Metabolism plays a crucial role in determining how efficiently our bodies burn calories and convert food into energy. Boosting metabolism can lead to increased energy levels, weight loss, and improved overall health. This comprehensive article will explore 10 science-backed ways to enhance metabolism, delving into the research that supports each method.
Engage in high-intensity interval training (HIIT)
HIIT involves alternating between short bursts of intense exercise and periods of rest or lower-intensity activity. Studies have shown that HIIT can increase metabolic rate, even after the workout is complete (1).
Study: Boutcher, S. H. (2011). High-intensity intermittent exercise and fat loss. Journal of Obesity, 2011.
Build muscle mass through strength training
Strength training helps increase lean muscle mass, which in turn boosts resting metabolic rate (RMR). Research has demonstrated that regular strength training can increase RMR by up to 9% (2).
Study: Westcott, W. L. (2012). Resistance training is medicine: effects of strength training on health. Current Sports Medicine Reports, 11(4), 209-216.
Consume more protein
A higher protein intake has been shown to increase the thermic effect of food (TEF), meaning the body burns more calories digesting protein than carbohydrates or fats. One study found that a high-protein diet can increase TEF by 15-30% (3).
Study: Pesta, D. H., & Samuel, V. T. (2014). A high-protein diet for reducing body fat: mechanisms and possible caveats. Nutrition & Metabolism, 11(1), 1-8.
Drink green tea or consume green tea extract
Green tea contains catechins, which have been shown to increase metabolism and promote fat oxidation. A meta-analysis found that green tea extract can increase energy expenditure by 4% (4).
Study: Hursel, R., Viechtbauer, W., & Westerterp-Plantenga, M. S. (2009). The effects of green tea on weight loss and weight maintenance: a meta-analysis. International Journal of Obesity, 33(9), 956-961.
Proper hydration is essential for maintaining a healthy metabolism. A study found that drinking 500ml of water can temporarily boost metabolism by up to 30% (5).
Study: Boschmann, M., Steiniger, J., Hille, U., Tank, J., Adams, F., Sharma, A. M., … & Jordan, J. (2003). Water-induced thermogenesis. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 88(12), 6015-6019.
Get a good night’s sleep
Sleep deprivation can negatively affect metabolism and hormone levels, leading to weight gain and reduced energy expenditure. A study found that sleep restriction can reduce resting metabolic rate by 2-8% (6).
Study: Spaeth, A. M., Dinges, D. F., & Goel, N. (2013). Effects of experimental sleep restriction on weight gain, caloric intake, and meal timing in healthy adults. Sleep, 36(7), 981-990.
Incorporate spicy foods
Capsaicin, a compound found in chili peppers, can increase metabolism and promote fat burning. A review of studies found that capsaicin can increase energy expenditure by 50 calories per day (7).
Study: Ludy, M. J., & Mattes, R. D. (
2011). The effects of hedonically acceptable red pepper doses on thermogenesis and appetite. Physiology & Behavior, 102(3-4), 251-258.
Opt for whole, unprocessed foods
Unprocessed foods require more energy to digest, which can increase TEF and boost metabolism. A study comparing whole foods to processed foods found that participants burned 50% more calories after consuming whole foods (8).
Study: Barr, S. B., & Wright, J. C. (2010). Postprandial energy expenditure in whole-food and processed-food meals: implications for daily energy expenditure. Food & Nutrition Research, 54(1), 5144.
Caffeine has been shown to increase metabolism and fat oxidation. A meta-analysis found that caffeine consumption can increase resting metabolic rate by 3-11% (9).
Study: Westerterp-Plantenga, M. S., Lejeune, M. P., & Kovacs, E. M. (2005). Body weight loss and weight maintenance in relation to habitual caffeine intake and green tea supplementation. Obesity Research, 13(7), 1195-1204.
Practice stress management
Chronic stress can negatively impact metabolism by increasing cortisol levels, which can lead to weight gain and reduced energy expenditure. A study found that stress management techniques, such as mindfulness and yoga, can help improve metabolic health (10).
Study: Pascoe, M. C., Thompson, D. R., & Ski, C. F. (2017). Yoga, mindfulness-based stress reduction and stress-related physiological measures: A meta-analysis. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 86, 152-168.
Boosting metabolism is a multifaceted approach that involves incorporating exercise, dietary changes, and lifestyle modifications. The ten science-backed methods discussed in this article can help improve metabolic health, increase energy expenditure, and promote weight loss. By implementing these strategies and staying informed about the latest research, individuals can work towards achieving their health and fitness goals.