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Top 5 Ways to Boost Your Metabolism (Backed by Science)

Updated: Sep 30

The higher it is, the more calories you burn and the easier it is to lose weight and keep it off.


Metabolism is a term that describes all the chemical reactions in your body.

These chemical reactions keep your body alive and functioning.

However, the word metabolism is often used interchangeably with metabolic rate, or the number of calories you burn.


Having a high metabolism can also give you energy and make you feel better. Here are 5 easy ways to increase your metabolism.

1. Eat Plenty of Protein at Every Meal

Eating food can increase your metabolism for a few hours.

This is called the thermic effect of food (TEF). It’s caused by the extra calories required to digest, absorb and process the nutrients in your meal.

Protein causes the largest rise in TEF. It increases your metabolic rate by 15–30%, compared to 5–10% for carbs and 0–3% for fats (1 Source).


Eating protein has also been shown to help you feel more full and prevent you from overeating (2 Source, 3 Source, 4 Source, 5 Source, 6 Source, 7 Source, 8 Source).

One small study found that people were likely to eat around 441 fewer calories per day when protein made up 30% of their diet (9 Source).


Eating more protein can also reduce the drop in metabolism often associated with losing fat. This is because it reduces muscle loss, which is a common side effect of dieting (10 Source, 11 Source, 12 Source, 13 Source, 14 Source, 15 Source).


2. Drink More Cold Water

People who drink water instead of sugary drinks are more successful at losing weight and keeping it off (16 Source, 17 Source, 18 Source, 19 Source, 20 Source).


This is because sugary drinks contain calories, so replacing them with water automatically reduces your calorie intake. However, drinking water may also temporarily speed up your metabolism (18 Source, 21 Source).


Studies have shown that drinking 17 ounces (0.5 liters) of water increases resting metabolism by 10–30% for about an hour (22 Source, 23 Source).


This calorie-burning effect may be even greater if you drink cold water, as your body uses energy to heat it up to body temperature (21 Source, 24 Source).


Water can also help fill you up. Studies show that drinking water a half an hour before you eat can help you eat less (25 Source, 26 Source, 27 Source).


One study of overweight adults found that those who drank half a liter of water before their meals lost 44% more weight than those who didn’t (19 Source).



3. Do a High-Intensity Workout

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) involves quick and very intense bursts of activity.

It can help you burn more fat by increasing your metabolic rate, even after your workout has finished (28 Source, 29 Source, 30 Source, 31 Source).


This effect is believed to be greater for HIIT than for other types of exercise. What’s more, HIIT has also been shown to help you burn fat (32 Source, 33 Source, 34 Source).


One study in overweight young men found that 12 weeks of high-intensity exercise reduced fat mass by 4.4 pounds (2 kg) and belly fat by 17% (35 Source).



4. Stand up More

Sitting too much is bad for your health ().

Some health commentators have even dubbed it “the new smoking.” This is partly because long periods of sitting burn fewer calories and can lead to weight gain.


In fact, compared to sitting, an afternoon of standing up at work can burn an extra 174 calories.


If you have a desk job, try standing up for short periods to break up the length of time you spend sitting down. You can also invest in a standing desk.

You can find standing desk kits and setups online.


6. Drink Green Tea or Oolong Tea

Green tea and oolong tea have been shown to increase metabolism by 4–5%.

These teas help convert some of the fat stored in your body into free fatty acids, which may increase fat burning by 10–17%.


As they are low in calories, drinking these teas may be good for both weight loss and weight maintenance.


It’s thought their metabolism-boosting properties may help prevent the dreaded weight loss plateau that occurs due to a decrease in metabolism.

However, some studies find that these teas do not affect metabolism. Therefore, their effect may be small or only apply to some people.


You can find green tea and oolong tea online.


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