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The truth about metabolism - Harvard Health

Tips For Increasing Metabolism

  • Add high-intensity interval training to your regular routine
  • Eat proteins as they have a high thermic effect and take longer to be burned and absorbed by the body. Your metabolism increases when you eat and process food, a process called 'the thermic effect of food.'
  • Do weight training. It increases muscle mass thus boosting metabolism.
  • Drink green tea. Studies show it contains compounds that increase the calories and fat you burn. 

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The truth about metabolism - Harvard Health

The truth about metabolism - Harvard Health

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Key Ideas

Metabolism

It is the internal process by which your body expends energy and burns calories. It runs 24/7 to keep your body functioning by converting the food and nutrients you consume into energy.

This process works at different intensities in different people. The speed of your metabolism is determined mostly by your genes, regardless of your body size and composition, but how much you weigh mostly comes down to diet and activity levels.

Age And Metabolism

Age affects metabolism, making it slow over the years, even if you start out with a fast metabolism. Differences in metabolism speed are evident in how easy or hard it is for people to gain or lose weight.

A slow metabolism burns fewer calories, thus storing more fat; that's why some people have difficulty losing weight by just cutting calories. A fast metabolism burns calories at a quicker rate, which explains why some people can eat a lot and not gain extra pounds.

Tips For Increasing Metabolism

  • Add high-intensity interval training to your regular routine
  • Eat proteins as they have a high thermic effect and take longer to be burned and absorbed by the body. Your metabolism increases when you eat and process food, a process called 'the thermic effect of food.'
  • Do weight training. It increases muscle mass thus boosting metabolism.
  • Drink green tea. Studies show it contains compounds that increase the calories and fat you burn. 

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Eat Plenty of Protein at Every Meal

Eating food increases your metabolism for a while because extra calories are required to process your meal. This is called the thermic effect of food (TEF).

Protein increases your metaboli...

Drink More Cold Water

Drinking water may speed up your metabolism for about an hour. This calorie-burning effect may be even greater if you drink cold water, as your body uses energy to heat it.

Drinking water can also help you fill up and help you eat less, especially if you drink it half an hour before you eat.

Do a High-Intensity Workout

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) involves short, intense bursts of activity and help you burn more fat by increasing your metabolic rate.

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Supplements and Metabolism

Myth: Supplements can speed up your metabolism.

Over-the-counter products that claim to boost metabolism often don’t have calories, don’t directly impact your metabolis...

Skinnier People

Myth: Skinnier people have faster metabolisms.

It’s more about body composition than body size when it comes to metabolism. Metabolism depends on the composition of protein mass you have—muscle is more metabolically active, meaning the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn when you’re resting. This is why lifting weights is one of the best ways to speed up your metabolism, it adds muscles. 

Metabolism and Genetics

Myth: Metabolism is genetic, can't be changed.

Your genes do influence your metabolism, but, unusual genetic conditions aside, lifestyle habits affect it more. The amount of exercise you get and the choices you make when you feed yourself are more important factors.

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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 — th...

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.

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