Top 10 Calorie-Burning Foods

It goes without saying that running burns calories. Any physical activity you engage in burns calories, it’s where the energy comes from. But what many people don’t know is that there are calorie-burning foods.

Just about everything that you do during the day burns calories. That includes eating. There are some foods that burn more calories than others. The top calorie-burning foods have other important nutritional benefits as well.

How does food burn calories?

When you eat, you consume calories. 

Your body uses those calories for energy. Even the act of chewing and digesting foods requires your body to burn calories. A process scientists call the thermic effect of food

Burn calories when you eat

Can the act of eating burn a lot of calories? Short answer, not really.

The calories your body burns eating and digesting food only make up about 10% of your daily calorie expenditure.1 So, for a 2,000-calorie diet, you burn about 200 of those calories from eating food, regardless of the foods you choose. 

Choose the right calorie-burning foods

Finding the right foods can help your body burn more calories.

Many of the foods that are known to help burn calories have other nutritional benefits. These foods can do the following:

  • Provide your body with essential macro and micronutrients
  • Help you to feel satiated and satisfied
  • Allow you to consume more nutrient-dense food with fewer calories

What calorie-burning foods to eat

While you may burn calories digesting just any food, the right foods will burn more calories.

For example, the consumption of proteins burns more calories. Your body works harder breaking down proteins than it does for fats or carbs. That extra work burns calories.

There are other foods that can help your body burn calories. Here’s the list.

calorie-burning foods

1. Eggs are calorie-burning foods

Eggs are a great calorie-burning food. They are packed with many essential amino acids and high-quality protein.

But aren’t yolks high in cholesterol?

Not necessarily. Whole eggs have actually been shown to help protect heart health in those at increased risk of disease.

Recent studies have found that egg-based breakfasts actually reduced hunger and promoted feelings of satiation for many hours in overweight and chubby people.

One of the main reasons eggs are so filling may be due to the calorie burning that occurs during protein digestion.

To sum it up, eggs are great for you. They are a high-protein food that can:

  • Help reduce feelings of hunger
  • Help you feel full
  • Burn calories
  • Protect your heart
calorie-burning foods chili peppers

2. Chili Peppers

Red Hot Chili Peppers is not just a great band, but one of the great calorie-burning foods.

Chili peppers are great for adding a little heat to food. The active ingredient capsaicin has been found to have metabolic-boosting properties.

In recent studies, the active ingredients in chili peppers have powerful antioxidants that:

calorie-burning foods oats

3. Oats

Not just for horses anymore.

Oats are one of the perfect additions to any fat or calorie-loss diet. Both low-fat and low-calorie, oats are also low on the glycemic index (GI) which means they digest slowly causing your body to burn calories.

Due to the low GI, oats help to stabilize blood sugar levels and provide sustained energy release over time. So add oats to your diet today.


  • Low glycemic index food
  • Stabilize blood sugar

4. Greek Yogurt

There are two kinds of people – Greeks, and everyone else who wish they was Greek. 
-Gus Portokalos, My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Chock full of protein, calcium, and less sugar than traditional yogurts, full-fat Greek yogurt is a power food you should add to your grocery shopping list. It can help you feel fuller for longer and is a perfect post-run treat.  

More than just a calorie-burning food

Surprisingly, Greek yogurt also has certain nutrients that can be linked to a healthy thyroid and metabolism.

Promote metabolic health

Greek yogurt is a great source of iodine, which promotes metabolic function. Low iodine levels have been shown to reduce your metabolism which can result in more food being stored as fat.

Thyroid functionality

 If you experience changes in weight loss, it can often be a thyroid issue. Iodine has been shown to be an essential component of a healthy thyroid.

calorie-burning food green tea

5. Green Tea 

Great beverage choice for overall health. With so many benefits, green tea is a power drink.

Fat burning drink

Your body breaks down fat contained within the cells in a process called lipolysis. This is spurred by the hormone, norepinephrine. Green tea contains an antioxidant known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) which reduces norepinephrine breakdown, resulting in higher and sustained levels of this fat-burning hormone available. Green tea works with your body to burn fat.

Calorie-burning foods with exercise

The power of green tea is compounded when paired with exercise. Studies show that men who drank green tea before exercise benefited from 17% increased fat metabolism vs. men given a placebo. The caffeine in green tea, combined with EGCG and intense exercise and you’ve got a fat-burning formula. 

Green tea consumption

How much of this miracle calorie-burning drink should you be consuming on a daily basis?

You’d be okay drinking up to 4 cups of green tea daily. This is the right amount to provide a number of health benefits, including potentially increasing the number of calories you burn throughout the day.

Green tea contains caffeine and EGCG, both of which may: 

  • Boost metabolism
  • Promote weight loss
  • Protect heart health
  • Reduce the risk of cancer
olive oil calorie-burning food

6. Olive Oil, one of the oldest calorie-burning foods

Known as one of the healthiest fats on earth, olive oil has been used for its healthy properties for centuries. Why? Here are a few reasons:

  • Studies have shown that olive oil may boost metabolic rate and promote fat loss
  • Olive oil has also been shown to lower triglycerides
  • It may increase HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol)
  • It has been shown to stimulate the hormones that help you feel full

A recent study of 12 postmenopausal women with abdominal obesity, found that consuming extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) as part of a meal “significantly increased the number of calories the women burned for several hours.”

Easy to incorporate into meals

One of the great things about olive oil is that it works well with many different meals and foods.

To incorporate olive oil into your meals, you can drizzle a few tablespoons to a salad, add it to cooked food, or use it as a healthy fat to cook with.

cinnamon calorie burning food

7. Cinnamon

Cinnamon isn’t a food per se, but it is something you can add to your diet fairly easily.

It contains an essential ingredient called, cinnamaldehyde, which, believe it or not, was found to prevent mice from becoming obese. Nobody likes fat mice. Am I right?

Another study found that human fat cells that were treated with cinnamaldehyde began to undergo “thermogenesis.” So, cinnamon helps to induce the metabolic bodily process that burns calories.

Add some cinnamon to a couple of meals every day, it may just help your body burn some excess calories.

8. Whey Protein

Shown to promote muscle growth when combined with intense exercise like running, whey may also help preserve muscle during weight loss.

It is more effective at suppressing appetite than other protein sources because it stimulates the release of “fullness hormones.”

A whey protein shake is a quick meal or snack option that promotes fat loss and calorie burn.

9. Apple Cider Vinegar

ACV has been found to reduce appetite as well as lower insulin and blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.

The main ingredient, acetic acid, has been found to increase fat burning and reduce belly fat storage.

One study found, 144 obese men who added 2 tablespoons of vinegar to their diet every day for 12 weeks lost 3.7 pounds and experienced a 0.9% reduction in body fat. You can start with 1 teaspoon per day in water and gradually work up to 1–2 tablespoons per day to minimize potential digestive discomfort.

coconut oil calorie-burning food

10. Coconut Oil is one of the most unlikely calorie-burning foods

How does oil help burn calories? That seems backward.

It may sound counterintuitive, but evidence shows that coconut oil may actually help facilitate fat loss. Those on a ketogenic diet understand this.

On a molecular level, coconut oil is different from other types of oils. Coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) – which have been shown to boost your metabolism. Adding coconut oil to your diet has been shown to increase “good” HDL cholesterol and decrease your triglycerides, as well as help you lose weight. 

One recent study found obese men who added 2 tablespoons of coconut oil per day to their usual diet lost an average of 1 inch from their waist without increasing their physical activity or changing their diet.

The Bottom Line

Sorry to say there is no magic superfood that will cause your body to burn a ton of calories. But there are at least 10 foods and beverages that may increase your metabolic rate to help your body burn calories.

Incorporating some of them into your diet may help you burn extra calories, lose fat, and feel better about yourself and your overall health. 

Here’s to you and your health.