Metabolism is the force inside our body that mysteriously decides whether to convert the food we eat into energy or store it as body weight.
We often blame our slow metabolism when we fail to lose weight. As a result, the $33 billion industry offers thousands of products that claim to aid weight loss by increasing metabolism. Experts in Conversation website Instead of looking for supplements, there are things you can do to speed up your metabolism, they write.
What is metabolism and how does it work?
Metabolism describes the chemical reactions in our bodies that keep us alive. Metabolism provides the energy needed for essential functions such as respiration and digestion.
When we refer to metabolism in relation to our weight, we are actually describing our “basal metabolic rate,” the number of calories the body burns at rest. Basal metabolism depends on the amount of muscle and fat in the body.
Many factors such as age, gender, weight and lifestyle can affect metabolism. Metabolic rate usually slows down with age, and after dieting, it undergoes a permanent change.
Why does metabolism slow down with age?
As we age, the body loses its former efficiency. Around the age of 40, muscle mass begins to decrease and the ratio of fat to muscle in the body increases. Since muscle mass plays a role in determining the rate of metabolism, the reduction of muscle mass means that the body burns fewer calories at rest and the rate of our metabolism decreases.
Why does our metabolism become ineffective after dieting?
When you lose a lot of weight, your metabolic rate is likely to drop, and even if you gain it back, it won’t return to pre-diet levels. That’s because when we diet to lose weight, we usually lose both fat and muscle, and the loss of calorie-burning muscle mass slows down our metabolism. We may think that the expected decrease in metabolic rate is due to the loss of body mass, but even after regaining the weight, our metabolism does not return to its previous state.
Three ways to increase metabolism and one to avoid
Pay attention to what you eat
Pay attention to the types of foods you eat, because your diet affects the amount of energy your body uses to digest, absorb, and metabolize foods. This process is known as thermogenesis or heat generation from food and it accounts for about 10% of our total daily energy consumption.
The thermic effect of food is higher for protein-rich foods, because the body needs more energy to break down and digest protein. Eating foods rich in protein increases metabolism by 15%. In contrast, carbohydrates increase the metabolic rate by 10% and fats increase the metabolic rate by 5%.
This doesn’t mean you have to go on a protein-only diet to boost your metabolism. Meals should include vegetables, protein, and a balanced amount of carbohydrates such as whole grains and healthy fats to promote health and prevent disease and help with weight loss.
Regular physical activity increases muscle mass and speeds up metabolism. Increasing muscle mass increases your basal metabolic rate, meaning you burn more calories at rest. You can achieve this goal by adding 30 minutes of physical activity to your newspaper schedule, and supplement your physical activity with two days of gym or strength training. It is important to have a mixed routine, because having a repetitive schedule may make you lose motivation to exercise. If you don’t exercise, your muscle mass will decrease and the lost muscle mass will slow down your metabolism and make your weight loss efforts futile.
Get enough sleep
Lack of sleep affects metabolism and disrupts the body’s energy balance. This causes appetite hormones to increase the feeling of hunger, the metabolism of sugar in the body changes and energy consumption decreases.
If you want to boost your metabolism, get seven hours of sleep every night. A simple way to achieve this goal is to avoid screens for at least an hour before bed. Screens are major sleep disruptors because they suppress melatonin production in the brain and tell us it’s daytime.
Don’t waste your money on supplements and diet pills
There are thousands of products on the market that promise to activate the metabolism and speed up weight loss. While some may contain ingredients such as caffeine and capsaicin (the hot chemical found in chili peppers) that increase metabolism immediately after consumption, this effect is temporary and does not lead to long-term weight loss.
Most products that promise to boost your metabolism to help you lose weight are not backed by scientific evidence. Two recent reviews have shown that the mentioned products do not work, contrary to the interesting marketing claims. So ditch the pills, potions, and slimming powders and focus on actions that work.