Definition of Metabolism
Metabolism, according to experts, are those complex enzymes and hormones working in harmony in the body to burn foods that we eat efficiently into fuel. The rate, at which our calories are burned to significantly raise or lower our weight is the process of what we term “Metabolism”.
The Metabolic rate differs from one individual to another. There are several factors, which can affect metabolism. One is age, as studies reveal that the metabolic rate slows down by about 5% every 10 years after one crosses the age of 40. Another factor is the sex of a person, as it has been proved that women burn fewer calories than men do when the body is resting. The proportion of body mass and muscle also influences the metabolism.
Heredity has an important role to play in deciding the metabolism. Some bodies burn calories faster than others do. In rare thyroid gland deficiency problems, the metabolic rate slows down. People, who are overweight, surprisingly have a higher metabolic rate. The body needs fewer calories, when a person begins to shed noticeable amount of muscle and body fat. This probably explains why people end up regaining lost pounds very quickly.
Take the scenario of two people with the same weight of 250 pounds each. The first person lost nearly 100 lbs. to reach this weight, while the other has always maintained this steady weight. It has been proved that the person, who lost weight drastically, has a slower metabolic rate than the other person does. Therefore, this person needs to reduce his calorie intake to maintain his weight.
It is possible to make the best of one’s metabolism, even though they are born with a certain metabolic rate when one is on a diet plan. One of the best ways is to perform aerobic exercises or carry out weight training to build up muscles and raise the metabolic rate long term.
According to Kelli Calabrese MS, CSCS, ACE who is a personal fitness trainer, we burn about 35 calories daily with every pound of muscle that we develop whereas only 2 calories are burned with a pound of fat. Therefore, even though we burn more calories when performing aerobic exercises, when we weight train the metabolic rate has long lasting effects, even when one has stopped carrying weights. You therefore put on weight less easily, eat more and gain extra muscle due to this.
Eating More Helps to Burn Better
We need to eat smaller meals more often to lose weight. It is beneficial to eat regularly small meals to kick the metabolism to work in high gear and burn more calories at the same time.
Keeping one’s stomach empty for long hours in between meals only ends up in slowing the metabolism, which compensates for this. Eating heartily when the metabolic rate is low confuses the body, so that it hangs on to the existing calories. When this continues over a period, it becomes harder for the body to try to lose or gain some pounds.
Research conducted at the Georgia State University proved that athletes, who snack three times a day on about 250 calories per snack, felt more energy levels than those who refrained from snacking. Studies also indicate that those who snacked more often ate less during their normal meals. They developed higher metabolism, consumed lesser calories and successfully reduced body fat.
How do we know that certain foods aid in increasing the metabolic rate? We hear varying theories from supermodels, who swear by foods mixed with red peppers or movie stars who rave about green tea.
The fact is that the body automatically revs up the metabolic rate in the first hour after food is consumed. It is also true that spicy foods, such as hot peppers can increase the metabolic rate by nearly 20% in the first half hour. However, it is uncertain if this burning is prolonged after the initial 30 minutes.
According to the British Journal of Nutrition, a study was done on a few Japanese women and it was found that red pepper increased the metabolic rate and caused the body to heat up after consuming food. The best results were noted when the spicy red pepper was consumed with foods high in fat and subsequently high in calories.
According to a study published in a journal “Medicine& Science in Sport & Exercise”, it was revealed that men, who combined red pepper with meals that were high in carbohydrates, found that their metabolism was boosted for about 30 minutes after the meal, regardless of whether they were resting or active. There was no conclusive proof of whether the burn lasted longer than the said 30 minutes. The same results were found when research was conducted on men who drank green tea. Green tea contains EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) – a substance, which is a powerful antioxidant that contains similar properties like hot pepper.
Studies were conducted on 10 men and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Research indicated that men, who consumed both 50 milligrams of EGCG and 90 milligrams of caffeine along with their meals recorded nearly 4% higher energy boost for 24 hours. (This applied to those who drank both tea as well as caffeine). There was no conclusive proof, however, to indicate that this would help to shed weight.