Foods That Speed Metabolism
Here is one of the big secrets to weight loss, except that it isn’t really such a secret:Your metabolism, or more correctly, your metabolic rate, is one of the primary factors that will influence weather you lose weight or not. One of the keys to speeding your metabolism is the foods you eat and when you eat them. Here are some foods that can actually help speed metabolism and help you lose weight. Actually, any food you eat will cause your metabolism to increase, but some are better than others at increasing metabolism while packing a minimum of calories..
I’ve mentioned frequently that it is easier to lose weight when you eat 4 – 6 smaller meals, spread throughout the day because it lets you body absorb nutrients more effectively. Another reason to eat more frequently is that when you eat your metabolic rate rises. Eating more frequently also helps keep your blood sugar levels more consistent, which can make you less likely to store fat.
Please note that if you eat more calories than you take in, you will still gain weight, no matter how or what you eat. The trick is to make you body use more calories, and get all the nutrients you need out of the foods you eat, so you can eat as little as possible, yet still provide your body with the nourishment it needs. This is especially true if you are playing sports on a regular basis or involved in an intense exercise program. In that case, your body needs to be fueled correctly.
Foods That Speed Metabolism and Help You Lose Weight:
Eggs – These protein packed marvels have been in the news lately, because it has been discovered that you do not have to throw away the yolk in order to eat healthy, as we have been taught for the past 4 decades. The yolks are more caloric, so if you are trying to cut calories, no downing a dozen eggs at a sitting, but eggs are really a wonder food.
Why do eggs work so well at speeding up your metabolism? Well, one reason is that they are packed with vitamin B12 and protein. B12 is essential to metabolize fatty acids and form red blood cells. If you are eating a vegan diet, it is absolutely essential that you supplement your diet with B12, because although many plant sources contain B12, it is normally biologically unavailable to humans. It’s kind of like how we can eat trees, but not digest the wood, and so it is with plant B12. Eggs, however are an excellent source of the stuff, one of the best to be found in nature.
A controlled study published in 2008 in the Journal Nutrition and Metabolism also reported that eggs modulate the inflammatory response in people eating low carbohydrate diets. Such diets are widely used, and are very effective for weight loss purposes. The study also reported that the egg eating group lost fat (both total body fat and belly fat were measured, and both showed a decrease) compared to the control group, and experienced decreased insulin resistance as well.
Green Tea – Green tea has experienced a surge in popularity in the last few years, now finding it’s way into all manner of weight and fat loss products. Several studies have positively linked the consumption on green tea with fat loss. One of the main reasons that green tea is a metabolic booster is the caffeine it contains. In addition, green tea is mildly thermogenic, and it’s thermogenic effect is not related to it’s caffeine content. Some of those however, had the subjects drinking upwards of 4 cups per day. This can be a problem for people with a caffeine sensitivity. It’s is effective, and it is also pretty darn affordable, unlike some of the supplements containing it.
Green tea is also loaded with powerful antioxidants called polyphenols, and has been shown to promote overall health, and potentially decrease diseases such as cancer.
Coconut oil – One thing that is not typically known about oft touted “healthy” oils such as canola, is that they aren’t as healthy as they’ve been portrayed. Indeed, some researchers have noted damaging effects to the heart from Coconut oil. Canola is derived from rapeseed oil, which has demonstrated toxicity to humans. A 1997 Canadian study of canola oil on pigs showed that it harmed the pigs, partially by depleting vitamin E to extremely low levels. In addition, cooking canbola oil causes oxidation, yet few are cold processed. Researching this stuff was a bit frightening, especially for something that has been touted for it’s health benefits. I think I’ll have to do a post on canola oil soon.
Virgin coconut oil is not as widely used as are vegetable and canola oil, but it has substantial benefits for weight and fat loss. Part of the problem with the decline of coconut oil’s popularity is that it contains saturated fat, which has been vilified in the press, in part due to an organized campaign, from, you guessed it, canola oil manufacturers. Some researchers theorize that coconut oil is an antioxidant, whereas other oils tend to oxidize fairly rapidly. Many signs of aging have been linked to lipid peroxidation. Substituting coconut oil for other cooking oils largely eliminates this problem.
There is plenty of anecdotal evidence that coconut oil speeds metabolism and helps people lose weight. That’s very well and good, but are there any reports from actual researchers, or better yet, double blind research studies on it?
The power of coconut oil comes form the fact that it contains medium chain triglycerides, abbreviated as MCTs. Vegetable oils, on the other hand, contain primarily long chain triglycerides, or LCTs. LCTs have a greater propensity to be stored in the body as fat. MCTs, on the other hand, are more likely to burned as an energy source.
One study demonstrating this was conducted in 1989 at Vanderbuilt University Department of Pediatrics. This study revealed according to researchers “Our results demonstrate that excess dietary energy as MCT stimulates thermogenesis to a greater degree than does excess energy as LCT. This increased energy expenditure, most likely due to lipogenesis in the liver, provides evidence that excess energy derived from MCT is stored with a lesser efficiency than is excess energy derived from dietary LCT.”
McGill University, noted for it’s research on sports medicine, exercise physiology, and diet, also conducted a study on body composition, energy expenditure, substrate oxidation, subjective appetite, and ad libitum energy intake, and how they were effected by the amount of MCTs and LCTs on the diet. The McGill study, again, showed that, in the researcher’s words: “Consumption of a diet rich in MCTs results in greater loss of AT compared with LCTs, perhaps due to increased energy expenditure and fat oxidation observed with MCT intake. Thus, MCTs may be considered as agents that aid in the prevention of obesity or potentially stimulate weight loss.”
Dr. Jon Kabara, a professor at Michigan State University for over 20 years, who researched lipids and their relation to health, noted that “Never before in the history of man is it so important to emphasize the value of Lauric Oils. The medium-chain fats in coconut oil are similar to fats in mother’s milk and have similar nutriceutical effects. These health effects were recognized centuries ago in Ayurvedic medicine. Modern research has now found a common link between these two natural health products—-their fat or lipid content. The medium chain fatty acids and monoglycerides found primarily in coconut oil and mother’s milk have miraculous healing power.”
Another reason for the effectiveness coconut oil has shown for weight loss is derived form the fact the the MCTs it contains behave differently in the body than do other fats. Instead of circulating in our bloodstream as lipo-proteins, MCTs are delivered to your liver for use as energy. That is the kind of behavior we need from our fats. In fact, coconut oil will speed metabolism even more than protein! That’s pretty darn powerful, and I think I am going to add more of it to my diet right now. I’ll report back soon.
Cold Water – It doesn’t get much simpler than this, but drinking cold water will definitely speed your metabolism. That is because your body has to get the water up to body temperature, and that takes energy. Since water has zero calories, the energy it takes has to come from somewhere else.
Water also helps your body burn fat in other ways besides the metabolic rate increase it causes. For example, water keeps your body hydrated so that the liver can put it’s effort to metabolizing fat. If you are dehydrated the liver will instead shift to helping the kidneys pull toxins from the body. The kidneys need copious quantities of good old H2O in order to operate correctly. If they don’t get it, your liver steps in to help, distracting it from it’s fat burning function.
Another bonus for water; you can’t beat the price!
Protein powder – Protein supplementation will help keep your metabolism rockin’ along. Don’t over do it. Stick to the recommended amount (See my post on How Much Protein do I Need to Lose Weight?) A 2007 double blind, randomized study performed at the Minnesota Applied Research Center demonstrated that whey protein supplementation can help burn fat and spare lean muscle.
Subjects were weighed and measured like horses at an auction, then their tissue composition was determined using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA). This is a very accurate method to determine body composition. The subjects reduced their calories 500 calories per day, and one of the groups added the protein supplements to bring their diet to about ¾ gr protien per kilo of body weight, while the other had a placebo.
The weight loss between the two groups was marginally greater for the protein group. What was not marginally greater was the fat loss experienced by the subjects. The protein supplementation group lost 80% more body fat than the group who was not taking extra protein.
The study also found that whey protein influenced hormones that affect metabolism and weight loss.
Cayenne Pepper - Another food that has been shown to cause a mild metabolic increase is cayenne pepper. Add some spice to your diet while you kick your metabolism in the rear.
All foods speed metabolism due to the thermogenic effect caused by the food itself. This can be maximized by carefully choosing the foods you eat. Always remember that you have to burn more calories than you take in to lose weight. You can only increase your metabolism so much by changing your diet.
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