Over the past two decades, many of us have bought into the idea that carbohydrates give us energy, fat makes us fat, and protein—in excess—causes kidney damage. If the matter were this simple, you would think that we would have solved the obesity epidemic long ago. Such is obviously not the case.
When it comes to the way you presently look, feel, and perform, the foods and nutrients you choose to fuel your metabolism can make all the difference in how much energy you have and how much body fat you carry around. Let’s take a closer look at the three macronutrients—carbs, fats, and protein—to see how the right choices from each group can supercharge your metabolism.
The first rule of metabolic success is to avoid refined carbohydrates at all costs. Instead of consuming fibre-rich carbohydrates like organic fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, North Americans often substitute these foods with overly processed white- and cornmeal-based flours. Yet all these processed-carbs do is generate a hyper state of insulin release. Whenever we overly stimulate the hormone insulin, we end up causing our bodies to go into primarily a fat storage mode, all the while making it next to impossible for our metabolisms to use fat for energy. The key is to limit these health-stripping carbs and increase levels of high-fibre/high-antioxidant carbs, which research has shown can lower insulin and enhance our metabolism, which makes burning fat a whole lot easier.
Not all fats make us fat. In fact, research indicates that the right fats can actually enhance our ability to use fat for energy. These fats—called omega-3 fatty acids, found primarily in wild fish oils—are believed to exert their metabolism enhancing effects by blocking inflammatory messages produced by our fat cells. Researchers from the University of Texas have discovered that fat cells produce a number of inflammation-related molecules as well as the hormone resistin that is associated with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes (two conditions linked to obesity). Essential fats can help control these metabolism-destroying molecules.
When looking to maintain or enhance your overall metabolism, the right proteins can make all the difference. Protein offers you the unique advantage of being the most thermogenically active of the three macronutrients. Thermogenesis is a fancy word for more heat, and the more thermogenic a food is, the easier it is for your body to burn fat. Aside from this, protein stimulates the hormone glucagon, which enhances levels of a metabolic enzyme called HSL that allows for continual fat release and energy production.
Along with short bouts of high-intensity exercise, choosing the best food sources of all three macronutrients is a simple way to fuel your metabolism and supercharge your life potential.
- Metabolic carbs include: broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, celery, peppers, all leafy greens such as kale and chard, all berries, grapefruit, oranges, kiwis, and organic whole grains.
- Metabolic fats include: wild fish oil, flaxseed oil, hemp oil, most seeds and nuts (within moderation), and extra virgin olive oil.
- Metabolic proteins include: high-alpha whey isolates, game meat and grass-fed beef, free-run poultry, organic eggs, and hemp protein.
Brad King, MS, MFS, a nutritional researcher and award winning formulator has been touted as one of the most influential health mentors of our time. He is the author of 10 books, including Fat Wars, Beer Belly Blues and Losing Fat for Life. Visit him on Facebook @ Transforming Health with Brad King or on his website @ www.AwakenYourBody.com.