09/05/2011 08:24 EDT | Updated 10/08/2011 05:12 EDT

Boost Your Metabolism In Five Steps

Anyone who has a proactive interest in healthy living is likely very familiar with the phrase, 'Boost your metabolism.'

There are many product claims about nutrients/substances that will help you increase "fat burn." But readers beware -- you don't actually need products to alter how quickly your body burns excess fat. And your calorie-burning fire works best when stoked consistently and over time.

So try out these five, all-natural ways to boost your metabolism. Within months, you'll be a fat-burning machine.

Don't Diet

Dieting is a temporary fix. Period. And, often, fad diets slow down the very thing you're trying to speed up when trying to lose weight -- your metabolism. So, if you want to burn the pounds, make sure you keep your engine fired up with small, healthy meals throughout the day. If you deprive your body of food, the brain goes into "storage mode," telling your body to stockpile everything it ingests as fat (so it can be used as energy later one). Five to six small meals a day is a good place to start.

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Eat More Protein

Your body needs protein to maintain lean muscle. In a recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers argued the present recommended daily allowance of protein is woefully inadequate for any active individual. So add a serving, like three ounces of lean meat, two tablespoons of nuts or eight ounces of low-fat yogurt to every meal and snack you eat. As an added bonus, studies show protein can boost post-meal calorie burn by as much as 35 per cent!


Many are still in the dark about the profound implications of sleep -- or lack thereof. Your biological rhythm of sleeping and waking, also known as your circadian rhythm, is intricately tied to your metabolism. Researchers have discovered proper sleep may help maintain or rebalance your calorie-burning fire -- this could help explain why lack of rest or disruption of normal sleep patterns can increase hunger, leading to obesity-related illnesses and accelerated aging. If you deprive yourself of enough hours of sleep, you're effectively disrupting metabolism. Try and hit the hay before 11 p.m. for optimal fat burning potential.

Use Coconut Oil

Yes, it's true: We have to eat fat to lose fat. But not all fats are created equal -- and not all fats are healthy. One of the best fats to boost a sluggish metabolism is non-hydrogenated coconut oil. This fat is a saturated fat, but don't be alarmed -- it's actually good for you. A medium-chain saturated fat, it promotes healthy weight loss by encouraging fat burning. You can cook the oil (it's highly heat stable) or you can add it to a smoothie or drink (take about two tablespoons per day).

Optimize Your Hormones

Balanced hormones are absolutely critical for an optimal metabolism (it's one of the fastest growing research areas around weight loss). With books from authors such as Suzanne Somers reaching the masses, more and more people are becoming aware of the power of these critical metabolic molecules in our body. With the slightest change to our hormone levels, large amounts of physiological, mental and emotional changes occur.

Leading researchers in this field are discovering fascinating tools to properly test and correct any imbalances that may contribute to a sluggish metabolism. Work with a primary care practitioner, trained in functional medicine, to make sure you have optimal levels of the following hormones: Thyroid, estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, insulin and cortisol.

Dr. John Dempster is a Naturopathic Doctor in Toronto. He's the founder of The Dempster Clinic Center for Integrated Medicine and embraces the biochemical uniqueness of each patient. With a focus on regenerative and anti-aging medicine, he focuses on optimizing nutritional and biochemical imbalances.