We tend to obsess about every last crumble that goes into our mouth when the focus should be on eating an overall balanced diet and exercising (exercise is key to keep metabolism in tip top form, especially as we age). “Forget about worrying over things like food combining and focus your mental energy on eating a balanced diet without raising your stress hormones, which can cause much more GI discomfort and metabolism disturbance than food combining,” says Dr. Mikhail Varshavski aka Doctor Mike. That said there are specific foods that can be particularly troubling.
Here’s Doctor Mike’s breakdown.
“The lack of iodine in sea salt could harm your thyroid and lead to a slowdown of your metabolism,” says Doctor Mike. As an alternative he suggests a pinch of iodized table salt. Salt in general should be consumed in moderation, however, as it’s not only unhealthy, it causes bloating. It’s also often hidden in foods – including sweet ones – because it makes you crave more, so read labels carefully and never add salt to anything unless you really need to!
Alcohol and soda
“Outside of its effects on your liver, alcohol acts as a diuretic leading to mild dehydration, which has been proven to slow the metabolism. Rehydrating with a glass of water boosted metabolism by up to 30%. It’s important to drink in moderation and rehydrate in between drinks with water.” Also note that sodas, which usually contain high amounts of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) can also do damage to your metabolism.
Overconsumption of white carbs (bread, rice, pasta, sweets)
“These are called simple carbs for a reason: they do not take much effort to digest therefore they don’t encourage your body to crank up that metabolism,” explains Doctor Mike. “Also once you’ve digested these carbs you get a sharp insulin spike, followed by a quick return to hunger. Following a low glycemic load diet (ie one low in simple carbs) has been shown promise to decrease risk factors for obesity and cardiovascular disease. Remember whenever you process a carb (i.e., stripping of bran, removal of germ, finely ground) you speed up how fast that insulin spikes.” As an alternative try complex carbs like whole oats, black beans, whole grain bread, 100% cereal bran, or high fiber crackers like GG crackers for your carb fix.
Low consumption of protein-rich foods
“You need protein-rich foods to support your skeletal muscles within your body,” explains Doctor Mike. “As you exercise, your body needs to repair and improve your musculature. Consuming healthy amounts of protein increases lean muscle and allows your to have a higher resting metabolic rate, which means you will burn calories even when you’re watching Netflix.” An easy phrase to remember that I learned from F-Factor founder Tanya Zuckerbrot is “fiber and protein at every meal makes losing weight no big deal.”
Limit Red meats and avoid hot dogs/cold cuts
“Outside of the cancer risk/cardiovascular risk these foods pose to your health they are also pro-inflammatory foods,” says Doctor Mike. “Whenever you have increased inflammation in your body, your metabolism will suffer as the inflammatory compounds interrupt some of the cellular processes, which keep your metabolism on track.”