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Medical Moment: Foods to maximize metabolism

Published: Nov. 30, 2021 at 8:56 PM EST
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Metabolism is the process where your body converts what you eat and drink into energy.

So, could revving it up with certain foods help you burn more calories? A breakdown in today’s Medical Moment:

Exercise… eating right… and drinking enough water.

There’s no magic bullet when it comes to weight loss.

“I just hear about myths around certain foods that can burn fat or promise the world to you,” says Dietician Tara Collingwood, who is also known as the “Diet Diva.”

While it’s your total daily calorie intake that matters most, some research shows what you eat can slightly affect your metabolism. For instance, your body uses the most energy to break down proteins, so you’ll burn more calories on a high-protein diet. This is called the thermic effect of food. And studies show processed foods take less energy to digest, which means you burn fewer calories when you consume them.

“One of the best ways to eat for good energy throughout the day is to eat small, frequent,” Collingwood says.

Protein-rich foods like meat, fish, eggs, nuts, and seeds could help increase your metabolism for a few hours. Research also shows compounds in chili peppers, green tea, and coffee may slightly boost metabolism as well. A recent study from Columbia University found having a hot beverage containing ginger powder with meals increased the thermic effect of food, helping you to burn more calories. But remember, weight loss is a long-term plan that won’t happen by just adding certain foods to your diet.

“One of the things that I recommend when you’re trying to lose weight is the slower it comes off the more likely it is to stay off,” Collingwood says.

Even if you incorporate these particular foods, you’re not likely to see results unless you also cut your overall daily calorie count.

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