melt away, let’s be clear: D and other fat melters facilitate weight loss, but they are not magic pills. If you just took a bunch of supplements, you might see some effect—for instance, by swapping some fat for muscle. But to see serious weight loss, you’ll need to combine these fat melters with portion control.