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Every Woman's Smart Nutrition
with Dr. Joey Shulman, DC

5 Ways to Boost a Slow Metabolism

It is no secret that we are growing fatter as a nation in a fast and furious way. In fact, according to Statistics Canada, 59 percent of the Canadian adult population is overweight or obese. With excess weight being linked to a variety of diseases -- such as heart disease, cancer, depression, and stroke -- it's in the best interest of all Canadians to learn nutritional tricks to boost metabolism, take excess weight off and keep it off for good.

When it comes to metabolism, many believe their metabolic rate is "fixed" at a set point when, in fact, it is not. There are several nutritional blunders and missteps that, once understood and removed from the daily diet regime, can help you to increase your metabolism and burn more calories.

The top five things that can slow your metabolism and make you gain weight are:

1. High glycemic index foods

According to a study conducted by Australian researchers, diets that allow people to eat all the low glycemic index foods they want are far more effective than diets that cut fats or calories.

An analysis of six trials involving 202 overweight adults found that dieters who ate only low GI foods lost about 2.2 pounds (1 kg) more than calorie-restricted dieters who ate high GI foods.

High glycemic index foods such as white bread, white rice, refined breakfast cereals, white potatoes and sweets trigger the excess secretion of insulin -- a fat-storing hormone. In addition, excess insulin secretion results in hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) which stimulates cravings and overeating. Sticking to lower glycemic index choices such as fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains is far wiser for long-term weight loss success.

2. Dehydration

Not drinking enough water can encourage your body to "cling on" to extra pounds. Also, people often mistake hunger for thirst so they eat more food (and more calories) when they really should be drinking fresh, clean water. For those of you who increase your water consumption to lose weight and find that you're constantly running to the bathroom, take heed, this too shall pass.

Frequent urination is a sign of your body flushing out the water it has been storing in the past for "survival mode." For more great ways to rehydrate, drink erbals teas, watered-down juices and eat water-concentrated foods such as watermelon or cucumber.

3. Skipping breakfast or meals

The timing of when you eat your meals affects weight loss and metabolism. A recent study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology concluded that skipping meals and eating less frequently may result in weight gain.

The findings show that people who eat four or more times a day are 45 per cent less likely to be obese than those who eat three times a day or less. Also, the study shows that skipping breakfast is linked to a greater chance of obesity.

4. Big portions of food and drink

North Americans fall prey to portion distortion syndrome. In other words, due to ever increasing portion sizes (from your bagel to your order of French fries or restaurant food serving), we are served more and eat more than we realize. In an attempt to prove this theory (and to test why our Parisian friends are thinner than us), researchers weighed portions at 11 similar restaurants in Paris and Philadelphia and found the following:

  • The average portion size in Paris was 25 per cent smaller than in Philadelphia.

  • Chinese restaurants in Philadelphia served dishes that were 72 per cent larger than in Parisian Chinese food restaurants.

  • A candy bar in Philadelphia was 41 per cent larger than the same candy bar in Paris.

  • A soft drink was 53 per cent larger; and A hot dog was 63 per cent larger.

5. Inactivity

There is no way around it -- you must move. Exercise is a critical component to raising metabolic function and burning more calories (even at rest!). In fact, for every pound of muscle you carry, your body requires and burns 50 more calories per day to sustain it.

In order to work exercise into your schedule, take a moment to assess what you think will work for your timeline and lifestyle. Time of year (i.e. winter vs. summer) also affects what type of exercise you would like to do. In short, the best type or exercise is the one that you will enjoy -- and do.

Take-home point: You CAN boost your metabolism
Don't be fooled when it comes to your metabolism. By following the nutrition tips outlined above, you can rev up your metabolic engine and lose those excess stubborn pounds for good!

About Dr. Joey

Dr. Joey Shulman is the author of Winning the Food Fight - Every Parent's Guide to Raising a Healthy, Happy Child (Wiley, 2003) and the National Best Seller The Natural Makeover Diet - 4 steps to Inner Health and Outer Beauty (Wiley, 2006) . Her latest release The Last 15 - A Weight Loss Breakthrough is available in all stores as of Jan. 08.

As one of Canada's foremost authorities on nutrition and wellness, she is a highly sought after speaker, inspiring and educating large audiences across North America on health and wellness. For more information, please visit


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