When it comes to diet and exercise, the term metabolism will often appear as a focus when weight loss is the goal. But what exactly is metabolism?
Your body’s metabolism is the sum total of all the physical and chemical processes that take the energy (or calories) in the food and drink you consume and convert it into energy needed for your body to function and survive.
So, how does metabolism relate to weight loss? Your body weight is caused by the difference between the energy you provide your body with and the energy you expend. So metabolism is a key factor in determining your body weight
The vast majority of people prefer to have a quick metabolism, especially if they are looking to lose weight. Despite this, there is a lot of misunderstanding on the topic, and who wants to waste time on baseless tactics when trying to make decisions that affect your health? Let’s sort out the myths and facts surrounding metabolism.
Myth: Eat fewer calories to boost your metabolism
It is true that losing weight is often about creating an energy deficit so that you eat fewer calories than your body consumes each day. However, successful long-term weight loss isn’t simply eating less food
If you drastically reduce the number of calories you eat, your body enters starvation mode. This means that your body interprets low calories as an indication that you are in starvation, so it switches to requiring less energy to perform the same functions. In other words, metabolism slows down, and weight loss stops. Weight gain can also occur.
Myth: Thin people have a higher metabolism rate
A larger body requires more energy to function than a smaller body, so an overweight person often has a faster metabolism than a lean person. However, there are some exceptions. People with hypothyroidism or Cushing’s syndrome (a disorder caused by high levels of cortisol) may be overweight with a slowed metabolism.
Myth: Your metabolism slows down with age
BMR is known to slow with age. Your BMR is the energy, or calories, required to keep your body functioning while at rest. However, aging itself is not the reason why your metabolism has slowed down. Lifestyle factors play a major role in deteriorating metabolism.
As people get older, they become less active without changing the way they eat. So, their basal metabolic rate drops and they gain weight.
Myth: 1 pound of muscle burns 50 calories at rest
In fact, 1 pound of muscle only burns about 6- 7 calories at rest. So, if you work out at the gym and gain 5 pounds of muscle, you will increase your metabolism rate to burn only 35 extra calories each day. Therefore, the muscle fibers at rest do not contribute much to the total energy consumed
Now you may be wondering what is responsible for burning the bulk of your calories at rest. The lungs, heart, brain, liver and kidneys consume the most calories, which account for roughly 80% of your metabolism rate.
Myth: You can make up for a bad diet with good exercise
Exercise will not help you achieve your weight loss goals if you eat food that is high in calories and poor nutritional value. Another fact: exercise doesn’t make up the bulk of your day’s calorie burn. Unless you are a high-end athlete, exercise makes up about 10-30% of the calories you burn each day. Your primary metabolism is about 60-80% of your total caloric intake.
Currently, there is evidence that vigorous exercise such as high-intensity intermittent exercise can increase your metabolism rate for many hours (up to 24 hours and in some cases longer) after exercise. However, this effect is temporary and only occurs on exercise days.
And if you respond to the temporary nature of increasing your metabolic rate with vigorous exercise every day, then this plan may backfire for you as well. Your metabolism doesn’t work as effectively if you don’t allow your body to rest and recover. Excessive pressure on your body puts it in an inflammatory state, which affects hormone balance and disrupts metabolism.
Myth: Eating small, frequent meals will boost your metabolism
Eating small meals throughout the day may help control portions, but it does not speed up your metabolism. Researchers studied people who ate 6 meals a day compared to those who ate 3 meals a day. They found that there was no difference in lipid oxidation rates within 24 hours (a measure of metabolic rate). Moreover, they note that eating more meals may cause an increase in feelings of hunger, so it may result in an increase in caloric intake.
Myth: Eating food late at night slows down your metabolism.
When people gain weight, they blame those extra pounds on the metabolic slowdown that results from snacking at the end of the night. The time you eat food does not necessarily cause weight gain. The quality and quantity of the food you eat is likely the culprit. It’s okay to snack at night if you feel hungry. Just avoid snacking without thinking and don’t overdo the calories.
Myth: Certain foods may speed up your metabolism
There are some studies that show that eating peppers cayenne (Capsicum) can enhance the metabolism. However, it is a short-term, insignificant increase.
Research on green tea reveals that it contains a compound called EGCG that might increase calorie burning. I find meta-analyzes found that taking 250 mg of EGCG resulted in an average of 100 extra calories burned per day.
Another analysis showed that consuming green tea had little results in losing weight in obese or overweight people. Green tea has also not shown any benefit in helping maintain the weight loss achieved
Therefore, green tea contains antioxidants that may be beneficial for longevity. So, if your goal is to lose weight, regular exercise and a proper diet is the best basis for success. However, given the health benefits of green tea, it can definitely be used to supplement strategy to improve weight loss results.
To get 250 mg of EGCG that researchers have found effective for increasing calorie burning, you can have about 3 cups of green tea daily. This amount varies for different people depending on their caffeine consumption and normal metabolism. And because green tea is a stimulant, it is best to consult your healthcare provider before starting to consume it if you have a medical condition or are taking medications.
Sure ways to boost your metabolism
Follow a balanced diet
A healthy diet, which includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, as well as protein and healthy fats, will give you the nutritional support needed for a strong metabolism.
Your body uses energy (burns calories) when you eat because it has to digest and metabolize food. This is called the thermic effect of food (TEF). Both dietary fiber and protein have a higher thermogenic effect than other foods, so they can help boost metabolism.
In one study, participants who consumed more than 40 g of dietary fiber per day enabled them to burn at least 92 extra calories per day. Other studies showed that eating high in protein increased your calorie burn by about 80 to 100 calories per day.
Good protein sources include lean meat, legumes and lentils, nuts and seeds, and plant protein. The grain full, and fruits and vegetables are essential to get enough dietary fiber. And if you don’t get enough protein in your diet, protein powders are an easy way to increase your intake.
Drink adequate amounts of water
When your body isn’t getting enough water, it sends a signal to your metabolism to slow down. At least 4 to 6 glasses of water a day is probably sufficient to avoid dehydration for most people, but this amount varies between individuals depending on other factors such as weather and physical activity. If you engage in large amounts of prolonged physical activity, electrolytes can help you stay hydrated.
A small study revealed that consuming 500 ml of water increased your metabolism rate by 30%.
Another benefit of drinking water is to prevent overeating, as people often confuse thirst with hunger.
Get enough sleep
Lack of sleep can interfere with blood sugar regulation. And without enough blood sugar, you won’t be able to fuel your metabolism.
Lack of sleep also disrupts the balance of the hunger hormones – leptin (which reduces appetite) and ghrelin (which stimulates appetite). Leptin resistance can develop which will make you feel hungry and impede metabolism. If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, melatonin supplements may help.