Fact or fiction? Certain foods can boost your metabolism

Fact or fiction? Certain foods can boost your metabolism


Research shows that while certain foods may have very minor effects on your metabolism, there aren’t any foods that can significantly speed it up or slow it down so much that you should be regularly searching to eat or avoid them.

Dr. Emelie Ilarde, a family medicine physician with Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill., helps clear up some myths around certain foods and your metabolism.

  1. Lettuce

The rumor is that lettuce slows down your metabolism, but in reality, lettuce does more good than harm. Eating lettuce, such as salad before a meal, can help you eat fewer calories and keep you full.

Furthermore, it’s a perfectly healthy food many people eat frequently to help them lose weight.

  1. Green tea

Research shows that green tea does increase the number of calories your body burns. Nevertheless, the effect is minimal. How minimal?

If you added an extra spoonful of jelly to your toast, had two tablespoons instead of one tablespoon of dressing on your salad or ate roughly seven to ten extra calories for the day, then maybe you’d classify the metabolism boosting effects of green tea as significant.

  1. Chili peppers/spicy foods

If you’re prone to heartburn, eating spicy foods might not even be in the cards. Luckily, when it comes to metabolism-boosting effects, you’re not missing out on much. While spicy foods can reduce your appetite by temporarily increasing your body temperature, temporarily is the key word. There have been no foods proven to impact long-term weight loss yet.

  1. Caffeinated beverages

Sugary energy drinks are the last thing you want to drink if you’re trying to lose weight. But similar to green tea, caffeinated drinks such as coffee have been known to boost the metabolism – minimally. Mostly, caffeine will help you if you drink it before exercising, thus increasing your energy and helping to rev up your workout. However, if you add sugar or creamer to your coffee, the metabolic boost alone won’t actually help you burn off the empty calories.

“If you’re looking to boost your metabolism, focus on building muscle,” says Dr. Ilarde. “You’re burning calories even when you’re doing nothing. Muscle weighs more than fat, so the inactive metabolic rate for those with more muscle will be greater.”

What else can you do to increase your metabolism that will have noticeable results?

Read more tips here.

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One Comment

  1. Angela Jantzen-Armbrecht August 28, 2017 at 11:11 am · Reply

    Finally an article that dispels the myths of foods that speed up metabolism! I’ve lost track of the people I know who drink green tea relentlessly for that reason, let alone other foods that people pursue for the same reason. This information should be wise-spread.

About the Author

Jamie Bonnema
Jamie Bonnema

Jamie Bonnema, health enews contributor, is a specialist of public affairs and marketing at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn. She earned her BA in communications from DePaul University in Chicago. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, going to concerts, and cheering on the Chicago Cubs.