There are so many pills, powders and shakes that promise to boost your
metabolism. But sometimes the best approach is to go all natural!
Studio 5 Health and Fitness Contributor Melanie Douglass, R.D., NASM shares
simple tips and tricks to jumpstart your metabolism naturally.
Is it really true? Do certain foods or simple tricks really boost your metabolic
rate and help you burn calories? Let’s have some fun and start with a quiz…
#1) Which of the following dietary supplements can boost your
· Green Tea
· Omega-3 Fats
Answer: Caffeine. While labels and marketing ads may tell you
otherwise, the only dietary supplement that truly gives your metabolism a
little lift is caffeine. However, the lift is small – just about 3% over 4 – 6
hours – which equals 30 – 80 calories per day for most people.
Omega-3s can help your metabolism function optimally, but they don’t
physically speed it up. Green tea and ginseng just don’t work. Period.
#2) Which of the following may boost your metabolism?
· eating 4 – 6 small meals per day
· drinking warm water
· colder room temperatures
· eating a good breakfast
Answer: Colder Room Temperatures. It’s true! Dr. Sven Enerback,
of the University of Goteborg in Sweden, did a study that looked at brown fat
(a type of fat that burns more calories) activation in colder temperatures.
Cold conditions boosted the amount of glucose the study participants’ brown
fat consumed by a factor of 15. It’s a small boost and not worth freezing
yourself out… but dropping a degree or two does save calories – and the
burn-off can really add up day after day.
Now, it’s true eating breakfast and smaller meals are great steps to keep
your metabolism going, but do they make it go faster… enough to justify
eating more? Nope.
Think about this:
People always say to “eat every 3 hours” or “eat breakfast” to boost
metabolism, right? The “metabolic boost” we get from eating food (called
‘The Thermic Effect of Food’) is just 10% of calorie consumption.
So if someone eats 6 small meals (~400 cals each) they end up eating 2400
calories. The 10% metabolic boost would be… 240 calories.
(You might think (6) 400-calorie meals sounds like a lot, but believe me, it’s
hard to eat a snack, let alone a meal, for less than 400 calories. A simple
sandwich clocks over 500 these days.)
Now, conversely, if someone eats 3 small meals (500 cals each) they end up
eating 1500 cals. The 10% metabolic boost is… a whopping 150 calories.
The bottom line? People can end up eating 900 extra calories just to get a
90 calorie “metabolic boost”. Make sense? Not really. The minor boost we
get from eating does no good if we eat more than we need… and it’s trivial
compared to the amount of calories we can burn with exercise (90 calorie
boost vs. 500 calories an hour during exercise).
See the eye-opener here?
#3) Which spice is most likely to boost your metabolism?
· Capsaicin (peppers)
Answer: All of the above. It’s true spicy foods (a combination of
any or all of the spices above) can give you a small boost, about 3 – 8% over
the day, but again that is just 50 – 80 calories per day for most people.
Spicy foods are good for other reasons too: they can help your body mobilize
fats and suppress your appetite.
Okay, those are the trendy, little things you can do (or you may hear about)
that may boost metabolism… but when it comes to making a big impact in
your health and giving your metabolism a serious kick start, here are the top
3 things you can do:
1) Get enough nutrients:
· vitamin D
· B vitamins
If you are low or deficient in any of the above nutrients, your metabolism may
not function optimally. Extra amounts of these nutrients doesn’t push your
metabolic rate higher… but if you are deficient and supplement to
recommended levels, then these nutrients help you function and feel your
2) Move it!
Remember all the talk about these foods and tricks that can raise your
metabolism by 50 – 100 calories per day? Now it’s time to think about the
power of a great workout. A solid workout can burn 300 – 1000 calories per
hour…now that’s a serious positive boost for your health and your
The absolute best way to boost your metabolic rate is exercise! Exercise
literally and physically changes your metabolic rate. All it takes is 30 minutes
a day, most days a week.
3) Eat protein at every meal.
Protein is harder for your body to digest than fats or carbohydrates so it has
a higher Thermic Effect of Food. Additionally, protein helps you to feel full
longer, more satisfied after eating, and stronger as it promotes healthy
For more info, email me anytime! Melanie@tonicfit.com