The 12 worst eating habits for your metabolism

Metabolic health is very important when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Your metabolism is often referred to as your body’s internal furnace, responsible for converting food and drink into energy. This chemical process regulates how quickly the body burns calories, which in turn affects weight management and health.

While your metabolism can operate like a finely tuned machine, constantly producing the energy needed to power basic body functions even while you sleep and rest, if this engine slows down, it can lead to weight loss , energy levels and overall health issues.

Sometimes your metabolism can be slow without even realizing it. Common symptoms of a slow metabolism include hair loss, dry skin, fatigue, weight gain, or difficulty losing weight. Although a slow metabolism can be frustrating, there are certain dietary changes you can make to help speed up your metabolic rate and achieve some health goals.

Read on to learn about some of the worst eating habits for your metabolism, and if you’re looking for some healthy foods to help improve your health, check out these 10 best high-protein foods to boost your metabolism.

Eating too many refined carbohydrates and added sugars.


according to Mary Sabat MS, RDN, LDa diet too high in refined carbohydrates may harm your metabolism.

“Eating excess amounts of refined carbohydrates, such as sugary cereals and white bread, can cause blood sugar levels to rise quickly and then drop sharply,” Sabat says. “These fluctuations can disrupt your metabolism and make it harder for your body to Effectively regulates energy and fat stores.”

A similar effect may come from too much added sugar, Sabat adds. “High sugar intake can lead to insulin resistance, a weakened cellular response to insulin, which hinders the body’s ability to control blood sugar levels and store fat efficiently.” Negative impact. As with consuming too many refined carbohydrates, blood sugar often drops too low after a high sugar intake, leading to hunger and overeating. “

RELATED: 5 Mistakes Women Make That Slow Down Their Metabolism

Not eating enough healthy fats.

Low fat diet for weight loss, healthy fats concept

In addition to being delicious and filling, sources of healthy fats like fish, avocados, and nuts are also important for your metabolic health. Without them, your metabolism may be negatively affected.

“Not including healthy fats in your diet can disrupt your metabolism because fat plays a critical role in hormonal regulation and overall metabolic function,” Sabat said. “Healthy fats, such as those found in avocados, nuts, and olive oil, are essential for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) and the production of important hormones such as insulin and thyroid hormone. If your diet contains enough of healthy fats, your body may have difficulty maintaining hormonal balance and proper nutrient absorption, which may lead to metabolic irregularities and energy imbalances.”

To make sure you’re adding healthy fats to your diet, try topping your rice bowl with a few avocado slices, using olive oil and vinegar as a salad dressing, or grabbing a handful of your favorite nuts as a condiment. snack.

Emergency dieting.

lowest ranked diet

We know it’s easy to be tempted by crash diets, especially when the pressure to lose weight quickly is all around us. However, crash dieting is never healthy and can actually mess with your metabolism.

“Extreme caloric restriction and crash diets will slow down your metabolism as your body adapts to the reduced caloric intake by conserving energy,” Sabat says. “This adaptation often results in muscle loss once a normal diet is resumed. , it becomes more difficult to maintain a healthy weight.”

Sabat emphasizes the slow integration of better eating habits, saying, “Adapting to lifestyle changes over time, rather than making quick and drastic changes in eating habits, will lead to long-term health and weight control.”

Related: 65 Healthy Weight-Loss Dinner Recipes for Busy Weekends

The diet is low in vitamins and minerals.

Emotional eating concept

Eating mostly processed foods and not getting enough fruits and vegetables may prevent you from getting enough important vitamins and minerals, which Sabat says can harm your metabolic health.

“A diet low in vitamins and minerals can disrupt metabolism because these micronutrients play a vital role in various metabolic processes. For example, vitamins and minerals are enzymes involved in energy production, nutrient metabolism, and hormone regulation. Important cofactor,” Sabat said. “When your body is deficient in these essential nutrients, it may have difficulty converting food into energy efficiently, regulating appetite, and maintaining proper metabolic balance, potentially leading to a slowed metabolism and various metabolic disorders.”

solution? “Providing your body with a balanced, varied diet will ensure that vitamin and mineral needs are met and avoid metabolic disruption,” says Sabat.

Skip the post-workout snack.

protein bar

“To lose weight, some people think, ‘I don’t need to snack after a workout,’ but what happens next is not good,” says Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD. “Typically, they feel extra hungry over the next few hours and often overeat (especially carbohydrates). So not only do they miss the optimal nutritional window for recovery, but now their blood sugar Having been on a roller coaster, this may cause their blood sugar to go on a roller coaster,” negatively affecting metabolism. “

If you remember from earlier in our article, it’s best to avoid blood sugar spikes and crashes as much as possible, as continually experiencing them can wreak havoc on your metabolism. To avoid this, have a post-workout snack such as a protein bar or shake, berry cheese, or a piece of whole-wheat toast with avocado and a hard-boiled egg.

RELATED: The 9 Best Store-Bought Protein Shakes, According to Nutritionists

Drinking too much alcohol.


When you drink alcohol, your body prioritizes breaking down the alcohol over the other nutrients you consume. “This may lead to increased fat storage and reduced fat burning,” says Lisa Young, PhD, RDN.

Sabat agrees, saying it’s important not to consume too much alcohol when you want to improve metabolic health.

“Excessive alcohol consumption slows down your metabolism because your body prioritizes metabolizing alcohol rather than burning fat and calories. Additionally, alcohol can lead to increased appetite and poor food choices,” Sabat says.

Not getting enough protein throughout the day.

Avocado Caprese Lunch Bowl with Chicken Tomato Pesto

Getting enough protein is an important part of promoting a healthy metabolism.According to a study published in the journal nutrition and metabolismconsuming a high-protein diet is directly linked to better overall metabolism.

Lauren Harris Pincus, MS, RDNThe founder of Nutrition Starring You adds that it’s not just how much protein you eat, but also when you eat it. “Most of us eat enough total protein, but we don’t properly distribute it between meals and snacks to maximize muscle growth and repair,” says Pincus.

She recommends setting a specific protein goal for each meal to ensure you’re getting enough protein throughout the day. “Aim for at least 20 to 25 grams of protein (3 to 4 ounces) at each meal, especially breakfast,” says Pincus.

RELATED: 38 High-Protein Breakfasts to Keep You Feeling Full

do not eat breakfast.


It can be tempting to wake up in the morning and skip breakfast. Maybe you were too busy and forgot to eat while drinking coffee, or you were trying to cut calories so you decided to skip the first meal of the day. Whatever the reason for skipping, you might want to reconsider!

“Think of your metabolism as a fire; in order for it to burn, you have to light it,” says Goodson, “and breakfast does just that.”

If you have trouble “lighting up” in the morning, try changing up your breakfast routine so you can eat a balanced meal.

“The goal is to jump-start your metabolism with a nutrient-dense breakfast that’s packed with fiber, protein and healthy fats,” Goodson says. “This might include eggs with veggies, oatmeal with peanut butter, Greek yogurt with berries, Or breakfast on a whole-wheat tortilla with eggs, cheese, lean protein (veggies are a plus) and fruit.”

Consuming too many daily calories at night.

Man eats leftover pizza as late night snack

Yes, focusing on breakfast helps your metabolism, but it’s important to pay attention to other meals throughout the day, too. For example, people who eat a lot of calories at dinner or late at night may have a negative impact on their metabolism.

“Our bodies like to eat during the day because we’re more active during the day and need proper fuel,” Pincus says. We don’t eat while we sleep because our bodies don’t need it, but what we eat during the day can make a difference. The time we spend at night, in turn, affects our metabolism!

“When the sun goes down, your digestive system slows down in preparation for sleep, so people who skip breakfast, eat very little during the day, and consume a lot of their daily calories at night are going against their natural biological rhythms,” Pincus said. .”

To balance your metabolism with your natural circadian rhythm, Pincus recommends eating a nutritious breakfast, a hearty lunch, and a small dinner.

Related: 15 Healthy Freezer Dinners for Easy Weeknight Meals

Not getting enough fiber.


Fiber is an important part of maintaining metabolic health.according to NutrientsNot only does fiber help you maintain a healthy metabolism, it can also help fight diseases like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer.

When it comes to metabolism, fiber helps in two main ways: the digestive process and keeping you full.

“Fiber requires more energy to boost metabolism, and fiber-containing fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, seeds and whole grains help keep you full and well-nourished throughout the day,” says Pincus.

Not eating enough calories.

plant-based meals

Cutting calories is sometimes an effective way to achieve weight loss goals, but it can slow down your metabolism if you don’t consume enough calories throughout the day to meet your body’s needs.

“You have to eat calories to burn calories, and while losing weight requires a caloric deficit, eating too few calories causes your body to think food is scarce and slow down your metabolism to compensate,” Goodson says.

RELATED: How Many Carbs You Need to Eat Every Day to Lose Weight

Eating too many ultra-processed foods.

junk food

Your metabolism is affected by the amount of food you eat and when you eat it, but it is also affected by the type of food you eat. Therefore, many experts recommend limiting your intake of processed foods.

“Highly processed packaged foods tend to be digested quickly and lack fiber, which means they don’t require a lot of energy to process,” Pincus said.

But sometimes you get stuck and need a snack. If you need to buy packaged foods, Pincus recommends “looking for fiber-rich foods like whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, fruits and vegetables whenever possible.”

This article has been updated since its original publication to include additional entries, research, and proofreading revisions.

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