How much — and when — you eat can affect your metabolism.

If you’re skipping meals early in the day and then sitting down to a big dinner, you’re probably sabotaging your metabolism. “If you don’t eat all day and then eat a large meal at night, you’ll get a higher insulin response and you’re much more likely to develop metabolic dysfunction,” Cederquist warns. In a study published in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry in July 2015, researchers found that mice given their daily allotment of food in one large meal developed more metabolic problems and gained more abdominal fat than mice fed several times a day — even though the first group of mice ate less food overall than the second. Eat healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day — and pack healthful, low-calorie snacks to nosh on in between meals.

Vitamin D may play a role.

Vitamin D is usually touted for its contribution to bone health, but research has shown that it could also play a role in metabolism and weight change. A 2013 study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that vitamin D deficiency was associated with an increased risk of becoming obese.

A healthy metabolism promotes a healthy mind.

Aside from weight maintenance, a well-functioning metabolism comes with many other positive benefits, says Brian Quebbemann, MD, a bariatric medicine specialist with the NEW Program in Newport Beach, California. “The same hormones that affect our physical health, control mood, hunger, sex drive, and ability to cope with stress,” he says.

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