According to science, there are some surprisingly simple things you can do to boost your metabolism.
Drink water . . .
Fun fact: H₂O is basically diet food. German researchers have found that, after drinking about 17 ounces of water, study subjects' metabolic rates increased by about 30 percent. The effects were quick and relatively long-lasting: The rise occurred within 10 minutes of drinking the water and lasted for up to 40 minutes. Based on their findings, the researchers estimate that increasing your water consumption by 1.5 liters a day could burn an extra 17,400 calories in a year.
. . . and grapefruit juice
You may want to consider adding a chaser of grapefruit juice to your next greasy meal. Researchers at UC Berkeley found that mice on a high-fat diet that drank sweetened grapefruit juice gained less weight than other mice that drank sweetened water. After 100 days, the juice-drinking mice weighed 18.4 percent less than the other mice, and they had better metabolic health (better blood-sugar levels and insulin sensitivity). Note: These results only occurred with a high-fat diet—just something to keep in mind the next time you hit up Five Guys.
Don't be so quick to dis an extra-cold winter. According to research, exposure to the cold can boost the metabolism by anything from 8 to 80 percent, depending on variables like the duration, your age, and your BMI. A 2014 study found that 15 minutes in the cold could be the metabolic equivalent of an hour of exercise. Another study from last year found that people who live in warmer parts of Spain are more likely to be obese than people who live in cooler parts of the country. Coincidence? We think not!
Good news for lazy people: Your basic metabolic rate accounts for about 70 percent of the calories you burn every day. Better news for less-lazy people who weight train: People who have more muscle burn more calories, even at rest, according to the Mayo Clinic. The available numbers are conflicting (some experts say that every pound of muscle burns an extra 50 calories a day, while other sources say it's just six calories), but either way, any muscle boost could help.
Soak up some sun
The key word being some. Researchers have found that moderate exposure to UV rays releases nitric oxide, which slows the development of obesity and type 2 diabetes. During their 2014 study, scientists found that overfed mice exposed to UV light actually slowed their weight gain and displayed fewer signs of diabetes.
Eat more dairy
A study published in the journal Diabetes found that a dip in calcium levels can trigger the release of calcitriol, a hormone that causes people to store fat. Many experts support the results and say that a calcium deficiency can slow metabolism. Reach for two or three daily servings of low-fat milk, cheese, or yogurt.
Have a good laugh
Go ahead and watch that silly YouTube video or indulge in a few jokes around the water cooler: Researchers at Vanderbilt University found that genuinely LOL-ing causes a 10 to 20 percent increase in energy expenditure and heart rate. Based on their study, 10 to 15 minutes of legit laughter a day could burn up to 40 extra calories.
Go for organic foods
The extra cost of organic produce and meat is worth it for many reasons—one of which being that it could boost your metabolism. Canadian researchers found that dieters with the highest levels of organochlorines (found in pesticides) had slower metabolisms than those with lower levels of the pollutant. Other research, like a study recently published in Environmental Health Perspectives, reports that pesticides can contribute to weight gain.