Eat Your Way To A Faster Metabolism
Drinking green tea, gulping ice water, eating more protein – are these sound metabolism-boosting strategies or urban legends? A little of both, actually Here’s how some of the most popular “metabolism boosters” stack up.
The strategy: Drink green tea
A 1999 study of 10 men found that consuming high doses of green-tea extract burned about 80 calories. However, two recent studies, each lasting three months and involving at least 30 subjects, found no weight-loss benefit to green tea.
The verdict: Don’t count on green tea to help you drop pounds but drinking both black and green tea has other health benefits.
The strategy: Eat six small meals a day, not three large ones
The theory goes that the more often you eat, the more calories your body has to expend digesting the food. But the research suggests that any advantage from that is negligible. Nevertheless, eating small, frequent meals works as a weight control strategy for many people, by keeping blood sugar on an even keel and helping control hunger.
The verdict: Do it to help prevent binges, not spike your calorie burn.
The strategy: Eat at the same time every day
While eating small portions throughout the day may not help much, there is good reason to eat those meals on a regular schedule. Animals that were put on predictable diets, so they could anticipate when they were going to eat, experienced hormonal changes that helped them better process and burn the calories they consumed. Animals that didn’t know when the next meal was coming were much more likely to store fat.
The verdict: Go for it, results may apply to human beings as well.
The strategy: Drink more water
In a small German study, subjects who drank 16 ounces (470ml) of water at a time experienced a 30 per cent increase in metabolic rate in the hour afterward, burning an extra 24 calories. The researchers recommended cool water because the body expends extra calories warming it to body temperature.
The verdict: Too soon to tell, but stay hydrated anyway.
The strategy: Eat spicy foods
When you eat foods spicy enough to make you uncomfortable, you’re experiencing a brief raise in body temperature because your body has to break down the spices. However, the effect doesn’t last more than 10 – 15 minutes and in terms of calorie burn, it’s probably not significant. The potential of metabolism-boosting benefits of spicy foods have not been wells-studied.
The verdict: Don’t bother.
The strategy: Eat enough protein and whole grains
Your body expends more energy breaking down protein than fat or carbohydrate. When you eat, only 5 percent of the calories are used to break down the food, and when you eat complex carbs like whole grains, it is 5 – 20 percent. For protein, it’s more like 20 – 30 percent. To maximize the calories burned through digestion and stave off hunger, get plenty of complex carbs to fuel your body throughout the day and eat a little protein with every meal. To avoid stressing the kidneys, do not exceed 45 grams per day for a 66kg woman.
The verdict: Go for it, just make sure you don’t consume protein at the expense of nutritious carbs, which are necessary to fuel your muscles and also your brains.