How Eating Habits and Lifestyle changes impact metabolism

A simplistic approach to losing weight is to burn more calories than you consume. For some, the luxury of having a fast metabolism may explain why they can get away with having that second scoop of ice cream without seeing much impact to their waistline. Although the metabolism is mostly influenced by genetics, there are things you can do to boost your metabolism by changing some eating habits  which will burn extra calories and help you shed those pesky extra pounds. Here are a few simple tips to help you get started with your weight loss/maintenance goals. 

Eat More Quality Protein

The first and arguably most important step is to incorporate healthy high protein snacks to your routine. Ideally a snack with less than 15 g of carbs that is low in saturated fat will help give you an energy boost while fighting off hunger. This is because protein will help increase satiety (the feeling of being full) and also stimulate the release of appetite suppressing hormones which can ultimately lead to healthier decisions during your meal times. Research also shows that protein rich foods require higher levels of energy to breakdown (in comparison to carbs and fat) which can increase a person’s metabolic rate by 15 to 30%, highlighting the benefits of incorporating more protein in your diet. Choosing a quality high protein snack that is easy to incorporate to your routine will help structure your day and invigorate your metabolism.

Spicy Food and Metabolism

Looking to turn up the heat on your daily calorie expenditure? Eating hot peppers and other spicy foods can help speed up your metabolism. Eating hot peppers will cause your body to heat up and produce sweat, which is a process that requires energy and in turn will help burn calories. Although spicy food will not miraculously cause you to lose 10 pounds overnight, there is research showing how sweating can speed up your metabolism by up to 8%, so why not take this opportunity to sweat up a storm while enjoying your favorite spicy foods.

Keto and Metabolism

Interested in finding out what the ketogenic or “Keto” craze is about? Although the Keto diet is used more clinically for patients with neurological issues, the side effects of rapid weight loss have stirred interest for those needing help with weight management. The keto diet is a very high fat, moderate protein, low carbohydrate diet. It involves keeping carbohydrates to less than 50 grams per day, while focusing on high fat, high protein foods.

Keto increases metabolism in a few different ways. First, the brain requires a byproduct of carbs for fuel, but when starved of those carbs it will break down fat and convert it to that same fuel to maintain function. This process is ketosis and requires higher amounts of energy which is why people on a strict keto diet see massive boosts in their metabolism and loose weight so quickly. Second, people on a keto diet tend to eat more protein, which as we have established above, helps speed up metabolism. Finally, it stimulates more of the previously discussed satiety hormones and keeps insulin low, which will also impact metabolic rate. For these reasons, a keto diet helps people control hunger and burn fat which results in rapid weight loss.

Although the results from following a keto diet can seem appealing, it is not appropriate for everyone and should be managed with the help of a Physician or Registered Dietitian.

Intermittent Fasting and Metabolism

In the last few years with the increase in research around fasting, the use of limiting caloric intake to certain hours of the day has grown in popularity. A small study found that fasting helped speed up metabolism by 14%. Like keto and a high protein diet, fasting also increases certain hormones that help induce satiety, weight loss, and speed up the metabolism. Following an intermittent fasting schedule also cuts out the option of late-night binging which for many is often when cravings for sweets and highly processed foods is at its worst.  

Best Eating Habits for a Fast Metabolism

Working closely with a dietitian and finding a balance between high protein, spicy, keto, or adding periods of intermittent fasting is the best way to reach your goals. Research shows that incorporating nutrition education to your wellness routine can help you reach your weight and health goals in a much healthier and sustainable approach. You can work together to customize your lifestyle and use available resources to create a plan that is realistic, all while being there to help you re-frame when life changes things up. Whether it’s incorporating some of this tips listed above, or asking your physician for a referral to a dietitian, a focus on boosting your metabolism through improved eating habits is a great way to help you reach your goals and get you to be the healthier you.



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Jaime Rangel, RD
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