A fast metabolism is often regarded as the main character when it comes to weight management and achieving a healthy body weight. Metabolism[1] is a chemical process that occurs within the body that converts food and drinks into energy. Those with a fast metabolism are able to efficiently burn calories at a higher rate, leading to easier weight loss and weight maintenance. This advantage allows them to consume more food without experiencing the same weight gain as those with slower metabolisms. Harnessing the power of a fast metabolism can be a valuable asset on the journey toward achieving a healthier and fitter physique.

What is a Fast Metabolism?

Having a fast metabolism refers to how quickly an individual’s body burns calories to convert food and nutrients into energy. Therefore, they are able to consume more food without putting on weight. It is influenced by various factors with genetics being the major one but also age, muscle mass, body size, activity levels, hormones, and temperature all having roles as well. These individuals may find it easier to lose or maintain a healthy weight, as their bodies are naturally more efficient at burning calories. However, it’s important to note that metabolism is a complex process and weight loss is influenced by various other factors such as diet, exercise, and overall lifestyle.

What is the difference between a fast metabolism and slow metabolism?

The main difference between those with a fast or slow metabolism[2] lies in the rate at which their bodies burn calories and convert food into energy.

Those with a fast metabolism typically experience both a higher basal metabolic rate (BMR) and resting metabolic rate (RMR), which is the number of calories their body naturally burns while at rest. Meaning when these individuals are at rest individuals they are able to burn more calories compared to those with a slower metabolism. They tend to have a more efficient and rapid metabolism, allowing them to process nutrients and burn calories more quickly. As a result, fast metabolizers may find it easier to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, as their bodies are naturally inclined to burn more calories.

On the other hand, individuals with a slow metabolism have lower BMRs and RMRs which means their bodies burn fewer calories in general and at rest. This slower metabolic rate can make it more challenging for them to lose or maintain a healthy weight, as their bodies are not as efficient at burning calories. Slow metabolizers may need to consume fewer calories or engage in regular physical activity to offset their slower metabolic rate.

How does slow metabolism affect daily life?

Having a slow metabolism can have numerous effects on daily life[3], especially in regard to weight management and energy levels. Weight that will not budge is a classic sign and individuals with a slow metabolism may experience slower progress in weight loss than those with a faster metabolism. They will especially see it more so in the belly area which can lead to other health problems down the line. Energy levels will also be lower therefore those with slow metabolism will feel tired or fatigued and may have less energy for physical activities and will find it harder to sustain it for long periods of time as well.

What are the signs of a slow metabolism?

There are many different signs that can indicate a slow metabolism.

  • Weight gain. No matter how hard a person tries to lose weight, they still will end up staying the same or gaining, especially around the middle section.
  • Gas and bloating. Digestive issues such as leaky gut, heartburn, poor digestion, and malabsorption typically tend to occur in those with a slow metabolism. This can later lead to other issues such as inflammation, fatigue, and nutrient deficiencies.
  • Hormone imbalances. When the metabolism is out of balance, hormones can also mirror this. Thinning hair and scaly skin, constant exhaustion, abnormal menstrual cycles, and having no interest in sex are all of what can occur.
  • Blood sugar imbalance. When the blood sugar levels are out of balance, cravings and mood swings are experienced. Low energy also occurs after eating especially sugar and carbohydrate-rich foods.

How to boost your metabolism to lose weight?

boost your metabolism

There are a number of ways to boost your metabolism to lose weight that do not require just good genetics.

  • Drinking more water. Drinking water is good for overall health and will give a full feeling, therefore, reducing caloric intake and thus helping with weight loss[4]. However, drinking cold water can actually aid in getting a faster metabolism because the body has to work in raising the temperature to get it to body temperature.
  • Uninterrupted sleep. Not getting adequate sleep can slow metabolic rates and cause weight gain. To overcome this, it is best to get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night.
  • Eating healthy. Eating healthy is important for overall health, however, it is another important factor in boosting metabolism. Eating foods rich in protein can raise metabolic rates because it takes more work to break these foods down to energy than fats and carbs.

  • Managing your stress levels. Stress has a huge factor in metabolism and can cause the body to store more energy thus causing weight gain[5]. Learning to manage stress and how to react to it is crucial for overall health.
  • Drink Caffeinated Beverages. Caffeine can help boost metabolism and may also promote fat burning. Adding green tea or coffee to a healthy diet can not only increase the metabolism but also help with weight loss.

  • Lifting weights. Physical exercise is important for general health, however, lifting weights[6] can aid in boosting metabolism. Building muscles can help to increase metabolism throughout the day, even at rest.

What are good foods to boost the metabolism?

  • Protein-rich foods. Protein takes longer to break down and utilize for energy. Eating foods such as meats, fish, dairy, and nuts and seeds will help increase the metabolism and will aid in satiety which will reduce caloric intake.
  • Ginger. Ginger and other spices will naturally help to boost metabolism as they have properties that will burn calories.
  • Dark, leafy green vegetables. Vegetables, such as kale and spinach are packed with minerals and vitamins and in addition, can help boost metabolism as well. They are also beneficial for digestion as well.[7]
  • Apple cider vinegar. This may also aid in raising metabolic rate as it has been shown to help increase the amount of fat burned for energy. It also aids in slowing stomach emptying and feeling full longer. Take 1 to 2 teaspoons per day and add it to one cup of water.
  • Dark chocolate. Dark chocolate or cacao may increase a faster metabolism by promoting genes that stimulate fat burning. It is best to opt for chocolate that is closer to raw cacao as possible and the least processed chocolate.
  • Adding supplements. Phenocal contains natural ingredients, such as cocoa and green tea extracts to promote a faster metabolism. There are other ingredients that can also aid in satiety and controlling hunger.

What foods slow down metabolism?

There are a variety of foods that can slow metabolism.

  • Refined Grains. Refined grains like white flour and rice, are stripped of its better traits such as fiber and antioxidants. It slows down digestion and in turn, slows metabolism.
  • Alcohol. Alcohol can wreak havoc on the metabolism and cause it to slow down[8] as it decreases fat-burning ability tremendously. It also has toxins in which your body has to work to get rid of instead of burning calories.
  • Sugary beverages. Beverages such as fruit juices and soda will cause a spike in the blood sugar, leading to a slower metabolism.
  • Soybean oil. Soybean oil can not only slow metabolic rate, but also has been found to increase risk of diabetes, insulin resistance, and obesity.[10]
  • Traditional yogurts. These types of yogurts have little to no protein as compared with Greek yogurt which will slow metabolism[9]. These also have a tremendous amount of sugar and will spike blood sugar levels which will cause weight gain.

How long does it take to get a fast metabolism?

A fast metabolism is primarily influenced by factors such as genetics, age, gender, body composition, and lifestyle habits. While it’s not possible to significantly change your genetic predisposition or alter your age and gender, certain lifestyle factors can impact your metabolism to some extent. However, it’s important to note that changes to your metabolism occur gradually over time, and there is no fixed timeline for developing a fast metabolism. It also depends on the level of dedication that is put into implementing healthier habits as this can take from weeks to months to develop a fast, efficient metabolism.

Factors affect metabolism or metabolic rate?

Factors affect metabolism

There are numerous factors other than genetics that affect metabolic rate and how fast or slow someone’s metabolism may perform. Some of the major factors include:

  • Age. The older someone is the slower the metabolism will be as weight gain occurs more frequently in older adults.
  • Muscle mass. The more muscles that are built, the faster the metabolism becomes, and the more fat that is burned. This is why weightlifting is important.
  • Environmental temperature. When a person is exposed to cold temperatures, the body will have to work harder to raise its own temperature to overcome the cold.
  • Physical activity. The more exercise is done, the faster the metabolic rate and in turn, the more calories are burned.
  • Hormone imbalance. Hormonal conditions, such as Cushing’s or thyroid problems can cause the metabolism to become imbalanced which it can either work way too fast or too slow.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Several factors can potentially hinder or slow down your metabolism. Poor diet, especially one high in processed foods and added sugars, can negatively impact metabolic function. Inadequate physical activity or a sedentary lifestyle can also contribute to a sluggish metabolism. Lack of sleep and chronic stress can disrupt hormonal balance, impairing metabolic processes. Aging can naturally lead to a gradual decline in metabolic rate. Additionally, certain medical conditions, such as hypothyroidism or hormonal imbalances, can affect metabolism. Finally, crash dieting or severe calorie restriction can signal the body to conserve energy, slowing down the metabolism.

Identifying whether you have a fast metabolism is not always straightforward but there are some signs of a fast metabolism. These include maintaining a healthy weight or losing weight easily, consuming higher calorie amounts without significant weight gain, experiencing consistent energy levels, efficient digestion, and possibly having a slightly higher body temperature. However, it's important to remember that metabolism is complex and can vary among individuals. Consulting with a healthcare professional, such as a registered dietitian or endocrinologist, can provide a more accurate assessment of your metabolism through specialized tests and help guide you in understanding your metabolic rate.

A fast metabolism can be influenced by several factors. Firstly, genetics play a role, as some individuals are naturally predisposed to have a higher metabolic rate. Additionally, having a higher proportion of lean muscle mass can contribute to a faster metabolism, as muscle requires more energy to maintain than fat. Regular physical activity, particularly strength training and high-intensity workouts, can boost metabolism by increasing muscle mass. Adequate protein intake also supports a faster metabolism, as protein requires more energy for digestion and contributes to muscle growth. Lastly, factors such as age, gender (men typically have higher metabolic rates than women), and hormone levels can affect metabolic speed.

While it's not possible to completely reset your metabolism, you can adopt strategies to optimize it for weight loss. Engage more in regular physical activity, especially more in strength training to build muscle mass. Maintain a balanced and nutritious diet, focusing on whole foods, lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats. Avoid crash diets and aim for a moderate caloric deficit to promote sustainable weight loss. Prioritize excellent sleep, stress management, and being hydrated.


Understanding the role of metabolism in weight loss is crucial for developing effective strategies. Some people may naturally have a faster metabolism, others can optimize their metabolic rate through lifestyle changes. While it’s not possible to completely reset your metabolism, adopting healthy habits such as regular exercise, a balanced diet, sufficient sleep, stress management, and hydration can support a more efficient metabolism. It’s important to approach weight loss with a long-term perspective, focusing on sustainable practices rather than quick fixes. By embracing a healthy lifestyle and making choices that support your metabolism, you can enhance your weight loss journey and improve overall well-being.