Metabolism is the term that describes all chemical reactions in the body. It is best known for the process of burning calories.

The higher your metabolism, the more calories you burn, making it easier to maintain or lose body weight.  We are able to increase and decrease our metabolic rate depending on what foods we eat.

Foods that slow down the body’s metabolic rate include:

  • White flour – refined/simple grains don’t require your body to work hard to break them down
  • Alcohol – decreases the body’s ability to burn fat – instead of using your metabolism to burn the calories, your body has to detoxify the chemicals instead
  • Fruit juice – very high in sugar causing your metabolism to slow down 
  • Fried food – usually contains trans fats and hydrogenated oils, which really slow down rates of  metabolism 
  • Too much red meat – diets high in red meat cause slower digestion and therefore a reduced metabolism 
  • Soda/fizzy drinks – found to reduce the metabolic rate and promote fat storage in the liver and tummy

Let’s have a look at what we can eat to increase and boost our body’s metabolism. 

Foods that speed-up the body’s metabolic rate include:

  • Chili peppers (spicy foods) – Chili peppers contain chemicals called capsinoids that have been shown to increase the rate that we burn energy
  • Celery – Celery is high in water and fibre and even when chewing, it stimulates digestion and metabolism.
  • Green tea – Epigallocatechin gallate (ECG) is the form of catechin found in green tea and a substance that has been proven to enhance the fat burning process
  • Citrus fruits – especially lemon, lime, grapefruit – Lemon water in the morning stimulates digestion and metabolism and gives the body a boost to start the day
  • Ginger – Adding pieces of ginger to hot water or food increases the rate at which we burn calories
  • Cinnamon – a thermogenic (calorie burning) spice. It also has been found to reduce sugar cravings too
  • Broccoli – contains both calcium, vitamin C and is a good source of fibre. All shown to increase the Thermic Effect of Food (metabolic rate) after eating.

When losing weight, our metabolic rate can spike and then come back down again as our bodies get used to the new foods. Eating protein with every meal increases your metabolic rate (more than carbohydrates or fat), balances blood sugar levels to reduce cravings and it also helps to preserve your metabolic rate throughout weight loss.

Including the above foods into your routine, plus drinking plenty of water and getting enough sleep can have a really positive impact on your metabolism. 


Boschmann, M et al. (2003) Water-Induced Thermogenesis. Available at:

Cox Cl et al. (2012). Consumption of fructose-sweetened beverages for 10 weeks reduces net fat oxidation and energy expenditure in overweight/obese men and women.. Available at:

Davidson, B ( 2017) The Stark Naked 21-Day Metabolic Reset. HarperCollins. 

Diepvens K et al (2007) Obesity and thermogenesis related to the consumption of caffeine, ephedrine, capsaicin, and green tea. Available at:

Gregersen NT et al (2013).  Acute effects of mustard, horseradish, black pepper and ginger on energy expenditure, appetite, ad libitum energy intake and energy balance in human subjects. Available at:

Halton TL, Hu FB. (2004). The effects of high protein diets on thermogenesis, satiety and weight loss. Available at:

Muhammad S M et al (2012) Ginger consumption enhances the thermic effect of food and promotes feelings of satiety without affecting metabolic and hormonal parameters in overweight men: A pilot study. Available at:

Soenen S et al (2013). Normal protein intake is required for body weight loss and weight maintenance, and elevated protein intake for additional preservation of resting energy expenditure and fat free mass. Available at:

Westerterp KR. (2004) Diet induced thermogenesis. Available at:


Posted by Sarah@Kaido


  1. thank you. useful info.


  2. This is so useful and gives you a better understanding of food


  3. Very interesting


  4. Would love to learn more about metabolism in middle age and how to manage weight gain during this period of life. Thanks.


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