Understanding Your Metabolism: Myths and Facts
Losing weight and adopting a healthy lifestyle seems to be the mantra of our times. An individual’s metabolism has a key role to play in this. Unfortunately, there are a lot of myths surrounding this physiological chemical reaction in our bodies. Read on to get your metabolism facts right:
Myth: Metabolism is Genetic
Your basic metabolic rate (BMR) is unique. It could be very fast, very slow or anywhere in between. Even if your parents have a slow metabolic rate, you don’t necessarily have the same; and even if you do, you can increase it with lifestyle changes.
Myth: Eating Very Little Will Cause Me to Lose Weight
If you’ve drastically reduced your calorie consumption, you’ll lose weight in a few days, but your body will go into starvation mode soon, assuming that it’s not going to be fed regularly in optimum quantities. So when you do eat, no matter how little, your body stores all of those calories as fat for the long run.
Myth: Gaining Weight with Age is Inevitable
As we get older, we start gaining fat tissue and losing muscle which causes weight gain. But, gaining weight doesn’t have to accompany old age. With an active lifestyle, ample exercise and a balanced diet, you can ward off weight gain.
Fact: Men Have Faster Metabolism
Men have bigger muscles than women and muscular bodies burn more calories. In any case, men’s BMRs are only about 5-10% higher than that of women and there’s no reason why, with exercise and protein consumption, you cannot match a male metabolism.
Fact: Smoking Increases One’s Metabolism
When you smoke, your heart beats about 15 times more each minute compared to its normal rate, increasing your BMR. But smoking is a really bad way to boost your metabolism. It increases the BMR temporarily, but harms your heart in the process.
Fact: Dieting Can Slow Down Your Metabolism
When you starve yourself, your body shifts to famine mode where it conserves energy from everything you eat by reducing your BMR. The trick is to graze all day – eat six small meals a day to get your body into maintaining (or increasing) your BMR.
Fact: Low-carb Diet Will Sow Down Metabolism
We derive the majority of our energy from carbohydrates. So when you reduce carb intake, your body doesn’t have enough energy. The result – it will slow down your BMR because it wants to conserve calories.
Fact: Some People Can Eat a Lot Without Gaining Weight
This could be because they are born without the enzyme MGAT2 or because they might have a very high BMR that converts everything they eat into energy. These factors enable them to eat whatever they want without worrying about weight gain.
Fact: Spicy Food and Green Tea Boost Metabolism
Research has shown that some food and drinks can naturally boost your metabolism. Green tea, spicy food (with lots of hot peppers), yoghurt, spinach, curry, cinnamon, whole grains and grapefruit are good examples.
Fact: Eating Before Bedtime Causes Weight Gain
Your metabolism slows down at night and so it’s best to avoid eating right before bedtime. Ideally, you should stop eating at least 3-4 hours before you sleep to give your body a chance to burn off all those calories from dinner.