Foods That Slow Your Metabolism

by May 27, 2013

Your metabolism is responsible for burning the calories you have in your body and using them as energy. It’s incredibly important to keep your metabolism working properly in order to lose or maintain weight. A slow metabolism can lead to weight gain and low energy. Focusing on the foods you choose to consume is very important to your metabolic function. There are many different foods to avoid that have a negative impact on your metabolism and in turn, your health.

Why Metabolism Is Important

Metabolism Explained


Your metabolism is what provides your body with enough energy to sustain life as it processes and breaks down the foods you consume and rebuilds them into energy and energy transports. The way your metabolism functions determines you overall health.  It is responsible for the catabolism or breakdown of foods for energy and anabolism or the synthesis of compounds needed by the cells, including protein synthesis, RNA and DNA.  If you do not have a healthy balance, you are at higher risk for metabolic diseases.   For example: if your body is unable to metabolise blood sugar properly, you may be facing a diabetes diagnosis. People who metabolise slowly may not be getting the energy they need while people who metabolise too quickly may struggle with weight loss. There are a few factors that can lead to a slower metabolic rate and age is one of them; as you get older your metabolism slows down.   It is important as you age that you make sure that you avoid foods that will slow your metabolism any further and that you have daily exercise which keeps your metabolism functioning at a healthier rate. Eating healthily will help you to support your metabolism at all times of life.

Minerals gained from healthy foods are necessary to help regulate your metabolism.  These minerals can be found in healthy foods as well in quality supplements.  According to a Elmhurst College chemistry text, there are  about 25 elements that have been found to be essential for this process and a deficiency of them can result in disease.

Major Minerals Needed Include: calcium, phosphorus, iron, sodium, potassium, and chloride ions.

Other Essential Minerals Needed Include: copper, cobalt, manganese, zinc, magnesium, fluorine, and iodine.

Foods To Avoid Eating That Slow Your Metabolism:

Fatty Foods – Fats are not as easily digested as other foods, therefore, they have a negative impact on the rate at which your metabolism works. Foods that are high in fat cause your metabolism to slow down while your body stores the fat for future use. Not only does this have a undesirable impact on your metabolism, but also on your weight. Avoiding fried foods, fast foods or anything high in bad fats benefits your metabolic function.  Fatty foods are easily accessible and most diets are too high in fats.  In addition to slowing your metabolism, fatty foods highly increase your chance of heart disease and heart attacks.  According to the Harvard Gazette :  “Given the 1.2 million annual [heart attacks] and deaths from coronary heart disease in the United States, near-elimination of industrially produced trans fats might avert between 72,000 and 228,000 coronary heart events each year,” the researchers report. Trans fats are also thought to play a role in unexplained sudden deaths and diabetes.  The major sources of trans fats include deep-fried fast foods, bakery products, packaged snack foods, margarines, and crackers. French fries, breaded fish burgers, breaded chicken nuggets, Danish pastries, pies, doughnuts, and cookies are the big offenders.  Ten to 19 percent of the coronary heart disease in the United States (120,000 to 228,000 heart attacks) could be averted by reducing the intake of trans fats, says Walter Willett, head of the research and Fredrick Stare Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.    (Harvard University, William J. Cromie, April 20, 2006)  Avoiding trans fats and fatty foods can be a major health benefit in avoiding heart disease and in keeping your metabolism functioning at a healthy rate, thereby helping you to maintain a healthy weight.

Refined Carbohydrates White bread, pasta and rice are all difficult for your body to break down due to the fact that the complex carbs have been removed from them all together.  This causes your metabolism to work at a slow crawl. Making better choices of carbohydrates will aid your metabolism.   As it has to work harder processing the nutrients in complex carbohydrates, it will speed up your metabolism.  The Harvard School of Public Health has a great article addressing good carbohydrates.  (

Suggestions For Adding Good Carbohydrates:

  • Get grains intact – using whole wheat, brown rice, whole grain pasta, and try using some of the more unfamiliar grains like quinoa, whole oats, and bulgur.
  • Eat whole grains for breakfast – Try steel-cut oats instead of quick oats. If you eat cold cereals, look at the ingredient lists making sure that whole wheat, whole oats, or other whole grains are first on the ingredient list.  Again, experiment with some of the other grains like quinoa and millet.
  • Use whole grain breads for your sandwiches – Again, check the ingredient list to make sure that whole-grains are listed first.
  • Bag the potatoes – Instead, try brown rice, bulgur, wheat berries, millet, or hulled barley with your dinner.
  • Pick up some whole wheat pasta – If you have a difficult time with whole wheat pasta, try using some of the pastas that are half whole wheat and another flour.
  • Bring on the beans – Beans are an excellent source of slowly digested complex carbohydrates as well as a great source of protein and will aid in having a healthy metabolic rate.

Pesticide Laden Foods – Fruits and vegetables grown in a pesticide ridden environment can be incredibly detrimental to your metabolic function. Some of the chemicals used in pesticides cannot only put a damper on the way you metabolise your meals, but also cause you to gain weight. Consume organic fruits and vegetables whenever possible, and ensure that you are washing all of your fruits and vegetables.  Even organic produce needs to be cleaned but fruits and vegetables that are not organic can be high in pesticides so you must take extra care to wash them thoroughly.  Organic foods used to be difficult to find but are now more readily available in most grocery stores and have become lower in price.  If you can, choose organic to lessen your exposure to unwanted chemical pesticides.

Sugar Avoid foods high in sugar in order to keep your metabolism going strong. Sugar is absorbed very quickly and can spike blood glucose levels which in turn can slow your metabolism. Avoiding foods high in sugars such as ice cream, candy bars and baked goods can be extremely beneficial to not only your metabolism, but also your weight loss goals.  All pastries, doughnuts, cakes and other baked goods are high in sugars but muffins, scones and quick breads can also be high.  Watch labels and be careful when eating processed foods that have sugar added.  Instead of ice cream, choose sorbets or sherbets.   Low-fat, low-sugar yogurts can also be a good choice.

Eating in a way that benefits your metabolism will help you maintain a healthy weight, feel better, have more energy and prevent metabolic diseases.

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