How can I speed up my metabolism?

Được đăng bởi Minh Hoàng Vũ on Thứ Hai, ngày 08 tháng 4 năm 2013


It’s not unusual to hear people blame their weight gain on a slow metabolism.

They’ve cut down on calories and take regular exercise yet they’re still not losing weight. The only other possible diagnosis, they expertly conclude, is a slow metabolism.
What is a slow metabolism? How does it affect your weight and can you do anything to speed it up?
Professor James Timmons, a metabolism expert from Loughborough University, gives your metabolism a closer examination.

What is metabolism?

Metabolism describes all the chemical processes that go on continuously inside the body to keep you alive and your organs functioning normally, such as breathing, repairing cells and digesting food.
These chemical processes require energy. The minimum amount of energy your body requires to carry out these chemical processes is called the basal metabolic rate (BMR).
Your BMR accounts for anything between 50% and 80% of your body’s daily energy requirements depending on how active you are. A ‘slow metabolism’ is more accurately described as a low BMR.
There are many BMR calculators available online. Look out for BMR calculators using the Harris-Benedict equation, which is the most widely used method for estimating your BMR.

Do some people have a faster metabolism than others?

Body size, age, gender and genes all play a role in determining your metabolic rate.
Muscle cells require more energy to maintain than fat cells, so people with a higher muscle to fat ratio tend to have a higher BMR.
As we get older, we tend to gain fat and lose muscle. This explains why the BMR tends to decrease with age.
In general, men tend to have a faster metabolism as they have more muscle mass, heavier bones and less body fat than women, which is why their daily calorie allowance is higher.

Calorie allowances

An average man needs around 2,500kcal a day. For an average woman, that figure is around 2,000kcal a day. These values can vary depending on age and levels of physical activity, as well as other factors.

Your metabolism may be partly determined by your genes, although this is not yet fully understood. Genes definitely play a role in muscle size and your ability to grow muscles, both of which affect your metabolism.

Am I fat because of a slow metabolism?

People who struggle to lose weight often blame a slow metabolism. However, studies show that some overweight people may actually have a higher metabolism than their leaner counterparts. This is because they have larger bodies with bigger muscles and internal organs.
Research has also shown that people tend to eat more than they think they do. When asked to write down everything they've consumed in a day, many people tend to report eating far less than they actually do.
More often than not, the reason you’re putting on weight is not because of a slow metabolism, it’s because you’re eating too much. It may be hard to accept, but staying on top of the number of calories you eat is key to losing weight and keeping it off.

Can losing weight too fast slow my metabolism?

Crash diets and other calorie-restricted diets can reduce your BMR. With some diets, your body is forced to break down muscle to use for energy. The lower your muscle mass, the slower your metabolism. With less muscle and a slower metabolism, it then becomes a lot easier to put body fat back on after coming off the diet.

What can I do to speed up my metabolism?

It is claimed that certain foods and drinks can boost your metabolism, including green tea, black coffee, spices and energy drinks. The evidence behind these claims is flimsy, the effect on your metabolism is marginal at best and each person will respond differently to each product. Based on the best available research, below are the most effective ways to speed up your metabolism:
Build muscle
The body requires more energy to maintain muscle tissue than fat stores, so people with a higher muscle to fat ratio have a faster metabolic rate. Examples of muscle-strengthening activities include lifting weights and high intensity bouts of exercise. Heavy gardening may also do the job.
Be active
Being constantly on the move and reducing time spent sitting down will help you burn more calories. Movement itself requires energy but it also stimulates hormones and protein breakdown, both of which increase your metabolic rate. The more you move, the more calories you burn.
Exercise vigorously
Short, sharp bursts of exercise, such as high intensity training (HIT), spinning on a bicycle or sprinting uphill, will elevate your metabolism. Vigorous intensity exercise gives the metabolism a jolt and helps maintain muscle size in a way that longer, moderate intensity exercise doesn't. If you're new to exercise or getting back into it, you're advised to get the all-clear from a health professional before engaging in vigorous exercise.
Eat protein
Food containing protein promotes muscle growth and requires more energy to digest than other food. Make sure you’re eating enough protein to achieve a balanced diet. Healthy sources of protein include lean meat, skinless white meat, poultry, fish, tofu, nuts, beans, eggs and lower-fat dairy products. Food high in protein also helps make you feel full for longer.
Turn down the heatingNew research suggests turning down the heating or wearing fewer clothes can help burn calories. Colder temperatures are thought to activate your body’s brown fat deposits to burn calories to keep you warm. It was previously thought only babies had brown fat but several recent studies have found brown fat in adults, prompting research into how brown fat can help weight management.

Can certain medical conditions cause a slow metabolism?

Some diseases and conditions can slow a person’s metabolism, such as Cushing’s syndrome and hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid), but these are rare, and more often than not, people’s weight is a matter of eating too many calories and a lack of muscle building exercise. However, if you feel that you may have a problem that’s not responding to lifestyle changes, seek medical advice.

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