It seems like every healthy thing has been labeled either a superfood or a metabolism booster. We've already busted metabolism myths and learned that drinking water to boost your metabolism and eating breakfast don't help much. Although water and a bowl of yogurt and granola won't boost your metabolism, we learned that intermittent fasting and cardio can help improve your metabolism.
These are just a few of the expert-approved ways to naturally boost your metabolism, which made us wonder if kombucha could also help. To find out if kombucha can help improve your metabolism, POPSUGAR spoke to Michael Ormsbee, PhD, FISSN, CSCS, associate director of sports sciences and medicine at Florida State University.
What Exactly Is Metabolism?
To understand if kombucha boosts your metabolism, you've first got to know what metabolism is. Whether you took biochemistry classes in college and learned all about metabolism or you aren't 100 percent sure how your metabolism works and why it's important, here's what you need to know.
Metabolism is a complex process that relates to how your body produces energy (aka calories) from fat, protein, and sugar/carbohydrates and how it stores that energy. When people use the word metabolism, they're typically referring to their metabolic rate, which is the amount of energy/calories your body needs at rest (before eating and activity) in order for things like your brain and respiratory system to function and keep you alive.
Can Kombucha Boost Your Metabolism?
If your favorite kombucha brand touts a metabolism boost, it's probably wrong. "I've never seen any research showing this," Dr. Ormsbee told POPSUGAR. "However, when we eat anything, our metabolism increases in order to process the food. This is called the thermic effect of food (how much energy it takes for your body to burn food) or TEF," he said. According to Dr. Ormsbee, "Technically, no matter what you eat, you'll get a small increase in metabolism temporarily."
How to Boost Your Metabolism
If you're looking to improve your metabolic rate in the long-term, not just a few hours or so, there are a few things you can do. First, you can consume more high-protein foods. In a previous interview, Avigdor Arad, PhD, RDN, CDE, director of the Mount Sinai PhysioLab, explained this will help because protein is harder for your body to digest, break down, and store. Both Dr. Ormsbee and Dr. Arad also recommend eating more healthy fats.
Similar to protein, fat is more difficult to process than a piece of candy, which means your body has to work harder and expends more calories to break it down. Speaking of sugar, it's relatively easy for your body to process sugar, and if you aren't active, those calories will be stored as fat, Dr. Arad explained.
Another way you can boost your metabolism is by being more physically active. Why? Because when you exercise, you're burning more calories. Dr. Arad also recommends strength training, because muscle is more metabolically active than fat and requires more energy. As a result, your metabolic rate increases. Not sure where to get started with strength training? Here's a four-week program for beginners.
Unfortunately, your favorite kombucha drinks aren't doing much for your metabolism in the long-term, but that doesn't mean you should stop drinking them. Kombucha may not boost your metabolism, but it does contain probiotics and prebiotics that increase the good bacteria in your gut. It can also improve your digestive system and strengthen your immune system. If your goal is to speed up your metabolism, try to eat less sugar, eat more protein and healthy fats, and be more active!