Trying to Boost Your Metabolism? An Expert Says These Are the 4 Things That Actually Work
Metabolism is one of those words that gets thrown around a lot in health and wellness, especially if you're trying to lose weight. Yes, you can boost your metabolism, but eating hot peppers and drinking cold water first thing in the morning won't work. In order to learn more about our metabolism and how we can boost it, we spoke to Dori Arad, PhD, RDN, CDE, a Mount Sinai Physiolab director.
"When people refer to metabolism at its most simplistic form or meaning, it's taking stored energy that is in food and liquid and transforming it to usable energy or stored energy in the body," Dr. Arad told POPSUGAR. He explained that metabolism is "a very complex and involved process with a lot of different factors." According to Dr. Arad, when people refer to metabolism, they're referring to their metabolic rate, "which simply means energy production — how quick and efficient they produce energy."
Dr. Arad explained that everyone is born with a different metabolic rate; some people are able to produce more energy, resulting in a higher metabolism, whereas others produce less energy and have a slower metabolism. Although everybody is different, Dr. Arad explained that it is possible to biohack or boost your metabolism by eating well and becoming more physically active.
Continue reading to find out the formula for boosting your metabolism.
Do More Strength Training
One of the best ways to improve your metabolism is by being more physically active. "When you exercise, you're burning more calories," Dr. Arad said. You can and should also begin to strength train in order to build more muscle. "If you build more muscle and you have more muscles that require energy, then you're going to increase your metabolic rate," he said.
If you aren't familiar with strength training, this four-week beginner's program is a great starting point.
Eat More Healthy Fats
Another simple way to boost your metabolism, according to Dr. Arad, is to focus on eating more healthy fats. He explained that eating more fat makes it "a bit more difficult for the body to process, and therefore, it expends more calories doing so compared with sugar." The example Dr. Arad provided was eating 100 calories' worth of avocado. "Once it gets to your blood and presented to your cells, it's not 100 calories anymore. It's more like 60 or 70 because your body worked very hard to break down the fat," he said.
Here's a list of healthy fats you can start incorporating into your diet.
Eat More Protein
Along with eating more healthy fats, Dr. Arad said to also increase your protein intake because it will be harder for your body to digest, break down, and store.
Here are some foods that are high in protein.
Eat Less Sugar
Unlike protein and fat, "the amount of energy that it requires for the body to process sugar, is relatively small compared with fat and/or protein," Dr. Arad said. Take a 100-calorie banana, for example. "Almost all of those 100 calories will end up in your system and be presented to your cell, and the cell can either burn it or store it," he explained. For people who aren't very active, those calories will end up getting stored as fat.
In order to learn more about your metabolism, Dr. Arad recommends getting a resting metabolic test (typically around $250, but rates will vary), which is offered at places like the Mount Sinai Physiolab and Fitnescity.