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Can Eating Certain Foods at Night Raise Metabolism?

By Jill Corleone, RDN, LD

When you're carrying extra pounds, losing as little as 5 percent to 10 percent of your weight results in health benefits, such as a reduction in blood pressure and cholesterol levels, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Finding small ways to boost your metabolism may help you lose some of those unwanted pounds. While it may sound too good to be true, eating certain foods at night may give your metabolism a small boost to aid you in your weight-loss efforts.

Carb or Protein Snack

Eating a small snack at night before bed may help kick-start your morning metabolism. A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition in 2014 investigated the effects on appetite and energy expenditure in active men of eating a 160-calorie snack -- containing either 30 grams of carbohydrates or a 30 grams of protein -- versus no snack right before bed. The researchers found an increase in metabolism the following morning in the men that consumed the carb or protein snack, while there was no change in the nonsnack group. For good health and a metabolic boost, keep your snacks healthy and light, such as two slices of whole-wheat toast, 1 cup of nonfat milk with 1/2 cup of whole-grain cereal or two low-fat cheese sticks.

A Little Spice

Adding a little cayenne pepper to your dinner or evening snack may also give your metabolism a small nightly boost. Capsaicin, the active substance in cayenne, seems to have a stimulatory effect, which increases the metabolism, according to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. However, the effects may be small, so your metabolism may not increase significantly. Cayenne may also decrease your appetite.

Green Tea

You may also bump up your metabolism by ending your day with a cup of green tea. An article published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2013 reports that the catechins and caffeine in green tea increase energy expenditure and fat oxidation. You may worry that the caffeine in the tea will keep you up, but according to an article published in Alternative Medicine Review in 2009, the amino acid L-theanine found in green tea counteracts the effects of the caffeine and helps relax you.

Losing Weight With Metabolism Boosters

While these foods may give your metabolism a bit of a boost, the effects may not be that great, and it doesn't mean you can eat a diet filled with fast-food and soda. If you're serious about losing weight, it's important to also eat a healthy diet that limits your calorie intake and is filled with nutrient-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and low-fat or nonfat dairy.

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