Does junk food slow down your metabolism?

Coach Kannan
January 11,2023

All of the chemical processes that take place inside your body are referred to as your metabolism. Your system burns more calories when your metabolism is high. But a slow metabolism results in lesser calories being burned by the body, rendering it more challenging to maintain or reduce weight. Several foods may boost your metabolism. But what impact does junk food have? In this article, we will explain if eating processed or junk foods slows your metabolism and how to deal with it.


junk food metabolism

What is junk food?

Junk food is a term used to describe heavily processed foods that are typically rich in calories, processed carbohydrates, and bad fats. They also lack elements like fiber and protein that help people feel full. These often include pizzas, sugary beverages, tortilla chips, and French fries. Junk food is generally accessible, affordable, and practical. It is heavily marketed with popular celebrities and eye-catching packages.

While they taste delicious, they are not filling and it is easy to overeat these foods. They are also addictive.


The flavors for these foods are developed by scientists in sophisticated laboratories by using combinations of fat, sugar and salt that are proven to be addictive to our brain.


This might explain why you find yourself craving junk foods and cannot control how much you eat.

Does eating junk food slow your metabolism?

The processes of food digestion, absorption, and metabolism requires energy. Protein in the diet requires significantly more energy to digest than carbohydrates. Similarly, complex carbohydrates (like multigrain bread) takes more energy to digest than refined carbohydrates (white bread).


For example, eating a sandwich prepared with whole grain bread and cheddar cheese will burn a lot more calories than a sandwich containing white bread and processed cheese.


Research on this topic suggests that processed food needs less energy to be digested and metabolized than whole foods. Because of this, fewer calories are burnt during the day when you eat processed foods, thus making it harder to lose weight and keep it off. This is an indication that eating junk food can slow your metabolism.

The National Health Portal of the Indian government also notes that junk foods are to be avoided if you wish to follow a healthy diet.

How does sugar in junk food affect metabolism?

Of all the ingredients in junk foods, sugar might cause the most problems.

Sugar digests quickly, resulting in the fact you could feel hungry very soon after a sweet snack. As a result, you crave more food and may end up having even more of the sugary food. This applies to sugars found in foods like drinks, fruit juices, cereals, and health bars.

There is some evidence that a high intake of sugars and sugary foods can slow your metabolism.

Also Read: Junk Food And Diabetes

Junk food may cause insulin resistance

Insulin resistance is when your body’s cells no longer react to the hormone insulin. Blood glucose levels may rise as a result of this. Type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and other chronic illnesses greatly influence insulin resistance.

Consuming processed foods has been linked to a higher risk of developing insulin resistance.


Studies have found that even a few days on a diet high in fatty packaged foods caused changes in skeletal muscle’s capacity to handle glucose.


It appears from the research that a diet high in fast food and fat is a big factor in causing insulin resistance.

5 mistakes that slow down your metabolism

Below are some of the things that can slow down your metabolism.

  1.     Eating too little food

When you drastically cut back on calories, your body perceives that less food is available and slows down how quickly it burns calories.

  1.     Eating insufficient Protein

Protein speeds up the metabolism more than carbohydrates or fat because it is among the foods that increase metabolism. The metabolic rate is preserved when you include enough protein-rich foods in the diet.

  1.     Not Getting Enough Sleep

You can maintain your metabolic rate by getting enough good-quality nighttime sleep.

  1.     Drinking Sugary Beverages

A large intake of drinks with fructose may slow down metabolism and encourage the buildup of fat in your liver and abdomen.

  1.     Lack of Strength Training

Strength exercise boosts muscle mass and maintains metabolism as you age.

Also Read: How to stop craving for junk food?

Tips to boost your metabolism

Now that you know how to slow down your metabolism, here are some tips on boosting it:

  • Increase your physical activity and add some resistance or strength training.
  • Avoid skipping meals.
  • Include enough protein-rich foods by eating a fist-sized portion of such foods in each meal.
  • Get 7hrs of sleep on a consistent basis.
  • Build your diet around whole and minimally processed foods. Junk foods are ok as treats occasionally.

Bottom line

Large volumes of junk food consumption can slow your metabolism. It may lessen the number of calories you burn each day and raise your chance of developing insulin resistance (diabetes) and liver problems.

To avoid such issues, build your diet around whole and minimally processed foods. Junk foods are ok as treats occasionally.

You can also take steps to maintain and improve your metabolic rate by using the guidelines in this article, such as increasing the amount of high-protein foods in your diet and adding strength training to your exercise routine. As a welcome bonus, these will also help you with weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight.

About the Author

Coach Kannan
Kannan is a Precision Nutrition & ISSA Certified Nutrition Coach and a ACE-Certified Behavior Change Specialist. Kannan focuses on ideas that are scientific and also work in the real world. He is allergic to advice that is unscientific or not practical.

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