Do you want to know the secrets to increasing your metabolism?

There are three  key factors that have an impact on your energy expenditure:

  1. Basal metabolic rate – the number of calories the body needs to maintain body functions while at rest.
  2. Thermic effect of food – the number of calories required to digest, absorb, transport, and store food.
  3. Physical activity – the number of calories expended during daily activity, lifestyle and exercise.

In this weeks blog you will learn how to manipulate some of these factors to unlock the key(s) to a faster metabolism

Factors Affecting Thermic Effect of Food You Eat

Thermic effect of food (TEF) is the energy you use to eat, digest and metabolize food. Diet induced thermogenesis is different for each nutrient and represents about 10% of the total amount of energy ingested over 24 hours. Not a huge number, but if taken into consideration with the other recommendations, has been shown to help with weight loss.

  • Fats have thermic effect approximately 3%.
  • Carbohydrates induced thermogenic response is about 7%.
  • Protein is the most thermogenic nutrient, with the thermic effect close to 30%.

By getting the optimum amount of protein, you can take advantage of the TEF of this macronutrient.

Protein recommendations:

0.8 g-2.0 g /Kg body weight- depending on activity

Hot spicy foods

Hot spicy foods can be thermogenic. These thermogenic herbs and spices include: chilli pepper, horseradish, mustard, cinnamon, fennel seed, garlic, ginger, ginseng, guarana, and turmeric.

Some studies have shown that hot peppers and very spicy foods can increase metabolism by about 20% for about 30 minutes.


Green Tea


There is strong evidence that green tea has thermogenic properties, boosting the number of calories used by the body and promoting  weight loss, especially when combined with increased physical activity and a healthy diet.

Both the caffeine and catechin polyphenols in green tea aid in stimulating the metabolism.

Green tea polyphenols are known to promote weight loss by increasing the metabolism of fats by the liver, inhibiting lipase (fat absorption enzyme) in the digestive tract, and providing a feeling of satiety and fullness.

Eat more Fiber

Dietary fiber is  found mostly  in plants. Humans lack the digestive enzymes needed to break down the bonds that hold together fiber’s sugar units. Therefore, fiber cannot be converted to glucose and contributes no calories to our diet. Most dietary fiber passes through the intestinal tract undigested.

Fiber helps you to feel full longer without adding calories, thereby helping you to lose weight and maintain that weight loss. Eating enough fiber will also help to control blood sugar and will keep your energy levels high.

Some high fiber foods include:

  • Vegetables: asparagus, artichoke, beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, green peas, spinach, turnip, celery
  • Fruits: apple, apricot, fig, orange, peach, pear, plum, prune, raspberries, strawberries, mango, date
  • Nuts and seeds: sunflower seeds, almonds, pistachio nuts

Weight lifting

Weight-lifting builds muscle (lean body mass). The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn. In addition, the calorie burning  continues for several days after weight lifting.

Strength training causes micro trauma to the muscles.  As your body repairs, It burns additional protein, carbohydrates and fat.

You can boost your fat burning by pumping iron three days a week,  performing 3 sets of 6-12 reps at a medium tempo (e.g. 2 seconds up and 2 seconds down). Make sure to include: Squats, Lunges, Deadlifts, Chest Press, Shoulder press, Rowing and  pull downs


Exercise in the right order

Doing cardio first depletes your glycogen and blood glucose, adversely affecting your ability to lift weights. Lifting  weights before hoping on the cardio equipment ramps up your heart rate, so when you get on the treadmill, bike or Elliptical, your metabolism is amped.

Physiologically,  resistance training enhances the effects of aerobic training, while aerobic training, when done before resistance training,  interferes with  the desired adaptations for a developing more lean body mass and a faster metabolism

Many people  focus on doing cardio to lose weight. Chronic cardio can lead to:

1. Decreased lean body mass

2. More efficient fat burning (i.e. you burn less)


Include Intervals

Numerous studies have shown that doing cardio intervals 2-3 x/week at an all-out effort  with moderate resistance, e.g.  5-8  30-second sprints, with 1-2 minutes of active rest between each sprint, burns calories from fat  in the afterburn- Excess post exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC).

Keep Hydrated

Keeping hydrated is essential for your  metabolism.  A study at the  University of Utah showed that participants who guzzled 8-12  glasses of water a day burned more calories at rest than those who drank four. When people are dehydrated there is a significant decline in calorie burning. Adding pieces of fruit enhances the flavor of water, which can help those who find it hard to drink that much

Post workout snack

Exercisers who drink  a post workout  shake with protein and carbs after strength training have been shown to lose fat and gain muscle after  six months of combining this snack with resistance training.

Dr. Geoff’s Smoothie- Unsweetened almond or coconut milk, 1-2 scoops of protein powder, ½ banana, 2 tbsp ground hemp or flax.

Don’t have time for a smoothie, a banana with peanut butter works too. Eat within 30 minutes of working out.

Yoga and meditation

Yoga and meditation get you in the fat burning  mode by  lowering   levels of the stress hormone cortisol. which can inhibit fat burning.  When in excess, cortisol is an overall catabolic hormone, which decreases lean body mass/muscle mass. At the same time, it can  increase appetite and food intake and may increase fat mass. Cortisol also induces insulin resistance , and it has been proposed that it could contribute to metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease.


If you try these metabolic boosts and you are still having problems speeding up your metabolism and losing weight,  you may have  food sensitivities or inflammation, both of which can be controlled by a specific hypoallergenic diet specific to your reactions.

About the Author

Dr. Geoff LecovinNaturopathic Physician/Chiropractor/Acupuncturist/Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist/Corrective Exercise Specialist/Performance Enhancement Specialist/Certified Sports Nutritionist/View all posts by Dr. Geoff Lecovin