When we can’t lose weight or our fat loss stagnates, we finger it on our sluggish metabolism. However, if metabolism is to blame, can you compensate for its influence by eating certain metabolism boosting foods?
Yes, this is possible. Our metabolic process may be influenced by what we eat, making it a little more or a little less efficient. However, before you change your diet, you must first understand how your metabolism works.
What Is Metabolism and How Does It Function?
“Your metabolism is in charge of your body’s energy use and how it generates and burns calories from food,” explains Melissa Majumdar, RD, a senior bariatric dietitian for the Brigham and Women’s Center for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery in Boston and a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Metabolism is a chemical process that converts stored energy (food) into usable energy. “We utilize our metabolism to do ordinary activities such as breathing, thinking, digesting, circulating blood, and regulating temperature,” she adds.
The resting metabolic rate (RMR), which is the energy our body uses to breathe, circulate blood, and perform other basic functions, as well as activity thermogenesis, which is any form of exercise or activity. “By simply eating, we’re burning calories so that food may be converted into energy.”
Although each of these variables accounts for a typical proportion of the overall energy use, there is considerable variation. Resting metabolic rate, on the other hand, accounts for around 60 to 70 percent of total energy expenditure. Thermogenesis makes up about 10 percent of a person’s energy expenditure. The most variation comes from activity levels, which can vary from 100 calories burned for a sedentary individual to up to 3,000 calories or more for a training athlete.
What Influences Our Metabolism, for Better or Worse?
Genetics has the most impact on metabolism, although certain ethnic groups show certain variations.
Obesity is caused by a decline in body composition, specifically lean muscle mass and bone density. Lean muscle mass, which makes up around 5 percent of the differences between males and females, has an impact on metabolism since it burns more calories than fat even at rest. Even when you’re not working out, increasing muscularity through exercise boosts your metabolism.
The most substantial variance in metabolism among people is seen with activity thermogenesis (the number of calories you burn by being active).
What Foods Can Help You Rev Up Your Metabolism?
Some foods can boost or harm a person’s metabolism, which may influence weight reduction. However, it is not a straightforward, one-to-one correlation: “eat this to increase your metabolism and lose weight.”
For example, eating meals high in protein stimulates our metabolism, but it generally only lasts a short time. “You burn more calories at that meal,” adds Majumdar. “Whether it translates to significant changes in weight, weight loss, or weight management is a different question.”
Furthermore, as far as weight reduction is concerned, metabolism isn’t the only element to consider; the volume we consume also matters. Satiety is increased by eating meals high in protein, fiber, and beneficial fats.
Not eating enough calories, on the other hand, can force your body to utilize muscle as energy, resulting in a loss of muscle. Metabolism will slow if the body is attempting to save its energy stores.
According to experts, there is no one food that has the potential to have such a significant impact on our metabolism that it would cause us to lose weight. However, there are meals that can boost your metabolism slightly, while others you should eat in moderation or avoid altogether.
The Best Metabolism Boosting Foods to Speed Up Energy
Avocados are high in satiating polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, which is why they make a wonderful addition to your diet. A study published in November 2013 in Nutrition Journal found that eating half an avocado at lunch might help overweight people feel fuller for longer and lessen their urge to eat following a meal.
Avocado has a secondary impact as an anti-inflammatory meal. “Inflammation can certainly affect a variety of processes in the body, one of which is metabolism,” according to Lisa Moskovitz, RDN, the CEO of the New York Nutrition Group in New York City. “Metabolism may be hindered by inflammation.”
When it comes to portion sizes, be cautious. An avocado contains 80 calories and 8 grams of fat in every quarter.
Tempeh is high in protein and fat, making it satiating. Tempeh contains probiotics, which may help with gut health and immunity while also being beneficial to immunity. “When all is going well, it can assist you in having more energy and burning more calories,” Moskovitz adds.
Adults who took probiotics lost weight, according to a meta-analysis published in May 2017 in the Journal of Microbial Pathogenesis. The study did not attribute this to an immediate boost in metabolism.Probiotics, gut health, and weight are all areas in need of additional study. Before probiotics in food or supplement form can be encouraged for weight loss or healthy weight maintenance, a lot more research is needed.
Chili peppers, in particular, may help speed up the metabolism. A meta-analysis published in June 2017 in the journal Bioscience Reports found that capsaicin, an active component present in chili peppers, aids in the acceleration of metabolism and could be a factor in weight loss as a consequence. Because the studies included in the analysis were taken using capsaicin supplements, it can’t be assumed that capsaicin-containing foods (which have lower amounts of the chemical than concentrated supplements do) would have an identical metabolic effect.
Beans are high in protein, which helps you feel full and amino acids, the building blocks of protein, can help preserve muscle mass while your body is at rest. “Lean muscle mass maintenance or promotion is always beneficial to metabolism,” Moskovitz adds.
Beans are also a high-fiber, low-sugar food. Because of their fiber content, they help to keep you fuller for longer and reduce your calorie consumption.
Beans and legumes, eaten ¼ cup each day, were linked to just over half a pound of weight loss after around six weeks, according to a systematic review and meta-analysis published in September 2016 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The authors wrote that, while half a pound isn’t significant on its own, combining beans and legumes to your diet may help you lose weight and keep it off.
5. Whole grains
Whole grains are high in fiber, anti-inflammatory, and may help with weight loss, unlike refined grains. According to a study published in March 2017 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, replacing whole grains with refined ones may result in a “tiny increase” in resting metabolic rate. Substituting whole grains for refined carbohydrates, on the other hand, resulted in greater calorie loss during digestion.
Eggs are high in protein and some good fat, which help you feel fuller longer. They’re a great source of B vitamins, which have been proved to boost fat burning. “B vitamins aid in the conversion of food into energy, allowing you to better digest and utilize calories,” Moskovitz adds.
Over an eight-week period, research published in the International Journal of Obesity studied overweight and obese people. Two groups of individuals received a 1,000-calorie diet intervention to reduce their energy consumption by 1000 calories each day. For breakfast, one of these groups ate two eggs every week for five days, while the other group had bagels. The egg eaters lost 65% more weight, 16% more fat, and had a 61 percent greater decrease in BMI and a 34 percent bigger waist reduction. (The researchers also observed the effects of a reduced-calorie diet on mice who ate a bagel or egg plan versus those who didn’t go on a low-calorie diet. There were no significant differences in weight loss or fat reduction between these two groups.)
When it comes to metabolism, here are five foods to cut back on
1. Refined grains
Refined grains such as those found in processed, packaged foods, white bread, pasta, and rice might discourage weight reduction. Over a four-year period, a weight gain of .39 pounds was linked to each daily serving of refined grains in a June 2011 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Refined grains, on the other hand, are high in empty calories and devoid of fiber. They’re not as filling, so you may eat considerably more and accept a lot more calories without feeling fuller or less tired or sluggish.”
2. Sugary beverages
Sweetened beverages might slow down your metabolism. Eating a high-protein meal with a sugar-sweetened beverage, according to a study published in July 2017 in the BMC Nutrition journal, may reduce fat metabolism and cause the body to store more fat.
Although fruit juice does not contain added sugars, it is still high in calories and removes the fiber from fruit.Because it’s a concentrated form of sugar, juice might stimulate your appetite, increase blood sugar levels, and make you feel hungry shortly after consumption, according to Moskovitz.
Alcohol is high in calories, and when we consume it, we frequently don’t make the best nutritional decisions. Due to the fact that alcohol consumption also lowers blood sugar, you may feel hungry for sweets after a couple of glasses of wine and the next day be unable to exercise. “It might take a few days for you to get back to normal, functioning,” Moskovitz adds.
Granola is high in calories and fat, and the high sugar content in most varieties can make you feel hungrier. It’s often marketed as a health food, but it’s high in carbs and fat, so keep that in mind before eating too much. Instead, seek for granola made entirely of whole grains, nuts, and a small amount of dried fruit. “Granola is one of those mythical health foods with a lot of calories and sugar,” Moskovitz says.
5. Soybean oil
Soybean oil is high in calories and omega-6 fatty acids, which have been shown to cause inflammation and weight gain.Soybean oil has been linked to obesity, according to a research published in October 2017 in Nature. It parallels the increase in Obesity over the last century, as soybean oil has been increasing more than any other component of the American diet. High amounts of omega-6 fatty acids can lead to insulin resistance and leptin resistance. According to a study published in March 2016 in the journal Nutrients, lowering omega-6 fatty acids and increasing omega-3s can aid weight reduction.
Replace soybean oil with extra-virgin olive oil or flaxseed oil, or eat fatty fish like salmon. Soybean oil, of course, is difficult to avoid since it’s used in a variety of processed foods. Instead of making a swap, stick to whole foods if you don’t want to go through the trouble.