10 Most Common Causes of a Slow Metabolism

Updated 11 May 2023

We all know a slow metabolism is a bad thing but how much do you know about what actually causes it?

The truth is there are many everyday things we don’t even think about that are slowing our metabolism down—and cutting out a few small behaviours is almost as good as adding an intense workout routine to your day.

Slow Metabolism Effects

We hear a lot about the importance of having a fast metabolism, or at least a ‘normal’ metabolism when it comes to losing weight and avoiding weight gain. But what actually is the issue of a slow metabolism?

In simple terms, metabolism is the processes that occur within the body to maintain life – so one part of it is your body using the food you eat and fat stores within the body as fuel to get through the day

Fast metabolism = a body that is efficient at burning off consumed foods and stored fat for energy, slow metabolism = efficiency body when it comes to burning off food consumed and stored fat.

One likely issue that comes along with a slow metabolism is weight gain or trouble losing weight.

Here are 10 ways you might be slowing your metabolism down without realising it..

Slow Metabolism Causes

1. Not eating enough

People who are trying to lose weight often go through a series of diets which drastically reduce the amount of food they eat.

When you’re not eating enough, you can get into a situation where your body turns to using lean muscle mass for energy. Lea muscle is a great metabolism booster, so less of it actually means a slower metabolism, which can completely negate the impact of your workouts. You should be eating regular, balanced meals and a couple healthy snacks throughout the day.

2. Cutting out dairy

Dairy might contain a lot of fat but it’s also a great source of calcium, protein and other essential nutrients. It also helps regulate your fat metabolism so your body burns away fat instead of muscle. Every body is different and some individuals react poorly to dairy, but try for yourself how you go with and without dairy over a period of days and if your body reacts fine to dairy, aim to include some in your diet.

3. Cutting carbs Completely

A balanced diet should be just that: balanced. Carbohydrates are essential for providing fuel to your muscles so you can complete more intense workouts and generally feel better throughout the day. You just have to make sure you’re getting your carbohydrates from the right sources—brown rice and quinoa are two carb-heavy foods which pack a heavy nutritional punch.

4. Drinking alcohol


Does alcohol slow your metabolism? Alcoholic drinks might be delicious but they’re also full of empty calories. Many also contain insane amounts of sugar. Last but not least, alcohol changes the way your metabolism works, making it harder for you to digest the food that’s also in your stomach. You don’t need to give up alcohol altogether but keeping it to a single glass of wine with dinner will work wonders for your waistline.

5. Giving up coffee

Even when it comes in the form of a latte coffee is a powerful drink that can not only wake your mind up for the day but also wake up your metabolism. Just remember to stick with real milk instead of cream and keep the sugar to a minimum. The blacker the coffee, the better it is for you.

6. Not drinking enough water

While we’re on the subject of drinks, how much water do you drink in a day? Being dehydrated slows your metabolism and reduces your energy levels, making it more difficult to get through your workout routine. And you shouldn’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink—by then you’re already dehydrated.

7. Sitting too much

Working out is great but if you only work out two or three times a week and you spend most of your time sitting, your metabolism will slow right down. Even walking from one room to the next can give your metabolism a little boost. Make sure you get up at least once an hour.

8. Stressing out too much

Stress can be a good thing, but if you’re constantly stressed out you are literally killing yourself. Stress slows your metabolism down and increases your cravings for comfort food, making it deadly to your dieting attempts too.

9. Avoiding strength training

Cardio exercises are great but you need to do at least some strength training if you want to boost your metabolism. Your resting metabolic rate is based on how much muscle you have. The more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism moves.

10. Not sleeping enough

Sleep deprivation can mess with your insulin resistance, leading to high blood sugar, and slow down all your body processes, including metabolism. You’re also less likely to have the energy for a proper workout if you haven’t slept well.

You don’t have to start exercising for hours every day to speed up your metabolism and start losing weight. All you have to do is make some small adjustments to your lifestyle—and make sure they last.


How To Speed Up Metablism

A fast metabolism means the body gets to torch more calories. The more you burn, the faster it is to drop the unwanted weight. The speed of your metabolism is affected by your genes and gender, but you have plenty of control over your metabolic rate. Here are five effective ways to speed up your metabolism every day:

Eat a hearty breakfast

Your body switches to starvation mode if you skip meals, especially breakfast. The result is a slower metabolism because your body wants to conserve energy. The heartier your breakfast is, the better. Your food should be slow to digest to keep you feeling full for longer. Try mixing lean protein with healthy fats and complex carbohydrates.

Drink coffee and water

Caffeine increases your breathing and heart rate, so it helps boost your body’s metabolism. Chase your morning cup with a glass of ice-cold water. You may burn extra calories when your body tries to heat the cold water.

Load up with protein

Increasing your protein intake will help build lean muscle mass. Muscle torches more calories than fat. Aim to consume about 30 grams of protein each day. This is equivalent to a cup of low-fat cottage cheese, or four ounces of boneless chicken breast at every meal.

Go organic

People who consume foods with chemicals, like pesticides, experienced stalled metabolism. This is due to the disruptions in their thyroid function and mitochondrial activity. If you cannot exclusively eat organic foods, you can adjust your shopping list and choose as many organic options as you can.

Spice up your meals

Chili peppers contain capsaicin, a compound that gives their spicy flavour. This compound is also the reason behind your fired up metabolism whenever you consume chilli. It boosts your body’s heat production, and triggers your sympathetic nervous system. You can add chilli peppers into your salsa, pizza, stir-fries, and pastas.


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