It’s true. There are metabolism boosting foods. Coffee is one of them. But in ALL cases they must be consumed in a certain way to trigger the metabolic benefit.
This fact is so important in that not only do you NOT get the proposed benefit of the metabolism boosting foods if you have it the wrong way, it completely turns around and bites you in the A#$ and becomes a damaging food.
This is why nutrition and diet is so confusing. You can be talking about the same exact food and an article will state how categorically bad it is for you and be correct. Then another article will sing it’s praises and be totally correct as well.
It’s important to know both the potential upside and the potential downside. Also at what level of consumption the downside may be triggered, so that you can eat it, enjoy it and get the magical benefits it’s supposed to have.
Today I want to focus on coffee because this is one of the top metabolism boosting foods if done well.
Now I’ve actually written about this before detailing how to drink it for metabolic benefits you can read that article here.
I wanted though to reframe some advice I’ve previously given, to illustrate more closely how and when I have coffee now in late 2021.
Coffee is a metabolic stimulator. It revs up your metabolism, slightly elevating your heart rate and makes everything in your body move at a faster pace. Now this is great, so long as you have SUFFICIENT carbohydrates to support this faster pace. Which is the first important step to help in its processing. The second step is that the rest of your diet must be highly nutritious as well, because now your body is functioning faster – it’s creating skin cells faster, repairing organs faster, detoxing faster etc. Again if it doesn’t have the nutrients it needs to do this, then it all falls apart.
Take for example tooth decay. If you eat a mineral rich diet that includes your necessary calcium levels, get Vitamin D from the sun and eat other supporting vitamins, then eating sugar will not cause tooth decay. In the absence of the necessary nutrients though, the sugar will result in decay. Sugar is blamed but it’s not the presence of sugar that’s the actual cause, it’s the absence of nutrients.
Sugar is actually another one of the metabolism boosting foods, so this is an important point!
Now back to coffee…
Everyone seems to want to drink it first thing in the morning. The ideal time though would be about an hour AFTER breakfast. This is because it fuels your body first then gives a chance for everything to digest properly unhindered by excess liquid.
If you drink coffee at the same time as the meal, it may cause the stomach contents to empty too quickly. Leaving food undigested and potentially causing a whole cascade of other issues stemming from undigested food.
I can hear the chimes already, “but I thought you said you should have it WITH the meal?”
I know, that’s the theory but when you test the theory, how does it feel?
For me if I eat protein too early in the morning, it diverts energy away from elimination to focus on digestion of protein. It’s one of the hardest foods to digest. This results in constipation for me, every time. I also feel rather overfull and uncomfortable. So it’s not a feasible routine for my body to create optimal health.
It’s also not feasible to just drink coffee by itself even with milk and 2 sugars first thing in the morning. Two teaspoons of sugar are only 8g of carbs and you need at least 50g of carbs to support the metabolic increase. Cortisol is already naturally high in the morning and coffee without sufficient carbs will elevate it even higher for longer. Read more about cortisol causing belly fat here. Not the desired result.
So I’ve found a win/win that works for me.
Upon rising this is what I have:
- A glass of fruit juice – 26g carbs.
- A piece of fruit – a medium banana – 27g carbs.
- In my coffee – 2 tablespoons of skim sweetened condensed milk – 15g carbs.
So that’s a supportive 68 grams of carbs to help with the metabolic boost of coffee.
Usually within half an hour there after, nature takes it’s course and all is well.
So it’s about the 10 – 10:30am mark that I feel hungry and in need of a full protein breakfast. Lunch is then about 1:30pm and the second and last coffee of the day is at 2:30pm. When I do this, everything seems to flow really well. I don’t feel cortisol stress or overly hungry.
When I’ve explained this in our private Facebook group, I’ve had replies like, “that’s great to know, I can only do coffee first thing too.” But I want to emphasize that it’s NOT JUST coffee first thing. This carb support component is critical to it being beneficial to you or being harmful.
Another comment was “when I have my coffee in the morning, I don’t want to eat anything else until at least 2pm.” Again this is not a helpful habit as far as your metabolic rate is concerned. There are two problems with this – one is that your body is conserving energy and running on stress hormones if you are not hungry all morning. This is a bad sign. Secondly we need nourishment, especially with protein in the morning hours of the day. I understand if you can’t have it first thing, I can’t either. But any time from about 9:30am to 10:30am is a good idea – it depends when you get up of course and have your carb supported coffee.
Note: Depending where you are in your Ray Peat lifestyle journey and what type of diet you’ve come from, this approach with coffee may not suit you right now. I am 5 years in and fully recovered from my 10 years on Keto, which is why it work for me. If you are just starting out you may get dizzy from just having fruit/juice by itself, or get the jitters with coffee and carbs like this. You can read more about starting out issues here.
So onward then armed with more knowledge on how to create your happy body.
Don’t forget to join our private Facebook group to ask more questions, if you haven’t already!
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