Diets and metabolism

Diets and metabolism

Drastic dieting can slow down your metabolism. This may be the body's way of vigorously defending a certain weight range, called the set point.

Researchers don't fully understand why this metabolic slowdown happens though.

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Your metabolism

It is in every cell in your body. It refers to a series of chemical processes in each cell that turn the calories you eat into fuel to keep you alive.

The body's major organs — the brain, liver, kidneys, and heart — account for about half of the energy burned at rest, while fat, the digestive system, and especially the body's muscles account for the rest.

How we burn energy

There are 3 main ways:

  • the basal metabolism, the energy used for your body's basic functioning while at rest
  • the energy used to break down food (also known as the thermic effect of food)
  • the energy used in physical activity.

Most of the energy you burn is from your resting metabolism.

Metabolism variations

Metabolism can vary a lot between people, and researchers don't understand why.

2 people with the same size and body composition can have different metabolic rates. One can consume a huge meal and gain no weight, while the other has to carefully count calories to not gain weight.

Metabolism and getting older

Getting older slows down the metabolism.

The effect happens gradually, even if you have the same amount of fat and muscle tissue. So when you're 60, you burn fewer calories at rest than when you're 20.

You can't speed  your metabolism

There's a lot of hype around" speeding up your metabolism for weight loss, but that's just a myth.

While there are certain foods (coffee, chili, and other spices) that may speed the basal metabolic rate up just a little, the change is so negligible and short-lived, it would never have an impact on your waistline. Building more muscles, however, can be more helpful.

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RELATED IDEAS

It is a common belief that slim people have a higher metabolism and overweight people have a slower metabolism. But, this is rarely the case.

Overweight is in most cases a result of a lifestyle in which one group generally consumes more calories than they need. There isn’t much we can do to significantly change our resting metabolic rate, but long-term strategies, such as increasing muscle mass, may eventually have an effect.

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IDEAS

Some studies found green tea and oolong tea can increase metabolism by 4-5%. The teas help convert some of the fat stored in your body into free fatty acids, which may increase fat burning by 10-17%.

Small Meals Throughout the Day

You don't need to eat six meals per day to stroke your metabolic fire. Three squares can also keep you from growing round. Research comparing the two ways of eating found that belly fat, the kind that increases heart-disease risk, only increased in the high-meal frequency group.

Focus on overall calorie control and get plenty of fiber, protein, and micronutrients. What you eat is more important than when.

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