This diet plan for fast metabolism was developed to help you lose weight quickly. If you are trying to get rid of a lot of weight or just a few pounds, this diet plan is perfect for you. If you follow the steps in this diet plan, you will see results.
Fast Metabolism Diet Review: Does It Work for Weight Loss?
Healthline Diet Score: 2.92 out of 5
Many people are interested in boosting their metabolism as a strategy for weight loss.
The Fast Metabolism Diet asserts that certain foods eaten at the right times can speed up your metabolism, allowing you to eat a lot and still lose weight.
However, like many contemporary diets, it’s gotten mixed reviews.
This article reviews whether the Fast Metabolism Diet can help you lose weight.
DIET REVIEW SCORECARD
- Overall score: 2.92
- Weight loss: 3.5
- Healthy eating: 3
- Sustainability: 1.5
- Whole body health: 2.5
- Nutrition quality: 5
- Evidence based: 2
BOTTOM LINE: The Fast Metabolism Diet focuses on eating specific foods in a certain order to boost metabolism. This principle and its effectiveness are not backed by science. Yet, the emphasis on healthy foods and exercise may aid weight loss.
What is the Fast Metabolism Diet?
The Fast Metabolism Diet is a nutrition program that promises to help you lose up to 20 pounds (9 kg) in 28 days.
It was developed by Haylie Pomroy, a celebrity nutritionist and wellness consultant with an academic background in animal science.
The diet claims that eating particular foods at certain times tricks your metabolism into speeding up, resulting in weight loss.
In addition to a weekly food plan, you receive an extensive list of foods to avoid. The diet also encourages exercise 2–3 times per week.
If you haven’t reached your goal weight by the end of the first 28-day cycle, you are encouraged to start again, staying on the diet until you have lost your desired amount of weight.
Once you’ve reached your weight goal, you are told you can maintain your results by repeating one week of the cycle every month — or the full four-week cycle once every six months.
Although some principles of this nutrition program are supported by science, most of its claims are not based on solid scientific evidence.
The Fast Metabolism Diet is a 28-day program that aims to rev up your metabolism so that you can lose excess weight.
How to follow it
The Fast Metabolism Diet program is split into three phases which are repeated on a weekly basis for a total of four weeks.
Each phase emphasizes different foods and provides recommendations for various physical activities.
Portion sizes vary by phase and depending on the amount of weight you want to lose. Below are the main guidelines organized by phase.
Phase 1 (Monday–Tuesday)
The diet’s promoters claim that this phase unwinds stress and convinces your body that it is no longer trying to store fat.
During these two days, you should eat a high-glycemic, carb-rich diet with moderate amounts of protein. Fats should be avoided.
This is meant to reduce stress and anxiety, prepare your body for weight loss and encourage your adrenal glands to produce lower amounts of the stress hormone cortisol.
Foods to eat include high-glycemic fruits, such as pears, mango, pineapple and cantaloupe, as well as high-carb whole grains, such as oatmeal, brown rice, spelt and brown-rice pasta.
This phase also promotes foods rich in vitamins B and C, such as lean beef, lentils, oranges, turkey and kiwi. These are thought to stimulate your thyroid to burn fats, protein and carbs more efficiently — and convert sugar into energy instead of storing it as fat.
During this phase, you are encouraged to include at least one aerobic workout.
Phase 2 (Wednesday–Thursday)
This phase is supposed to unlock fat stores and build muscle. During these two days, your diet should be rich in protein and non-starchy, alkalizing vegetables, yet low in carbs and fats.
This phase also includes vegetables, such as cabbage, broccoli, kale, spinach, cucumbers and collard greens.
The diet plan claims that these vegetables are alkalizing and supposedly lower the acidity of your blood, stimulating your liver to release fat cells.
At the same time, they’re said to provide the enzymes and phytonutrients needed to break down high-protein foods.
However, keep in mind that your body tightly regulates your blood pH level, keeping it slightly alkaline around 7.36–7.44. In fact, it would have detrimental consequences if the pH of your blood fell out of its normal range
So, while the vegetables promoted for the second phase are very healthy, they’re not healthy because of their supposed effects on blood pH.
During the second phase, you are encouraged to do at least one weight-lifting session.
Phase 3 (Friday–Sunday)
This phase is designed to accelerate your metabolism and fat burning.
During these three days, you are encouraged to add many healthy fats to your meals and snacks while consuming moderate amounts of protein and carbs.
Foods to eat in this phase include olive or grapeseed oil, safflower mayonnaise, eggs, nuts, seeds, coconut, avocados and olives.
Foods like seaweed, coconut oil, shrimp and lobster should also be included since the diet claims that they boost metabolism by stimulating your thyroid gland.
During this phase, you are encouraged to pick an activity that allows you to unwind, such as yoga, meditation or even a massage. This is meant to lower stress hormone levels and increase the circulation of fat-burning compounds.
The Fast Metabolism Diet is split into three phases which are repeated on a weekly basis for four weeks. Each phase has a different goal and specific diet and exercise recommendations.
Foods to avoid
The Fast Metabolism Diet warns against some foods which should be avoided whenever possible.
- Dried fruit
- Fruit juices
- Refined sugar
- Artificial sweeteners and foods containing them
- Fat-free diet foods
However, the diet’s founder does make an exception for vegetarians and vegans, who are allowed to eat three soy foods: tempeh, tofu and edamame. Note that these must be organic and not genetically modified (non-GMO).
On this diet, non-organic produce and nitrate-containing meats are also banned because the additives, preservatives, pesticides, insecticides and hormones they may host are thought to slow down your liver’s burning of fat.
The Fast Metabolism Diet excludes wheat, corn, dairy, soy, sugar, dried fruit, juices, caffeine, alcohol and fat-free diet foods. It also discourages non-organic foods.
A few additional rules
Aside from following the diet and physical activity guidelines for each phase, the Fast Metabolism Diet includes a few additional rules.
- Eat five times per day.
- Eat every 3–4 hours except when sleeping.
- Eat within 30 minutes of waking.
- Follow the phases in order.
- Stick to the foods allowed in each phase.
- Exercise according to the phase you’re in.
- Drink half of your body weight (measured in pounds) in ounces of water each day.
- Avoid wheat, corn, soy, dairy, dried fruit, fruit juices, refined sugar, artificial sweeteners, caffeine, alcohol and fat-free diet foods.
- Eat organic whenever possible.
- Ensure that meats are nitrate-free.
- Follow the plan for the full 28 days and repeat until your weight loss goal is achieved.
- Repeat the fast metabolism plan for a full 28 days every six months or for one week every month.
The Fast Metabolism Diet includes additional rules meant to help you achieve and maintain weight loss.
What Is the Fast Metabolism Diet?
At Verywell, we believe there is no one-size-fits-all approach to a healthy lifestyle. Successful eating plans need to be individualized and take the whole person into consideration. Prior to starting a new diet plan, consult with your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian, especially if you have an underlying health condition.
The Fast Metabolism Diet claims to rev up your metabolism so that you can eat plenty of food and still lose weight. The diet’s inventor, Haylie Pomroy, suggests that you can eat three full meals a day plus two snacks and lose up to 20 pounds in 28 days.
Your dietary goals are accomplished by rotating foods throughout the week. This, according to Pomroy, who is also a nutritionist, will speed up your metabolism so that you burn more calories and lose weight.
The Fast Metabolism Diet does not require you to count fat or carbs or track your calories. It does, however, require you to stick with the allowed foods on the plan and to strictly avoid other foods, which may pose a challenge since some of the foods that aren’t allowed are common in the standard American diet (wheat and dairy products among them).
The Fast Metabolism Diet allows plenty of healthy fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains, which is a point in its favor. However, you’re only allowed to eat certain things on certain days, which may be problematic for meal planning purposes. The premise of this diet—that it’s possible to make your body’s metabolism run faster by eating only certain foods in a particular order—does not have any medical studies to back it up.
Pomroy, a regular on NBC’s “Extra” and “Access Hollywood,” has worked with celebrities ranging from Cher to Robert Downey Jr. on weight loss and nutritional goals. She calls herself “the metabolism whisperer” for her focus on how the body burns calories and uses nutrients obtained through food.
According to Pomroy, diets, low-nutrient foods, and too much stress can slow down your metabolism, and weight gain is the result. The diet blueprint outlined in her bestselling book goes into detail on various hormonal effects of weight gain, plus the impact on your liver, your muscles, and your different types of fat.
The Fast Metabolism Diet might suit people who are seeking weight loss but who are also willing to incorporate exercise into their routines and give up entire categories of foods to achieve their goals.
What Experts Say
“The Fast Metabolism diet focuses on eating fairly healthy foods and promotes exercise, but the structure and rules around the diet are regimented and are not based on science.”
What Can You Eat?
There are six rules that Pomroy says are critical to follow in order to see success with the Fast Metabolism Diet. They involve eliminating five foods that make up the bulk of many people’s diets, plus one particularly common ingredient in popular beverages:
- Refined sugar
To make the elimination of these dietary staples more manageable, especially caffeine, Pomroy recommends patience—along with adding cinnamon to a morning smoothie and trying feverfew or ginkgo biloba, which may help with caffeine withdrawal headaches. Still, some people may find that giving up their morning latte (neither the caffeine nor the cow’s milk is allowed as part of the Fast Metabolism Diet) is a bridge too far.
What You Need to Know
“The Fast Metabolism Diet,” first published in 2013, has its roots in Pomroy’s work in animal nutrition. In animal husbandry, it’s possible to shape the type of meat produced by farm animals (fatty and marbled vs. lean) by manipulating the food the animals eat, which in turn either revs up or turns down their metabolism. Pomroy says she realized humans could achieve the same effect by eating different foods.
“Your metabolism is your body’s system for dealing with the energy you take in through food,” Pomroy writes. “The metabolism shuttles that energy into different directions according to what you eat and what you do. The beauty of your metabolism is that it can be manipulated because how you eat and move and live affects how much of your food is stored as fat, how much is used as energy, and how much is devoted to building the structure that is your body.”
The Fast Metabolism Diet has a devoted following, with many people stating that it helped them lose significant weight without going hungry. However, critics note that the weight loss that’s possible on the diet seems to result from calorie restriction, not from the complicated schedule of different foods.
The 3 Phases of the Fast Metabolism Diet
Each phase of this diet plan has its own focus and distinct food lists. According to Pomroy, the phases help your body recover from the previous phase and prepare for the next phase. The phases last for a week altogether, then repeat three times for four weeks in total:
- Phase 1 (days one and two) is to “unwind stress and calm the adrenals.”
- Phase 2 (days three and four) is to “unlock stored fat and build muscle.”
- Phase 3 (days five, six, and seven) is to “unleash the burn,” and focuses on your hormones, heart, and “heat.”
The idea, Pomroy says, is to provide your body with the variety it needs in order to obtain all your necessary nutrients. “You need complex carbohydrates, natural sugars, protein, fat, and even salt to maintain normal body chemistry,” she says, adding that you may need high levels of these elements, especially if you’ve been eating a poor diet for a long time.
However, she says, you shouldn’t include everything you need at once, which is the idea behind the different phases. Shifting between the phases allows the systems and organs targeted in each phase to rest and restore in turn, she says.
Phase 1: What to Eat
Phase 1 is the high-glycemic, moderate protein, low-fat phase. It includes carbohydrate-rich foods such as brown rice and quinoa, fruits that are high in natural sugars, and low-fat, moderate-protein foods.
What to Eat
- Brown rice
- Brown rice pasta
- Lean beef
What Not to Eat
- Foods with refined sugar
- Dried fruit
- High-fat meats
- Milk-based products, including cheese
Phase 1 includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus snacks. Breakfast consists of grains and fruit, lunch includes a grain, a protein, a vegetable, and a fruit, and dinner features a grain, a vegetable, and a protein. This routine, according to Pomroy, teaches your body to use food as energy instead of storing it as fat.
Exercise in Phase 1 should include at least one day of vigorous cardio. Pomroy recommends running, working out on an elliptical trainer, or an upbeat aerobics class.
Phase 2: What to Eat
Phase 2 is the very high-protein, high-vegetable, low-carbohydrate, and low-fat phase of the Fast Metabolism Diet. It features high-nutrient cruciferous vegetables and lots of lean protein.
What to Eat
- Leafy greens such as kale, collards, and mustard greens
- Lean beef
- White meat poultry
- Low-fat fish
- Egg whites
What Not to Eat
- Fruit or fruit juice
- Grains (including corn and wheat)
- Refined sugar
- High-fat meat
- Milk-based products, including cheese
Like Phase 1, Phase 2 includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus two snacks. However, the emphasis is on foods that will build muscle, as opposed to relatively high-carb fruits and grains. Breakfast features lean protein and a vegetable, lunch is another protein and vegetable, and dinner is protein and more vegetables. Both snacks are lean protein, such as buffalo jerky or a few slices of deli chicken.
Exercise in Phase 2 includes at least one day of strength training, with a focus on lifting heavy weights with low reps.
Phase 3: What to Eat
Phase 3 is the high healthy-fat, moderate carbohydrate, moderate protein, low-glycemic fruit phase. It includes foods that are high in healthy fats, such as avocados and coconuts, lots of berries, some grains, and little meat.
What to Eat
- Nuts, seeds, and nut butters
- Beef and chicken liver
What Not to Eat
- Corn and wheat
- Refined sugar
- Milk-based products, including cheese
Phase 3 includes breakfast with fruit, a fat/protein food, a grain, and a vegetable. Lunch features a fat/protein source, a vegetable, and a fruit, and dinner has a fat/protein source, a vegetable, and a grain/starch. Both snacks include a healthy fat plus a vegetable.
Exercise in Phase 3 includes at least one day of stress-reducing activity such as yoga or a massage.
Once you’ve gone through one week and all three phases, you are instructed to repeat the diet as many times as you wish until you obtain the results you want.
Sample Shopping List
The Fast Metabolism Diet emphasizes healthy fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains, but limits consumption of certain food groups depending on which phase of the diet you’re in. The following shopping list provides an overview of what you’ll need during each phase. Keep in mind this is not a definitive shopping list and you may find other foods that work better for you.
- Brown rice (long grain, short grain, basmati)
- Brown rice pasta (penne, macaroni shells, spaghetti)
- Quinoa (regular and tricolor)
- Oatmeal (steel cut, quick-cooking, rolled oats)
- Apples (pink lady, granny smith, Honeycrisp)
- Oranges (navel, Cara Cara, mandarin)
- Figs (fresh and/or dried)
- Lean beef (lean cuts of steak and ground sirloin)
- Turkey (turkey breast and ground turkey)
- Lentils (green, red, black)
- Dark leafy greens (kale, collards, mustard greens, Swiss chard)
- Broccoli (florets and whole crowns)
- Cabbage (red and green)
- Onions (red, white, Vidalia)
- Lean beef
- Buffalo/bison (ground or sirloin tips)
- White meat chicken (whole breasts)
- Low-fat fish (cod, flounder, sole)
- Eggs (whites only)
- Nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios)
- Seeds (chia, hemp, pumpkin, flax, sunflower)
- Nut butters (peanut, almond, cashew, sunflower)
- Coconuts (whole, half, dried/shredded)
- Olives (green, black, kalamata, castevetrano)
- Salmon (fillet, smoked, canned)
- Berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries)
- Asparagus (green, white, purple)
- Beans (black, pinto, chickpea, kidney)
- Seaweed (wakame, hijiki, kombu)
- Beef and chicken liver (whole/raw or canned/pate)
Sample Meal Plan
A variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and healthy fats are encouraged during different phases of the Fast Metabolism Diet. You are advised to consume lean protein like chicken breast, lean cuts of beef, and low-fat fish. Since it’s recommended you restrict your caffeine and sugar intake, it might be best to just drink water with your meals to promote hydration and weight loss.
The following meal plan shows you what a typical day during each of the three phases might look like. Note this plan is not all-inclusive, and if you do choose to follow the diet, there may be other meals that are more appropriate to suit your tastes and preferences.
- Breakfast: 1 cup steel-cut oatmeal topped with 1/4 cup chopped apples and figs
- Lunch: Quinoa-stuffed turkey roll-up (sub turkey breast for chicken and omit feta); 1 whole orange
- Dinner: 3-ounce grilled sirloin steak; 1/2 cup spiced brown lentils with brown rice
- Breakfast: Eggwhite omelet (3 eggs) stuffed with 1 cup kale, 1/2 cup broccoli, and 1/4 cup onion
- Lunch: Arugula salad topped with 1/2 cup steamed asparagus and 3 ounces of pan-seared cod
- Dinner: 1/4 pound bison burger served in a collard green wrap (no bun); 1 cup cabbage slaw (omit dairy)
- Breakfast: 12-ounce smoothie blended with 1 cup berries, 1/4 of an avocado, 1/3 cup shredded coconut meat, 1 tablespoon nut butter, 1 teaspoon chia seeds
- Lunch: 1 serving of loaded Mediterranean salad with cauliflower tabbouleh (sub olives for feta); 3-ounce fillet grilled or pan-seared salmon
- Dinner: 4-ounce serving beef liver and onions; 1/2 cup steamed asparagus; 1/2 cup quinoa
Pros and Cons
- Diet contains lots of healthy fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains
- Exercise is strongly recommended
- Different types of exercise are included
- Diet is complicated to follow
- Food choice is limited day-to-day
- Program may be difficult to follow long-term
As with all diets, the Fast Metabolism Diet has its benefits and drawbacks. Reviewing the pros and cons can help you decide whether this is the right diet plan for your weight loss goals.
The foods included throughout the one-week span of this diet plan certainly are part of an overall healthy diet, which calls for lots of fruits and vegetables, lean protein sources, and whole grains. If you take the week as a whole, there’s sufficient variety to keep you from getting bored, plus plenty of variation that should provide you with the vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients your body needs to function.
The Fast Metabolism Diet recommends rotating between different forms of exercise: aerobic, strength training, and yoga. This is a recommendation that’s supported by research since it keeps your overall level of activity up while allowing specific muscle groups to recover on off days.
Although Pomroy’s book is filled with descriptions of how simple the Fast Metabolism Diet is to follow, it’s actually somewhat complicated. It can be easy to forget which foods you’re supposed to eat (and avoid) on which days. Since the most effective weight loss program is one you’ll actually stick with, this one might not be ideal for some people. Pomroy does, however, offer an app that helps in meal planning and in keeping the three phases straight.
While it’s possible to strictly limit your regular food options if you’re only planning on doing it for a very limited time, it’s probably not sustainable for most people in the long term. In addition, although the diet may help to introduce you to foods you don’t normally eat, its regimentation probably won’t help you to develop healthy eating habits that you’ll stick with.
Although the Fast Metabolism Diet does include many healthy foods and a good, varied exercise plan, it’s too complicated and too limiting for most to follow long term.
Is the Fast Metabolism Diet a Healthy Choice for You?
The day-to-day food regimen of the Fast Metabolism Diet lacks balance and fails to meet the healthy diet recommendations outlined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
However, there are research-supported ways to ramp up your metabolism without the need to restrict food choices. If you learn how many calories you need per day, and then boost your physical activity level, it should boost your metabolism as well.
Set Your Calorie Goal
Eat Your Way to a Faster Metabolism
The Rumor: Certain foods affect your metabolic rate and how quickly you burn through calories
You know that friend of yours who can eat whatever she wants and still looks great in a bikini? The same one who apologetically says, “I guess I have a high metabolism” — while stuffing a cupcake in her mouth and sipping on a milkshake?
Stop hating. She was likely blessed with a high metabolism: Part of our individual metabolic rates — the rates at which our bodies burn food for energy — is preprogrammed in our genes. The higher your metabolism, the more calories you can consume without gaining weight.
“Your metabolism is how your body burns fuel and burns energy,” says certified personal trainer Mark MacDonald, author of Body Confidence. “We should care about it because it determines our weight. It’s going to determine our appetites, and it really determines our body fat levels as well. So if your metabolism is slower, then you’re not going to burn fuel as fast, and that’s going to cause you to store body fat. If you have a fast metabolism, that’s going to allow you to burn more energy.”
The Verdict: Avoiding foods that slow metabolism is as important as incorporating ones that improve it
The good news is, anyone can improve his or her metabolic rate by choosing the right foods and avoiding the wrong ones. A growling belly signals falling blood sugar, and that’s bad for metabolism. To avoid this, MacDonald recommends eating five times a day.
“Every single time you miss a meal, your blood sugar drops [and] your body over-releases a hormone that makes you burn muscle, not fat,” says MacDonald. “That’s why dieting fails people long-term: because it creates a core deficit that makes you burn muscle. Then you go into that next meal not craving chicken or tuna; you crave carbohydrates. That spikes your blood sugar… and it makes you over-release insulin and store fat.” The more fat, the lower your metabolism.
To help stop the vicious cycle, add high-fiber foods, such as fruits and vegetables, to your diet. They’re low in calories and the fiber is a natural colon-cleanser — which helps keep the digestive system moving smoothly. Your colon is 6 feet long. “It takes a lot of energy to push fiber all the way through,” says Dian Griesel, Ph.D., author of TurboCharged: Accelerate your Fat Burning Metabolism, Get Lean Fast and Leave Diet and Exercise Rules in the Dust. “The more your body’s working naturally for you, the more your metabolism’s staying high.”
Need a snack? Step away from the pretzels and instead opt for a combination of protein, fat and carbohydrates, says MacDonald. A cheese stick (protein and fat) and piece of fruit (carbohydrate) is a good example. Eating those together will help stabilize your blood sugar, and you’ll avoid the dips and spikes that wreak havoc on metabolism. If your blood sugar surges, your body stores the excess sugar as fat. If it dips, your body thinks it’s in starvation mode and burns muscle. And the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism.
Before each meal, drink two glasses of icy cold water, suggests Griesel. “You’ll eat less, and your body will be a little chilled, so it will start working harder to stay warm,” she says. Being properly hydrated also helps grease the wheels of your digestive system, encouraging food to be metabolized more quickly.
According to MacDonald, most people are sensitive to one or all of the following foods: soy, dairy and gluten (the protein found in wheat, rye and barley). If that’s the case for you, then when these foods reach the intestines, they cause inflammation that slows down digestion. “If your fuel isn’t being broken down cleanly,” he says, “it affects your performance: metabolism, gas, bloating, weight gain — all of that.”
Another factor? Sodium. If a food comes in a box or can and has a long list of ingredients, many unpronounceable, chances are it’s a processed food packed with preservatives and sodium.
One of the best ways to boost metabolism is to build muscle. “Get up every two hours and stretch for one minute,” says Griesel. “Get into plank position, do some push-ups, squat against a wall. Your muscles will respond quickly. And you’re boosting your metabolism because not only are you helping release your natural human growth hormone — which is good for your longevity and your musculature — but you’re also causing more calories to get burned and therefore raising your metabolism.”