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Want To Boost Your Metabolism? Drink Slower, Experts Say

Hannah Frye
Author:
November 30, 2023
Hannah Frye
Assistant Beauty & Health Editor
By Hannah Frye
Assistant Beauty & Health Editor
Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including health, wellness, sustainability, personal development, and more.
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Image by MStudioImages / Istock
November 30, 2023
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It's no secret that a cup of pure fruit juice is probably better for your overall health than an artificially sweetened beverage. But even with fruit juice, loads of natural sugar hitting your bloodstream can still impact your metabolism in a not-so-positive way.

However, one tip can help mitigate those effects. On a recent episode of the mindbodygreen podcast, board-certified internal medicine doctor and seasoned diabetes and obesity researcher Richard Johnson, M.D., said that drinking slower can mitigate the effects of some sugary beverages. Just take a look at the research below.

Is drinking slower better for metabolism?

Johnson refers to a 2021 research study he led along with a team of experts, where they tested whether drinking sugar-sweetened beverages over the course of an hour (rather than downing it quickly) could help mitigate its negative impacts. 

This study, published in the journal Nutrients, found that fast ingestion of 500 milliliters (or about 2.5 cups) of apple juice within five minutes causes a significantly greater metabolic response1, which may be associated with negative long-term health outcomes. "There's a huge difference in terms of the biology," Johnson says.

The reason behind this has to do with the sugar composition found in fruit juice. See, fruit contains two types of simple sugars: glucose and fructose. Your cells use glucose as fuel for energy, but only your liver can metabolize fructose. 

When ingested in high amounts, fructose (even from fruit), gets stored in the liver and can contribute to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)2, a growing epidemic and leading cause of liver failure.

Unfortunately, fructose can also feed yeast overgrowth in the gut, negatively impacting your metabolism and overall gut health. 

What's more, fruit juice gets stripped of the wonderful fiber and nutrients found in the flesh and skin of the fruit, so sugar is one of the only elements left. 

So yes, consuming high amounts of fructose in any way isn't the best idea for overall health. But still, this doesn't mean you need to give it up. When you do enjoy a sugary drink, try to drink it just a bit slower to encourage a better physiological response, especially if you're predisposed to metabolic or blood-sugar-related health concerns

Other ways to support metabolic health

There are plenty of ways to support your metabolic health beyond limiting (or slowly drinking) high-sugar beverages. Below, three quick tips:

The takeaway 

Look, sometimes sweet teas and fruit juices just sound too irresistible to give up. If you are going to have a sugary beverage, research suggests consuming it over the course of an hour to ease some of the potentially negative health effects. If you want to learn more about Johnson's metabolic health tips, tune into the full episode here:

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