We all know someone who can eat anything and everything but still not gain weight. Whether it’s pure luck or good genetics, some people are simply blessed with a fast metabolism. But this doesn’t mean your metabolism is a lost cause or entirely up to luck. You can make your metabolism work for you – and one of the best ways to do this is through nutrition. With this in mind, take a look at the best and the worst food when it comes to getting that metabolic engine revving.

The worst

1. Sugar

I apologise in advance to all the sweet tooth’s out there, but sugar is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to a sluggish metabolism. After we consume sugar, our blood levels spike and this causes cortisol and insulin hormone levels to rise in an effort to level out the hormones in our body. This can cause a disruption in the body and mess with our hormones – something we need to work in harmony when it comes to our metabolism.

2. Refined carbs

These are the carbs that you find in packaged, processed foods like white bread and pasta. Just like sugar, they break down too quickly and can cause your insulin levels to go through the roof.

3. Processed food

Processed food is high in calories and low in nutrients and often packed with added sugar, salt and saturated fats. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that it can wreak havoc on our metabolism.

4. Too much meat

Meat can be a fantastic source of protein and can help keep us full and satiated. But too much of it can mess with our metabolism. When we have too much meat, it slows our digestion and makes it incredibly hard for the body to digest and break down altogether. We should limit our red meat intake to 1-2 times a week and chicken up to five times a week.

The best

Now for the good stuff…

1. Real food

These are foods in their natural state that put your metabolism to work by forcing it to break down fibre, fatty acids, amino acids and other essential nutrients. As a whole, make sure your diet is packed full of real food like whole grains, full fat dairy, fruit, veggies, nuts, beans and legumes and avoid processed, packaged foods where you can.

2. Fibre

Fibre is incredible at kicking your metabolism into high gear because it is hard for the body to break down. This is a good process as it forces the body to digest it at a slower rate and burns more calories in the process (AKA thermogenesis). Fill your diet with fibre with wholegrains, veggies like broccoli and Brussels sprouts and fruits like apples and raspberries.

3. Healthy fats

Fats are known to boost your metabolic health because of the rate at which they are broken down (like fibre) and they are awesome at curbing your appetite. If you want your metabolism to run efficiently and effectively, look to include foods high in omega 3’s (olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocado and coconut oil) and saturated fats (like full fat cheese) in your diet.

4. Water

Okay – I know this isn’t a food, but water is an essential component when you’re looking to boost your metabolism. Aim for 2 or 3 litres a day, and have a big glass of water the minute you wake up to kick start your metabolism into action.