Weight Loss

13 Foods to speed up metabolism -3 beverages too-1 will surprise you!

By Kim Crawford, M.D. Last updated: August 3, 2020
foods to speed up metabolism

The 13 Foods to speed up metabolism

Your metabolism is partly ruled by genetics, but you can definitely get it going  by choosing the right foods and beverages. Foods to speed up metabolism are generally energy-boosting foods too so keep that in mind the next time eating healthfully makes you feel deprived.

Fill up on the following foods to speed up metabolism and beverages that do the same to increase your body’s fat-burning power. Remember also that metabolism depends on your muscle to fat ratio.

  • A pound of muscle burns (at rest) 50-75 calories daily where a pound of fat burns a measly 2 calories daily.
  • Of all the macronutrients (protein, carbs and fats) protein has the highest thermic effect 20-35% of calories burned through processing.
  • They also cause the most “satiety” or feeling of being full.
  • So this is why the focus will be on the best protein sources as the best foods to speed up metabolism.

Whey Protein is our #1 on the foods to speed up metabolism list:

I’m going to talk about this one the most because few people are aware of how potent this is for weight loss help and even fewer know how to choose the best whey protein powder and why.

So let’s review “all about whey” and then I don’t need to go into detail on “the rest of the list”, OK? Whey protein contains 24 grams of protein per 1 ounce. Whey protein is actually the highest quality and best form of protein.

Athletes are “all about beef” but calorie for calorie and how the body utilizes it-whey protein RULES as the best protein source and therefore one of the best foods to speed up metabolism.

Whey protein has been studied quite a lot, with an impressive array of benefits, as discussed in an article by Authority Nutrition.

Whey is a high-quality, easily digestible protein.It’s an ideal complement to strength training promoting both muscle growth and human growth hormone production (HGH). Studies show whey consumption may also:

  • Help to lower blood pressure if you have high blood pressure and/or are overweight.
  • Boost insulin sensitivity in those with Type 2 Diabetes to promote improved blood sugar control.
  • Boost not just your immune system but energy-giving glutathione levels too.
  • Reduce inflammation associated with inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Reduce inflammation in the body which I am always emphasizing to you about reducing!
  • Help to normalize your weight. Whey protein is very filling, thereby reducing hunger pangs. And even without the indirect metabolic boost from creating more muscle mass it is actually one of the true foods to speed up metabolism all by itself!

 Whey Products to Avoid:

Avoid whey proteins derived from ultra-pasteurized milk. Avoid the products which are processed using acid. Heat and acid damages the protein and makes it insoluble in water. This is one of the main ways to tell high quality whey protein from inferior ones.

Whey protein isolates. All whey protein isolates are devoid of critical nutritional co-factors. These include vitamins, minerals, and fats, which are lost in during processing.

Also (health alert!) once the fat is removed from whey protein isolate, you lose  the most important components of its immune sytem and brain protective) properties.

Check your whey protein from, say Amazon or GNC- it’s likely an “isolate”.  Just throw it out.

Lastly avoid whey products containing genetically modified soy lecithin, polysorbate 80, propylene glycol, ethoxylated mono-diglycerides, hydrolyzed proteins (often-MSG in disguise), maltodextrin, caseinates, sugar, and/or artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose, which happen to be two HUGE brain health killlers along with MSG.

 #2 Fish and Shellfish:

Whether it’s salmon, halibut, or tuna, seafood has positive health benefits IF chosen carefully.

If chosen right they are my second pick as great foods to speed up metabolism due to their muscle building properties.

Now, remember you cannot, I repeat cannot get “farmed” anything. Search this blog if you want proof but farmed fish is often treated with pesticides to kill sea lice.

And that’s just one disgusting thing about farmed seafood so be careful you are not enticed by the farmed, dyed fish at your grocery store fish counter.

In “good seafood” the protein content averages 28 grams per 4 ounces. Although it’s higher in calories than most whitefish, salmon is low in saturated fat, yet high in protein. It also contains the health-promoting fat, the omega-3’s.

This is heart healthy and anti-inflammatory. It also has some fat burning properties.

Due to all of this my pick for the fish foods to speed up metabolism for you would have to be wild caught sockeye (you can’t farm it!) salmon.

  #3 Egg whites:

Eggs are also loaded with protein at  12 grams per 2 eggs and 14 grams per 4 egg whites.

Because it has been shown definitely that yolk consumption does not raise cholesterol, this isn’t why I’m focusing on the whites-it’s just about calories.

But remember the yolks are rich in brain-boosting choline so go ahead and add some yolks for this and some extra flavor.

Egg whites are rich in the branched-chain amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine. These BCCAA’s help build muscle, which as you know-leads to a higher basal metabolic rate. This is my pick for what I’ll call 2b-tied with the fish and shellfish for being the best foods to speed up metabolism.

 #4 Poultry and Pork:

The average protein content is 28 grams per 4 ounces of either of these foods to speed up metabolism. Choose grass-fed, free-rang, organic.

Choose the lower saturated fat options, like chicken or turkey breast, or pork tenderloins.

Turkey is actually pretty low in fat without the skin, containing only 1 gram of fat per ounce of flesh.

 #5 Greek-style Yogurt:

Greek yogurt contains an amazing 18 grams of protein per 6 ounces, nearly twice as much protein as other dairy sources without the high casein load. Other yogurts have tons of additives including sugar.

I’m recommending PLAIN non-pasteurized homemade greek yogurt here-add stevia if you want it to be sweet. Add your own fruit. Top it with walnuts.

I am not including any other dairy here because it’s not on your anti-aging anti-inflammatory diet. Why? The casein is linked to cancer (possible) and auto-immune disease (probable).  (Sorry!)

 #6 Beef:

Beef’s protein content is 28 grams per 4 ounces. Please make sure you eat grass-fed, organic, antibiotic free grass fed beef-it is much healthier and has less saturated fat and omega-3 fats. Search for the  leanest cuts, like round roast or top sirloin.

Bison is a much leaner red-meat alternative. I have seen internet sites which deliver this to your doorstep. I am not a meat eater so I’m not going to “diss it” because I don’t eat it.

It IS a very good form of protein and on this list, due to the calorie and fat load, it comes it at an honest #6.

#7 Soy Products:

First of all if you are not aware, MOST U.S. soy is GMO. So if it’s NOT labelled non-GMO, walk awaaaaay from the soy! But if you track down organic non-GMO soy products, great, but due to hormonal potential concerns it’s 2x a week for soy.

Tempeh is a food made from soybeans with a very protein content: 15 grams per 1/2 cup. Tofu has a protein content of 12 grams  per 3 ounces.

Edamame (soybeans) has a protein content of  8.5 grams per shelled 1/2 cup.I personally really like edamame and you can find it as organic, non GMO in many supermarket freezers. It would beat beef if it had more protein.

 #8 Legumes:

The  average protein content is  7-9 grams per 1/2 cup of cooked legumes. If you pair up beans ( black beans, chickpeas, lentils for instance) with whole grain rice or quinoa you’ll have a complete-protein meal.

And that’s it for the high protein sources. Now, on to the surprising picks.

 #9 Whole grains:

Whole grains help your body burn more fat because they take extra effort to break down than processed grains, like white bread and pasta. Whole foods that are rich in fiber, like brown rice and oatmeal, are your best bets. But only if they are sprouted. And only if they are gluten-free. The reasons for this have been discussed in many places.

#10 Other grains:

Quinoa, buckwheat and amaranth have 5-9 g of protein per 1 cup of cooked grains.

These grains have even more protein than traditional grains….so these grains rate higher than the “whole grains” discussed above.

 #11 Spinach:

For those of you who thought veggies contained NO protein think again.

Spinach contains 5 grams per 1 cup (cooked). Of all the leafy greens, spinach has the highest protein content.

  #12 Asparagus:

Coming in as the #2 proteins containing veggies is my favorite vegetable-asparagus. It contains 4 grams of protein per 1 cup  of chopped asparagus.

As a side benefit to both this and spinach, they are both chock-full of vitamins and other nutrients.

For those of you who follow my blog, you know that real skin care means taking care of the insides first and eating your spinach and asparagus goes a long way in this department due to all of the skin-loving nutrients!

  #13 Chili Peppers:

Chili peppers contain capsaicin, a chemical compound that increases your metabolic rate.

The hotter the chili pepper, the more capsaicin it contains.  So this last food is not included due to protein content, it is an actual metabolism boosting food source!

Fat Burning Beverages:

Green Tea:

Green tea is loaded with the polyphenol epigallocatechin gallate EGCG. EGCG promotes fat-burning, and has been studied extensively.

In one large study, researchers found that men who were given a combination of caffeine and green tea extract (EGCG) burned more calories than those given only caffeine or a placebo.

Of course, green tea has many health benefits including being good for your heart health, being anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer. I recommend decaf green tea supplements to all patients and AWS members.


Coffee contains caffeine which is a stimulant. It can help people feel more alert and help them to be more active, leading to weight loss.

Coffee per se does NOT  appear to stimulate your metabolism unless taken as a supplement.

This is controversial a bit but I’ve read all the studies and haven’t been convinced that my morning coffee will do anything but taste good and help me be more alert.


THIS IS THE SURPRISING ONE. I know you know water is important but how important? Here you go.

Almost 2/3rds of our body weight is “water weight”. Blood is 83% water. Muscles are 75% water, and our brains are 74% water.

  • So when you are not adequately hydrated your body just plain can’t function optimally.
  • Even if you are mildly dehydrated, your metabolism may slow down.
  • And note that if you drink cold water your body is forced to burn more calories to warm it up.
  • You need to drink at least 8 to 12 glasses of water a day (ideally 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water) ; more when you exercise, and even more if you live in a hot climate.
  • The easiest “hydration test” is to just always make sure your urine is clear.




  1. Since reading your blogs, I have learned so much regarding how to eat healthier but also how to look younger. I love that you are writing about Whey. This is a product that I have been using for years and I have noticed the difference it has made in my daily routines when I workout. Great information Dr. Kim.

  2. At dinner my husband and I were discussing this blog. He drinks whey protein shakes. When we went to check which ones he was using it was the isolate. He immediately went online and purchased the Whey Protein Concentrate. He is constantly trying to maintain his physic and doesn’t want all his trips to the gym not matter by using the wrong protein products. Thank you for this great blog.

FREE email consultation with Dr. Kim included with every purchase & FREE shipping on all orders over $150