As we all know it’s much easier to pack on the pounds than to take them off, and it’s largely the fault of metabolism, our body’s process for converting fuel to energy. It’s a magnificent system that keeps us functioning in between meals and even as we sleep, but that means it also hangs on to as much stored fat as it can.
Trying to outsmart our metabolism sometimes feels like a full-time job, but here are some unusual solutions research has shown may be useful allies in our battle with the bulge:
Don’t hold the mustard
Researchers have long linked spicy foods to short-term spikes in metabolism by researchers, but scientists at Oxford Polytechnic Institute reported that the relatively mild spiciness in one teaspoon of mustard can increase metabolic rate by up to 25% for several hours.
Nocturnal carbs A 2014 randomized controlled trial at the Federal University of Vicosa in Brazil found that participants (all male) who ate most of their carbohydrates in the evening, rather than at lunch, exhibited a higher metabolism the following day compared with those who ate their carbs at lunch and a control group.
Yolk it up
Egg yolks do have some cholesterol but also contain fat-soluble vitamins and essential fatty acids known to fire up your metabolism as well as choline, an essential compound that has been shown in animal research by the Institute of Medicine Committee on Military Nutrition Research to reduce the storage of fat around the liver.
High-intensity interval training has become the regimen du jour for shedding calories as well as saving time, and researchers at Colorado State University and the University of Colorado found in 2012 that all it took to burn an extra 200 calories per day was five 30-second bursts of maximum-intensity pedaling on a stationary bike, each followed by 4 minutes of very low intensity pedaling.
Laugh it off
Vanderbilt University scientists endeavored to measure the energy expenditure of “genuine laughter” in 2007, concluding 15 minutes spent laughing per day can burn up to 40 calories.