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8 Ways to Burn Calories and Fight Fat

These healthy habits may help give your body a calorie-burning boost.
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2. Do Strength Training to Build Muscle continued...

"The most effective way to increase metabolism and burn more calories is by aerobic exercise and strength training. Both are important," Megan A. McCrory, PhD, a researcher with the School of Nutrition and Exercise Science at Bastyr University, says in an email interview.

Strength training becomes especially important as we get older, when our metabolisms tend to slow down. One way to stop this is to add some strength training to your workout at least a couple of times a week. The largest muscles (and therefore the largest calorie burners) are in the thighs, abdomen, chest, and arms.

3. Drink Caffeinated Green or Black Tea

Caffeine is a stimulant, and stimulants tend to increase the calories you burn. One likely reason is that they give you the short-term impression that you have more energy, which could mean you move more. Caffeine may also cause metabolic changes in the body that can result in more calories burned.

"Even older studies have suggested that 250 milligrams of caffeine consumed with a meal can increase the calories spent metabolizing the meal by 10%," says Jamie Pope, MS, RD, LDN, a nutrition lecturer at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. Over time, this could be significant, Pope says in an email interview: "About 75 calories per day translates to over 2,100 calories in a month’s time."

Over the past few years, some studies have hinted that green or black tea may have benefits beyond the caffeine they contain.

One study noted a reduction in food intake in rats that were given a polyphenol found in green tea. Another study, in humans, concluded green tea had heat-producing and calorie-burning properties beyond what can be explained by caffeine. When 31 healthy young men and women were given three servings of a beverage containing green tea catechins, caffeine, and calcium for three days, their 24-hour energy expenditure increased by 4.6%, according to the research from Lausanne University in Switzerland.

Drinking tea with meals may have another fat-fighting effect. Tea extract may interfere with the body's absorption of carbohydrate when consumed in the same meal, according to a study published in the September 2006 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

While all these possible effects are slight, there is yet another bonus to drinking tea. Having a zero-calorie cup of tea instead of a beverage with calories (like a soda) will certainly reduce the number of calories you take in.

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