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Burning Fat With Flavonoids

January 3, 2013 by Michael Greger M.D. in News with 8 Comments

Nuts appear to boost one’s metabolism, such that when we eat nuts we burn more of our own fat to compensate. In my 2-min. video, Testing the Fat Burning Theory, I show that people who don’t eat nuts tend to burn off around 20 grams of fat a day–about 5 pats worth of butter, but those eating walnuts averaged more like 31 grams–7 or 8 pats of butter. In Fat Burning Via Arginine, I explore one theory as to why this may happen (and where arginine can be found in our diet).

It may also be the flavonoids, phytonutrients found in nuts as well as citrus, berries, red onions, beans, green tea, grapes, and cocoa, that may boost our metabolism enough to significantly slim our waistline. Based on what kind of evidence? I showcase a study done on purple grape juice in my video Fat Burning Via Flavonoids.

Just like nuts are calorically dense yet don’t seem to cause much weight gain, Welch’s was hoping that the same would be found for their grape juice. They had people guzzle down 2 cups a day for three months. Keep in mind that Welch’s grape juice has more sugar than Coca Cola. Two cups of purple grape juice contain the equivalent of 20 spoonfuls of sugar. The control group was basically given grape Kool-Aid instead, with the same number of calories and same amount of sugar, but no detectable phytonutrients.

At two cups a day study subjects were getting hundreds of extra calories a day. Surely after 3 months they’d gain a couple pounds. Indeed that’s what happened in the grape-flavored sugar water group—how could they not with all that extra sugar in their diet? The grape juice group, on the other hand, did not. In fact, their waist circumference shrunk significantly. Drinking grape juice appeared to burn away significantly more tummy fat. So maybe there is something to the theory put forth by the nut and green tea researchers that flavonoid phytonutrients are capable of helping the body burn fat. If true, then it’s just one more reason to eat nuts and drink green tea—not grape juice. Instead of the juice, I’d recommend eating concord grapes, the source of purple grape juice that you may be able to find at a farmer’s market near you.

-Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

Image credit: acadac / Flickr

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Dr. Michael Greger

About Michael Greger M.D.

Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial. Currently Dr. Greger proudly serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Society of the United States.

View all videos by Michael Greger M.D.

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  • Peppy

    That’s interesting and good to know but nuts always put weight on my husband and I. Could it be once you’ve hit age 50 plus the metabolism is low and hopeless! We live on beans and greens and a handful of nuts plus exercise and still have to fight the weight.

    • ping-pong-pete

      How many nuts you eat may be the factor in weight gain vs weight loss. Your daily intake of nuts should be the amount that you can put on the palm of your hand. The nuts should be flat on your palm and the nuts should not touch your fingers.

      I can’t control myself when it comes to nuts. I’ll eat half the can and then the weight starts to come on and my cholesterol goes up do to the saturated fats. I now avoid them per Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn’s advice.

    • C

      Hey Peppy, do you do weight training? Gaining and preserving lean muscle tissue is absolutely key for weight management as you age. This is because muscle has a tendency to break down as we age. If you do cardio but no weight training you are wasting your time. Get the weights out or go to a pump class at the gym 2 times a week.

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  • Julia Joy

    What about RAW vs ROASTED. Put the raw one in the ground and it may grow into a new plant. Put the roasted one in the ground in all it will do is decay back into the earth.

    Perhaps it is the Roasted nuts that make people gain weight. I know people think of nuts they think salt or sugar, oil, and roasted.

    On another note; It could indeed be a synergistic effect with they other important compounds found in these fat fighting foods.

    Great Article, Loved it. Thank you Dr..G for posting!

  • Sally

    What about red wine in place of grape juice?

  • fitness franchise opportunitie

    Following these holiday trends will be really enjoying. I celebrate my holidays with family and exchanging gifts is my way of celebrating it.

  • DStack

    I would be very interested to know which foods have the highest concentrations of flavonoids. How much does green tea have compared to fresh whole grapes?

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