Monthly Archives: August 2013

Tune Up Your Metabolism

WeightsRevamping your metabolism is more than just about exercise. Research suggests what and when you eat and how and when you exercise can play a role, too.

Here are some simple steps to take to rev up your metabolism and help you lose weight.

Don’t Forgo Your Morning Meal

You know the age-old saying: “Breakfast is the most important part of the day.” And well, it’s true. Research shows that breakfast plays an important role in jump-starting your metabolism. A healthy breakfast of fruit, yogurt and wholewheat toast or cereal is a great and healthy way to signal to your body that it’s time to start working. When you skip out on breakfast it’s often counter-productive as your body remains in rest mode and you may end up hungry and eating more throughout the day.

Add a Little Protein

Did you know eating protein can help crank up your metabolism? To step your metabolism up, try upping the amount of lean protein at breakfast and lunch and decreasing the amount of sugar and refined carbohydrates and fats in your diet. Your body will work harder to break down and digest proteins, increasing your metabolic rate1. How much an increase? It is not clear. But even a slight increase adds up, day after day.

So how much protein do you need at breakfast and lunch? Studies indicate 25-30 grams boost calorie-burning, satiety and muscle growth. Here are some suggestions: 1 cup Greek yogurt = 23 g protein; 1 egg or egg white + 1 cup milk + toast + peanut butter = 25 g protein; 3 oz chicken = 28 g protein.

As an added bonus, studies show those who eat more protein at each meal typically feel fuller and are more likely to eat fewer calories daily2. Great protein sources include fish, lean red meat, chicken breast, turkey, nonfat Greek yogurt, eggs and egg whites, beans and lentils.

Spice it Up

Turning up the spice on your food has been found to speed up metabolic rates, according to recent studies. Spicy foods help to generate heat and raise body temperatures when consumed. The heat source can be attributed to capsaicin and is found in a wide variety of peppers and spices, including jalapenos, habaneros, cayenne and most other chili peppers. While how much spices increase metabolic rates is debatable, spices also can be responsible for suppressing your appetite and making you feel fuller….thereby boosting weight loss.

Drink More Water

Sipping water throughout the day is a quick and easy way to speed up your digestive tract, burn more calories and eat less. Research suggests your body’s ability to burn calories relies heavily on having enough water to work effectively. When you drink more water ( 2 liters daily), there is actually an increase in the efficiency of your cells, speeding up metabolic rates. Water also helps you feel full, cutting appetite.

True thirst disguises itself as hunger. Drink water first. Hunger may disappear. Try drinking a glass or two of water before and after each meal.

Pump Iron

The more muscle you have the higher your resting metabolic rate. This means that even when you are sitting, you are actually burning more calories than those with more body fat. The more muscle you have the more calories you burn. Toning up your body and increasing the amount of muscle mass through exercises such as weight lifting, Pilates, yoga, bands, can help give your body a big metabolic boost.

Pump the Heart and Lungs

Aerobic activity, including fast walking, biking, jogging, swimming and tennis, for 40 minutes or more boosts your calorie burn for the moment and several hours later. High intensity interval training – alternating fast and slower-paced activity every 1-2 minutes – for 40 minutes has been shown to speed up weight loss and fat loss.

Use any or all of these ideas, to help keep your weight in check.

For more ideas on healthy eating, calcium and fiber sources, and anti-osteoporosis exercises, check out The Cooper Clinic Solution to the Diet Revolution: Step Up to the Plate (2009). My guidebook of tips makes healthy eating more enjoyable and more manageable. Connect with me online at @GeorgiaKostas and Facebook/Georgia KostasNutrition and visit:

This nutrition information does not address individual health conditions. Please consult with your physician or registered dietitian to meet specific health and dietary needs.

1. “Effect of Dietary Protein Content on Weight Gain, Energy Expenditure, and Body Composition During Overeating.” The Journal of the American Medical Association. January 2012.

2. Leidy, HJ. “Beneficial effects of a higher-protein breakfast on the appetitive, hormonal, and neural signals controlling energy intake regulation in overweight/obese.” The American Journal of Nutrition 97(4):677-688. 2013.

# # #