A fast metabolism is incredibly helpful for achieving weight loss, and the more effectively your body can burn through food as fuel without storing it as fat, the more effectively you’ll be able to lose weight. You can increase your metabolism naturally through exercise, but even eating certain nutrients can put your body into fat burning overdrive, with healthy fats being one such food.
In order to understand the impact eating fat has on boosting your metabolism, we spoke with nutritionist Lisa Richards, and Jay Cowin, NNCP, RNT, RNC, CHN, CSNA, and ASYSTEM’s Registered Nutritionist and Director of Formulations to get a sense of the best type of fat to eat for sustainable weight loss. This is what they had to say.
There are a variety of different types of fats, with some offering more benefit to your body than others. While saturated and trans fats are often found in processed foods and are linked to weight gain and a slowed metabolism, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats have a completely opposite effect on the body.
“Foods that contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats improve metabolism in two ways,” explains Richards. “First, these fats improve satiety, which will help the consumer feel full for longer after their meal. This prevents overeating on calories and calorie dense foods.”
Not only are these fats great for keeping you full which over time will make it easier to fall into a calorie deficit, but they also have anti-inflammatory properties which can help to release water weight naturally. “Second, these fats are anti-inflammatory. When chronic, low-grade inflammation is present in the body it causes weight retention,” says Richards. “Once this inflammation is dealt with, commonly through dietary approaches, the body can begin to get to its regular weight and even increase the metabolism.”
Working through digestive issues and inflammation is a great way to improve your overall health without actually losing weight, and simply making small swaps in your diet that include more of these fatty foods can make all the difference in reducing bloating and inflammation.
In determining how much fat you should realistically be including in your diet for a faster metabolism, Cowin suggests that it adds up to around 20-35% of your calorie intake throughout the day. “If a person is a very muscular individual or trying to gain weight they may need more fat in their diet. People who are trying to lose weight will find that fat intake needs to be decreased in order to see results,” he notes.
Sticking within these numbers, your body will be better served to keep the majority of your fatty foods to the morning in order to provide ample energy to burn through. “They are typically low in calories but provide you with the energy that you need for your day. You can also eat them around noon if you are hungry and have not had breakfast yet,” notes Cowin.
“Adding these foods to your diet will help you maximize your weight loss goals. Some examples of fat-burning foods include egg whites, almonds, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, yogurt, nut butters, and turkey bacon,” he adds. However, if you prefer consuming your healthy fats in the evening, foods such as salmon or even a salad with avocado will allow you to meet your daily intake while boosting your metabolism.
With a balanced diet composed of nutrient dense carbs, protein, and healthy fat, your body will develop an increased metabolism which will help to burn through food more effectively, allowing you to achieve a calorie deficit with ease. Integrating exercise into your routine can also help to raise your fat burning capabilities, but if you’re focused solely on your diet, healthy fat can make a significant difference in how your body uses food as fuel.