If all the foods that help you burn fat were the players on a football team, tart cherry juice would be a linebacker. It’s not scoring the touchdowns, but it encourages the other members to play more effectively while stopping the other team from scoring. Now, though this sippable slimming aid doesn’t actually blast fat on its own, it does help ditch the jiggle by boosting the quality of your sleep.
Snoozing is vital to many functions in your body, including weight management and fat loss. But many of us aren’t getting the hours or quality of sleep we need to keep our bodies humming efficiently, especially when we’re busy or stressed. When dieters got the rest they needed in a 2010 Annals of Internal Medicine study, a full half of the weight they lost was from fat. But when participants’ rest was cut short or interrupted, only one-quarter of their weight loss was from fat. Ultimately, cutting back on sleep prevented fat loss by a jaw-dropping 55 percent.
Unfortunately, things only got worse for the dieters who lost sleep, as they also experienced more hunger during the day. This was due to a pesky hormone called ghrelin, which triggers hunger and can actually slow your fat-burning furnace. Sleep suppresses this annoying hormone so that you’re less hungry — and less likely to turn to your snack drawer — during the day.
That’s where the supplement for tart cherry juice comes in. Tart Montmorency cherries contain a phytochemical called melatonin, which you might have seen in the vitamin and supplement aisle of your grocery store. This phytochemical helps control the cycle of your sleeping and waking hours. With your health practitioner’s OK, sipping on this drink shortly before you go to sleep and shortly after you wake up can help turn you into a serious sleeper and, as a result, a serious fat-burner.
Study participants whose diets were supplemented with tart-cherry juice concentrate in a 2012 European Journal of Nutrition study saw boosted time in bed, time asleep, and quality of sleep compared to a placebo group not given the fruit-derived supplement.
It may be tempting to sweeten that tart flavor, but it’s important to remember that turning to sugar-laden versions will only sabotage your fat-loss goals. If you try it and you’re not a fan of the flavor, you can incorporate it into healthy fruit smoothies so that the natural sugars in the other fruits balance out the tangy cherry.