Metabolism is a term that describes all the chemical reactions that occur in the body. These chemical reactions keep the body alive and active. However, the term Metabolism is often used in reference to the Metabolism rate, or the number of calories burned by us. But is it true that we can activate metabolism?
The higher your metabolism, the more calories you will burn, making it easier to lose weight and maintain it. Having a high metabolism can also provide us with more energy and help us feel better overall.
1. Does exercise stimulate Metabolism?
It is true that when we exercise, we consume more calories, especially when we increase the intensity of our workouts. During exercise, calories are burned and the body continues to burn calories even after the workout, as long as it is not in a state of rest. If we think that we will continue to burn calories for hours after finishing, we can increase the likelihood of weight gain.
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) involves fast, intense activity and can help increase the metabolism and burn more fat even after we finish exercising. This effect is considered greater for HIIT compared to other types of exercise. Additionally, HIIT has been shown to aid in fat burning.
However, we should never use exercise as an excuse to eat low-quality or unhealthy food.
2. Is eating more food better for health?
There isn’t a lot of research to support the idea that eating smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day will speed up your metabolism.
Each person is unique and has different circumstances. Eating several small meals a day may not be convenient or satisfying for everyone, and some people may feel hungry or overly full throughout the day. In this sense, eating larger, less frequent meals may be more practical. When we feel hungry, we should listen to our bodies and eat something. It’s recommended to avoid overeating, as we may not be able to control our cravings when we’re extremely hungry.
In addition, the thermal effect of food is the energy that we expend to digest, utilize, and store nutrients from our food. However, our Metabolism rate is directly proportional to the quantity and type of food we eat. So, consuming six small meals during the day will lead to a six-fold increase in Metabolism, while consuming three large meals in a day can have an equivalent overall effect through a boost in proportion to three.
3. Does metabolism slow down with age?
Many people are concerned about reaching a certain age and seeing a lack of balance in their energy expenditure, resulting in weight gain. Logically, our metabolism slows down compared to when we were younger, but to a certain extent, this is due to the fact that we are less active.
Mainly, metabolism slows down when we grow up due to these reasons:
Muscle loss: As we age, we lose muscle mass, which results in us burning fewer calories at rest.
Less active: As we grow older, we may become less physically active than before. This can lead to weight gain and heart disease if we don’t exercise enough. These conditions also contribute to a slower metabolism.
Gender and genes: These factors also play a role in our metabolism rate. Men generally have faster metabolism due to having more muscle mass, heavier bones, and less body fat. Genes determine muscle size and the ability to develop muscles, which also affects metabolism. The less muscle mass we have, the slower our metabolism becomes.
How can we speed up our metabolism?
There are several techniques that can help activate metabolism. However, none of them are miraculous. It is important to keep in mind good habits in general.
Eat lots of protein:
Eating can increase metabolism for a few hours, a phenomenon called the thermic effect of food. This is because digesting, absorbing, and processing nutrients from food requires extra calories. Protein contributes the most to the thermic effect, increasing the metabolic rate by 15-30% for carbs and 5-10% for fat.
Eating protein can help us feel fuller and may also help us avoid overeating. Additionally, consuming more protein may help reduce the decline in metabolism often associated with weight loss, as it can reduce damage to muscle tissue, which is a common side effect of dieting.
Maintain muscle mass:
From the age of 30, our muscles start to decrease, to the extent that we can lose up to 5% per decade. Men tend to lose more than women, possibly due to hormonal factors. Most men will lose approximately 30% of their muscle mass in their lifetime.
This is problematic because your muscles are the ones that can burn up to three times more calories (even at rest). The benefits of strength training have been extensively researched over the years. Calorie burn is not that high: each pound of muscle burns six calories a day just to sustain itself, while each pound of fat burns only two calories. Nonetheless, this is not insignificant.
Muscles are more metabolically active than fat, and building muscles can help increase metabolism. This means that we will burn more calories every day, even at rest.
In addition, having muscles helps to maintain them during weight gain and counteract the decrease in metabolism that occurs during weight loss. People who engage in resistance training maintain their muscles, metabolism, and strength.
Please feed us properly:
Imagine that your body is like a “low battery” mode computer. When you don’t eat enough food to give your body the necessary energy, your metabolism works in the same way. Your body thinks that when you don’t give it food, it has to go into conservation mode and slows down the metabolism rate.
So, the first step to keeping your metabolism active is to eat the right kind of food and not make a significant cut in calories. A female athlete can burn between 2,000 and 2,400 calories per day, while males burn between 2,200 and 2,700. The following diets, designed for sedentary people, which usually recommend significant cuts in calories, can wreak havoc on an active person’s metabolism.
The best thing to do is to pay attention to the quality of your diet. Science has shown that eating a healthy diet rich in natural, unprocessed foods gives your body a boost of energy and keeps your metabolism active.
Enjoy spicy food:
Capsaicin is found in bell peppers, a substance that can stimulate metabolism. However, many people cannot tolerate these spices in the necessary amounts for significant effects. The effects of adding spices to food can be minimal. However, when combined with other strategies to boost metabolism, they can provide some benefits.
Drink cold water:
People who drink water instead of sugary drinks are more successful in losing weight and keeping it off. This is because sweet drinks contain calories, so replacing them with water reduces the overall calorie intake. However, drinking water can also temporarily boost your metabolism. If you drink cold water, this calorie-burning effect may be even greater, as the body uses energy to warm the water to body temperature. Water can also help us feel fuller, and studies suggest that drinking water half an hour before meals can help us eat less.
Drink green tea:
Drink green tea. It has been shown to increase metabolism by 4-5% for both green tea and oolong tea. These teas can help convert some stored fat in the body into free fatty acids, which can increase fat burning by 10-17%. Since these teas are low in calories, drinking them can be good for both weight loss and weight maintenance. It is believed that the metabolism-boosting properties of these teas can help prevent the plateauing of weight loss caused by a slow metabolism. However, some studies suggest that these teas do not have an impact on metabolism, so their effect may be small or only applicable to some people.
Maintain good habits in your lifestyle:
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, such as staying well-hydrated, getting enough sleep, and eating properly, can help keep your metabolism active. There are many studies that confirm that a lack of regular sleep can slow down metabolism by almost 3%.
It is also said that drinking cold water can temporarily boost your metabolism. You already know that drinking water is the healthiest way to keep your body functioning properly for all your activities. Some people believe that drinking green tea or spicy foods can speed up metabolism, but in reality, you need to consume a large amount to notice any benefits.
So, there is no magic formula to boost your metabolism. While some companies may guarantee it through their influencers or marketing campaigns, above you have only read about ways to keep your metabolism active.