Thyroid-stimulating hormone is a marker of your metabolism, which refers to the rate at which you burn calories. A lower TSH indicates your metabolism is optimal, while a higher TSH represents a sluggish metabolism, according to "The Fast Metabolism Diet" by nutritionist Haylie Pomroy. People following a diet program often look into metabolism-boosting foods to enhance weight loss. While there are no studies evaluating foods that influence TSH specifically, boosting your basal metabolic rate increases the calories you burn. Therefore, you can incorporate foods that may help enhance weight loss.
When it comes to boosting metabolism while dieting, researchers suggest adding medium-chain fats to your plan. Authors of a study write that data indicates fats found in coconut oil increase metabolism and may enhance weight loss. They tested the hypothesis on 45 men and women who consumed either medium-chain oil or olive oil as part of a weight-loss program for 16 weeks. As the researchers suspected, consuming the medium-chain oil resulted in greater weight loss, particularly body fat loss, than did olive oil. The study was published in the March 2008 edition of the American Clinical Journal of Nutrition.
You may have heard that stress can make you fat. That's because the stress hormone cortisol may disrupt your metabolism, putting a damper on weight loss. Researchers hypothesized that fish like salmon and mackerel, which are rich in EPA and DHA, may boost metabolism by suppressing the body's response to cortisol. The results confirmed their theory. In a study involving 44 healthy men and women, they found that fish oil increased resting metabolic rate and significantly decreased body fat. The study was published in the October 2008 issue of the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.
Polyphenols like EGCG give green tea its benefits. When coupled with caffeine, polyphenols can boost fat burning. Researchers conducted a review of compounds that possess the potential to increase metabolism and found that polyphenols boost resting energy expenditure. They note that isolated green tea polyphenols do not have the same influence on metabolism unless coupled with caffeine. Regular green tea contains xanthines, which include caffeine. Therefore decaf green tea may not have the same metabolism-boosting benefits.
Points to Consider
Making changes to your diet to include metabolism-boosting foods may have a modest influence on weight loss at best. Sticking to an exercise plan and reducing your calorie intake is the tried-and-true approach to weight loss. While some people have sluggish thyroids, a small percentage have a condition called hypothyroidism, which is when the thyroid produces too little hormone. If this is the case, dietary changes are unlikely to help. People with hypothyroidism typically need hormone replacement.
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Weight-Loss Diet That Includes Consumption of Medium-Chain Triacylglycerol Oil Leads to a Greater Rate of Weight and Fat Mass Loss Than Does Olive Oil
- Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition: Effects of Supplemental Fish Oil on Resting Metabolic Rate, Body Composition and Salivary Cortisol in Healthy Adults
- International Scholarly Research Notices: Effects of Commercially Available Dietary Supplements on Resting Energy Expenditure: A Brief Report
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Hypothyroidism