The Life's Learning Centre Blog

Nutrition: How you can speed up your metabolism

Posted on: September 16, 2009

1) Understand what metabolism is: In the simplest terms, metabolism is the rate at which your body burns calories. Very few people have a fast metabolism, and overweight individuals generally have slow metabolisms because their fat cells are consuming energy. However, a faster metabolism will enable you to lose more weight than your friend, even if you both have the same activity level, diet, and weight.

2) Determine what is influencing your metabolism: There are some factors that you can change, and some factors that you can’t.

-Age – metabolism decreases five percent per decade after age 40
-Sex – men generally burn calories more quickly than women because they have more muscle tissue
-Heredity – you can inherit your metabolic rate from previous generations
-Thyroid disorder – hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland) and hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland) can slow down or speed up metabolism, but only 3 and .3 percent of the population have hypo- and hyperthyroidism.

3) Calculate your resting metabolic rate (RMR): RMR is often used interchangeably with basal metabolic rate (BMR); although they are slightly different, estimating either is sufficient for the purpose of losing weight. To calculate your RMR, use the Mifflin-St Jeor equation (which is more reliable than the Harris-Benedict equation). There are also calculators online that can do this for you:

RMR = 9.99w + 6.25s – 4.92a + 166g-161
w = weight in kilograms; if you know your weight in pounds, divide by 2.2 to get your weight in kilograms
s = height in centimeters; if you know your height in inches, multiply by 2.54 to get your height in centimeters
a = age in years
g = gender = 1 for males, 0 for females

4) Adjust your diet accordingly. Your RMR will tell you how many calories you need to maintain your body at rest. Your daily consumption to maintain your weight should be:

RMR x 1.15
E.g. RMR = 2000, so the maintenance intake is 2000 x 1.15 = 2300
To lose weight safely, do not exceed your maintenance intake or have a caloric intake lower than your calculated RMR.

Count calories by recording what you eat and looking up how many calories each food item contains (either on the food packaging or in tables provided in books or online).

5) Eat small, frequent meals: Extending the time between meals makes your body go into “starvation mode,” which decreases your metabolism as a means to conserve energy and prevent starvation. Skipping meals does not help you cut calories or lose weight; in fact, people generally eat less overall when they eat small, frequent meals. In addition to having four to six small meals per day[6] eating healthy snacks will also increase metabolism.

6) Drink water: As with food, depriving your body of water can encourage it to “hoard” rather than “burn”. More than ninety percent of the chemical reactions in your body occur in water, so make sure you drink an appropriate amount of water.

7) Boost metabolism temporarily with aerobic exercise. Different activities burn different quantities of calories, but the important thing is to raise your heart rate and sustain the activity for approximately thirty minutes.

Boost metabolism in the long run with weight training. Muscle burns more calories than fat does (73 more calories per kilogram per day, to be exact) so the more muscle you build, the higher your resting metabolic rate (RMR) will be. Every muscle cell that you gain is like a little factory that constantly burns calories for you, even while you sleep, and revs up when you exercise. This is the only way to increase RMR, which accounts for 60 to 70 percent of the calories you burn daily.

TIPS:
Drink natural green tea. Green Tea is an excellent antioxidant absolver and metabolism booster. Green tea oxidates fat tissues and energizes the body, thus helping persons that and looking to increase their weight loss rate.

There are no “fat-burning” foods. You might’ve heard that certain foods (e.g. celery and grapefruit) increase metabolism, but it’s just a myth.While some foods and drinks such as red peppers and green tea have been studied for their potential metabolism-increasing properties, there is no conclusive evidence that whatever influence they have on metabolism is significant enough to result in weight loss. However, it has been proven that all foods do have what is called the thermic effect. Foods with protein have a 30% protein effect, and are the most thermal of all foods. So that means if you eat a 100 calorie portion of meat, 30 calories from the food are required to break down the fibers in the protein and to properly digest it. Foods with higher amounts of fiber also have a high thermic effect. This is why people who eat 40% protein 40% carbohydrate and 20% mainly monounsaturated fat diets do very well, especially if they are carbohydrate sensitive and/or endomorphs.

Some sugar substitutes may adversely affect metabolism and weight loss.

Very low-carb diets are said to burn more calories because the body expends energy in a system of changing fats and proteins into glucose. This system of chemical reactions is called the “krebs-cycle” or “tricarboxylic acid cycle.” It is necessary because the human body uses several forms of glucose for all energy requirements, all the time, even when you do not consume carbs. Krebs is also called the “Citric Acid Cycle.” It is found in aerobic metabolism, the breakdown of proteins, fats and carbohydrates from food eaten to create the energy pathway at the cellular, mitochondrial level.

If you try the low-carb approach it is easy to become vitamin deficient as carbohydrates are necessary for absorption of vitamins, vitamin capsules are a waste of money in such cases. Include omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, by eating at least 2-3 portions of fish a week, or if you dislike fish take fish oil supplements. Drink eight 8-oz. glasses of non-carbonated water (including green tea, tea and coffee) per day.

Be careful with dairy products if you are following the Atkins diet. Milk and products made with milk contain lactose, a carbohydrate. Yogurt has natural milk sugars in addition to fruit and sweeteners such as sucrose or high-fructose corn syrup. Consider getting your calcium from cheese. Some cheeses may have nearly zero carbohydrates. Avoid low-fat dairy products. Whole milk has 11 carbs; skimmed milk has 12.3 carbs. Whole milk also provides the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA and is the most significant food source of CLA, a heart-healthy fat that may help increase your metabolism, lose more fat, and build more muscle. Short- and medium-chain fatty acids (especially those in coconut oil) have long been promoted for weight loss and can easily be burned for energy. In a nine-year study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, whole milk and cheese helped prevent weight gain in women who had one or more servings a day while low-fat milk did not. Low-fat yogurt or low-fat ice cream may have more sugar to compensate for the loss of taste. Soy products can also be an excellent substitute for dairy while you are on the Atkins diet. Plain soy milk has seven net carbs and one gram of fiber.

Always consult a dietitian or doctor before making a major change in your diet and exercise routine.

Article Source: How to Increase Your Metabolism

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