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5 Foods That Are Bad for Your Metabolism

author image Kristen Bennett
Based in Miami, Kristen Bennett has been writing for business and pleasure since 1999. Bennett's work has appeared online at MarketWatch, The Motley Fool and in several internal company publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in economics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
5 Foods That Are Bad for Your Metabolism
Sugar can slow metabolism, making it hard to lose weight. Photo Credit Photos.com/AbleStock.com/Getty Images

Metabolism is the process that converts food to energy, fueling your body and your brain throughout the day. Keeping a stable metabolism is the key to maintaining your body's weight and energy level. You may notice that some individuals maintain their weight no matter what they seem to eat, and others seem to gain weight easily. If you have a slow metabolism, it's harder to lose weight because your body burns fewer calories and converts the excess into body fat. For individuals with sensitive metabolisms, there are five types of food to avoid to keep your metabolism from slowing down.


Taking in too much sugar can wreak havoc on your metabolism. According to the American Heart Association, the average American consumes over 22 teaspoons of sugar a day. Sugar hides in many sauces and condiments such as ketchup, barbecue sauce and pasta sauce. Sugar quickly hits your bloodstream and causes a rapid increase in blood glucose levels. This rise in blood glucose is what causes your body's metabolism to slow down, burn fewer calories and start to store extra fat. Be sure to read the labels to understand how much sugar you are consuming, and consider using natural alternatives like maple syrup or agave nectar that do not cause the same rapid spike in blood glucose.

Whole Fat Dairy

A cup of whole milk contains on average 8 grams of fat. Using whole fat dairy on a regular basis can cause your metabolism to slow gradually, as your body gets accustomed to the presence of fat, which moves very slowly through your digestive system. Consider replacing whole milk products with low-fat or skim milk. For regular dairy consumers, reducing fat in the diet can help increase metabolism without causing any reduction in the dairy's nutritional value.

Processed Foods

Eating a diet that is rich in fiber, whole grains and natural foods is the best way to ensure your metabolism stays healthy. Processed foods are laden with preservatives, dyes, sugar and chemicals, all of which have an adverse reaction on your body's natural digestive processes. Look for all natural or organic snacks that contain higher amounts of whole grains and fiber, which help your metabolism. Additionally, a handful of almonds or other raw nuts can boost your metabolism significantly.

Fast Food

According to KidsHealth, one of the contributing factors to the rise in childhood obesity is the proliferation of fast food in the diets of American families. Because most fast food meal options are high in fat, low in fiber and devoid of essential vitamins and minerals, the body has to work harder to digest the food and stores what it can as fat. The high fat and low fiber combination is what causes the metabolism to slow, sometimes leading to constipation and other digestive disorders. To increase metabolism at any age, fast food intake should be minimal.

Fried Foods

Like fast food, fried foods are often high in fat and low in nutrients. Eating fried foods like chicken, fish, donuts and French fries can cause a significant slowdown in your metabolism. The Food and Drug Administration recommends adults take in no more than 65 grams of fat per day. Many restaurant chains' portions of fried food have more than that in just one meal. A plate of Crispy Chicken Crispers with honey mustard dressing at Chili's, for example, has 68 grams of fat. The American Heart Association recommends choosing grilled, broiled or steamed meats over their fried counterparts.

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