One of the most important factors when it comes to losing weight is your metabolism. A faster metabolism will naturally help your body burn more fat and increase your calorie deficit. Meanwhile, a slower metabolism will store more calories as fat, leading to weight gain. Although your metabolic rate is determined by a number of factors, from genetics to physical activity to age, the food and drink you consume also plays a major role. To learn more about foods that slow metabolism, we spoke with dietitians Jesse Feder, CPT at Strength Warehouse and Trista Best, MPH at Balance One. They said there are four main foods that are the worst for your metabolism: sweet cereals, fast food, muffinsand frozen dinners. Keep reading to find out more!
Although cereals are one of the easiest breakfast options to start your day, they are generally low in valuable nutrients. Most cereals also contain sugar which can hurt your metabolism. Feder says sugary cereals are “one of the unhealthiest processed foods you can have.” Added sugars have no nutritional value and lead to empty calories that ruin your metabolism.
“They’re loaded with sugar, sodium, and refined carbs,” he continues. “These things, when eaten in large amounts and on a consistent basis, can lead to obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. Highly processed and refined ingredients usually give you a boost of energy because they can be digested very quickly. This then causes our blood sugar levels to crash and can slow down your metabolism.” So while dietitians like Feder warn against sugary cereals, you don’t have to give up a sugary treat in the morning. Instead, oats overnight. with maple syrup or peanut butter for a natural sweet flavor, are a great breakfast that won’t affect your blood sugar and will keep you full for hours.
Fast food, such as fries, burgers, pizza and more, is very convenient. This type of food unsurprisingly poses a significant threat to your metabolism when consumed regularly. It’s because of the unhealthy ingredients often found in fast food (which is also why they taste so good!).
Feder warns against eating fast food meals on a regular basis. “Fast food meals are made with high amounts of unhealthy fats, sodium and oils. This can also lead to weight gain, obesity, cardiovascular disease, heart disease and stroke, to name a few,” he said. “Ingredients in fast food meals are also highly processed and refined, which can be digested quickly and leave you with a reduced metabolism.” One of the best ways to give in to temptation with fast food is meal prep. This way you have already planned your food for the day. Feder insists, however, that there is nothing wrong with eating a McDonald’s burger or fries once in a while, but don’t make it a habit!
While it might be appealing to just grab a muffin and run out, this tasty treat actually does very little to satiate your appetite and can wreck your metabolism. “Not all muffins are created equal and most are chock full of refined carbs, sugar and fat. While there are some versions of muffins that can help you achieve your health goals, this is not is unfortunately not the case for the popular ones”. said. As with cereal, you don’t want to start your day with a meal that will only give you a temporary boost of energy.
While there are healthy muffins, like oatmeal or bran, delicious chocolate chip blueberry muffins are (unfortunately) usually full of sugar and refined carbs. They don’t actually nourish your body or provide any real benefits to your health. “The ingredient list for a muffin typically includes flour, water, eggs, butter, and sugar, along with chocolate chips and maybe blueberries. Eggs and blueberries are both healthier ingredients, but when paired with the other high-calorie foods on the list, their nutritional quality is essentially negated,” says Best.
Many frozen dinners are loaded with refined carbs, sugar, and trans fats that will do little to improve your health or keep you feeling full for long. Feder says frozen dinners typically contain “high amounts of fat and salt to make them taste good and keep them. High amounts of fat and salt can lead to weight gain, obesity, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease.” So, look for microwave meals that contain vegetables and a source of solid protein. To lose weight, energize your body and achieve a faster metabolism, you need to eat a diverse diet rich in macro and micronutrients. It’s important to avoid foods like sugary cereals, fast food, muffins, and frozen foods because they slow down your metabolism. Instead, try some of the healthy alternatives listed above. Your body will thank you!