What is metabolism? Metabolism is the process of transforming food (proteins, carbohydrates, and fats) into energy for you to use. More simply put - it is the rate at which your body burns calories (uses up energy). The rate of your metabolism depends on the interaction between the number of calories you consume and the number of calories you burn through eating, exercising, and daily functioning. While no food can actually burn off enough fat to impact weight, the following foods and activities can assist you by slightly raising metabolism.
- Small but frequent meals help keep your metabolism in high gear and helps you burn more calories overall.
- Increase the protein in your diet. Protein requires about 25% more energy to digest than other foods (in other words it takes 25% more calories to digest protein than it does to digest carbohydrates or fat), so meals that contain adequate protein can temporarily increase metabolism.
- Some studies have shown that hot peppers and very spicy foods can increase metabolism by about 20% for about 30 minutes.
- Green tea contains a powerful antioxidant that some research suggests may boost metabolism temporarily.
- To really boost metabolism, your best bet is to build and maintain lean muscle mass. Muscles burn 3 times more calories at rest than fat does. If you’re trying to lose fat, build muscle.
The bottom line is that foods may have a slight impact on metabolism, but the increases are insignificant compared to what is necessary to lose weight. Every little bit helps, but no one should rely on a miracle food to get rid of excess pounds.