Rev Up Your Metabolism

Posted on Feb 15, 2014 in Fit Tips, Nutrition


Clients ask: “How Can I Increase My Metabolism?”
Dietician, Jacyln Pritchard, has some helpful hints that will help rev up your metabolism:

1. Start your day with breakfast. A nutritious breakfast stimulates your body to work at peak rates burning calories. A small or skipped breakfast will cause your body to adapt by trying to conserve everything it can. Dieters who eat a balanced breakfast can eat the same lunch, dinner and snacks as breakfast skippers while losing more weight.

2. Eat regularly. Eating smaller well balanced meals every 3-4 hours will help you to burn more energy than eating the traditional 3 large meals per day. Include foods with protein and fibre in each meal and snack.

3. Eat! Don’t Starve! Eating the right type and amount of food regularly keeps your body burning energy by having to continuously break down, digest and metabolize it throughout the day. Reducing your calories too much below what your body requires will give you initial weight loss, but will also lead to muscle loss and your body lowering your metabolism significantly.

4. Choose foods that increase metabolism. – Foods that can boost metabolism require the most work from your body to break down and digest them (referred to as the thermic effect of food). Look for whole foods such as lean meats, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds.

5. Lose your love of processed foods. Whether you love the taste or convenience of processed foods, learn to love it less. Processing food not only makes food less nutritious but also easier for our bodies to digest. Think about white flour used in white bread and pastas. Processing the whole wheat to give us white bread involves removing the outside bran layer and the wheat germ. This decreases its nutritional value and allows it to digest faster. Being digested more quickly means that the body uses less energy for digestion, and it lowers the thermic effect of the food. Unprocessed, whole foods that contain fiber, which is a non-digestible carbohydrate, force the body to work harder to break it down, using up energy — and boosting metabolism in the process. Eat a variety of whole foods including whole grains, legumes, lentils, fruit and vegetables as they have a high thermic effect and will metabolize slower.

6.​ Drink water. The body needs water to process calories. If you are even mildly dehydrated, your metabolism may slow down.

7. Don’t believe everything you read. Green tea, caffeine, and hot peppers have all been suggested to increase your metabolism however studies have shown mixed results. A compound in green tea called ECGC has been shown to elevate metabolism by a small amount, but not enough to make a long term difference. Capsaicin, the chemical in hot peppers that gives them their heat, boosts metabolism too, but again, it’s not a significant enough change to have a benefit. Caffeine affects your metabolism for a temporary amount of time — as a central nervous system stimulant, it does increase metabolism, but studies have had mixed results regarding the long term impact.

8. Get moving! Regular exercise will increase metabolism. Jogging, biking, elliptical training, and walking are all great forms of aerobic exercise. Weight training will also increase metabolism as it builds more muscle which in turn burns more fat! After a bout of resistance training, muscles are activated all over your body, increasing your average daily metabolic rate.

Jaclyn Pritchard is a leading weight loss dietitian in Toronto and her expertise has been seen on Canwest Media, Global National, CTV Canadian Television and on the CBC’s. She is a registered Dietitian who completed her undergraduate degree in Food and Nutrition at Ryerson University followed by a comprehensive Dietetic Internship at Hamilton Health Sciences. Additionally, she case manages the Weight and Lifestyle Management program at Cleveland Clinic Canada. With a passion for nutrition and healthy eating, Jaclyn’s integrative counselling approach offers client’s individualized dietary advice with realistic and sustainable goal setting.