To lose weight, research shows we need to consume the right ingredients. So here are some ingredients proven to help us slim down, in a healthy way, along with the science behind why they work:  

  • Ingredient #1: Green tea. It’s called “green” because it’s not as processed as black tea, so it keeps more of the natural plant compounds found in tea leaves. That includes antioxidants which help block the body’s ability to digest fat. A study in the journal Obesity Reviews found that people who drank two cups of green tea a day lost three pounds in three months - without changing their diets. Scientists say the combination of antioxidants and caffeine helps fat pass right through our system, instead of glomming onto our hips and bellies. 

  • The second proven weight-loss ingredient: Capsaicin. That’s the compound that gives hot peppers and fresh chilies their “kick.” Researchers at Bowling Green State University say capsaicin helps us lose weight because when we eat something spicy, our body sees it as a source of stress. And even though we’re not in danger, our fight-or-flight response kicks in. So our muscles tense, and our heart rates speed up. As a result, we burn more calories. In fact, adding just a quarter-teaspoon of cayenne or ground red pepper to a meal can help us burn ten times more calories, compared to eating without pepper. 

  • One more proven weight-loss ingredient: Alpha lipoic acid. That’s a fatty acid in red meats and organ meats like liver, which helps reduce inflammation. According to The American Journal of Medicine, people who consumed this fatty acid daily for five months lost “significantly” more weight than people who just cut calories. The catch? Experts say the acid works best when we get it from a supplement. Because when we get it from red meat, we’re also getting cholesterol and saturated fat, which counteract the weight-loss benefits. 

To recap: Grab a capsule of alpha lipoic acid, stick it in a chili pepper, and wash it down with a cup of green tea. You’ll be losing weight in no time.