There is a lot of talk about metabolism and its impact on weight loss. Even though metabolism is such an essential part of your body, there is a lot of confusion about the topic. For example, many people believe that your metabolism is entirely dependent on your genes, and there is absolutely nothing you can do to alter it. On the other hand, some say that you can alter or improve your metabolism and lose weight quickly by adopting lifestyle changes.
Metabolism is an umbrella term that describes all the chemical reactions inside a living organism that helps it stay in living condition. You can define it as how your body converts food into energy. It is a complex process in which calories are combined with oxygen to release the energy required by the body. As per research, metabolism differs from person to person and depends on a variety of factors like:
- Genetics: Your genetics largely determine your metabolism.
- Age: Younger people have better metabolism as compared to older ones. Average BMR decreases by 2 per cent every decade after 20 years of age.
- Sex: On average, men have better metabolism than women.
- Body build-up: Your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) tends to increase with height and weight. You will also have a higher BMR if you have more muscle and less fat.
- Level of physical activity: The more you engage in physical activity, the better your metabolism.
Metabolism can get divided into two categories:
- Catabolism: The breakdown of food molecules used to obtain energy.
- Anabolism: Synthesis of the compounds that the cells need.
Metabolism is generally measured in terms of Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). It refers to the minimum number of calories your body needs to perform essential functions while resting.
The Significance of Metabolic Health
A good metabolism is essential for the body to sustain basic life processes. These include breathing, digestion, blood circulation, cell repair, and body temperature regulation. A good metabolism is also essential for quicker weight loss.
The effect of metabolism on weight loss gets explained in detail in the next section.
As mentioned above, metabolism is how your body converts food into energy required for various purposes. The body needs energy for purposes that are both: visible on the outside (like walking, talking, running and so on) and processes that happen within the body and are not visible (blood circulation, digestion, cell repair and so on).
Researchers believe your BMR accounts for approximately 70% of your energy use. These include sustaining essential processes like breathing, digestion, pumping of the heart and so on. These are crucial processes, and the energy expended (calories used) in these processes is more or less constant. As a result, there is little you can do to alter your BMR.
However, you can increase your physical activity, which will trigger the breakdown of more calories and improve metabolism. Also, this, coupled with proper and regular exercise, can improve metabolism even further.
Food and lifestyle choices are essential in keeping your metabolism in check. A sensor is attached to your arm that measures the blood glucose levels 24 hours a day through HealthifyPRO 2.0 BIOS. Foods and activities one does affect one person differently from the other. Fingerstick checks measure blood glucose levels once at a particular time. A CGM-enabled BIOS device shows the relationship between food, activity levels, blood glucose levels, and insulin response. Therefore, not only one with diabetes but anyone at risk of any metabolic disorder could subscribe to HealthifyPRO 2.0 to assess their bodies better. Even the first symptom, usually being overweight, shows that one’s metabolism is not at its optimum level. Therefore, taking charge of your health is vital. Also, understanding the simple relationship between metabolism and health and how managing food, sleep, and stress levels can improve metabolism and overall health.
Easy Ways to Improve Metabolism
A good metabolism is extremely important for your overall health. So, it would help if you tried to improve your metabolism. Following are a few easy ways to rev up your metabolism and reap the health benefits that come with it.
Increase Your Protein Intake
During meals, the metabolism rate increases. Nevertheless, this is because of your body’s additional calories to break down the food. There is a certain number of calories burnt for every kind of nutrient, but it is the most for proteins. Research suggests that it is 3-4 times more than carbs and 6-10 times more than fats. Protein is even more critical if you are on your weight loss journey as it helps prevent a drop in the metabolism due to weight loss.
When you have your meals, the metabolism in your body increases temporarily. However, after that, it slows down and returns to normal levels. Given the effect of meals on metabolism, it makes sense to have a small light snack every 3 to 4 hours to increase metabolism. However, you should carefully choose your snack as the choice will also impact the calories you put in.
You should also avoid eating too little. It may be tempting to cut down your calorie intake to reduce weight quickly and significantly. However, eating too few calories can be a problem for your metabolism. Also, over time it will lead to muscle loss, eventually defeating the purpose of quickening metabolism.
Add Some Spice to Your Diet
This idea contrasts with the prevalent idea of taking more bland food. Though bland food has its benefits, eating spicy food occasionally works nicely to improve your metabolism. A compound known as capsaicin helps improve metabolism. You can add peppers or powdered red chilli to add the necessary spice to your food.
Build Muscle Mass
As per research, massive weight loss may decrease your metabolism. However, research has suggested that metabolism improves when weight loss occurs with muscle building. Also, muscle has a higher metabolic rate as compared to fat. Also, your body needs more energy to preserve muscle mass. Every pound of your body’s muscle needs about six calories every day instead of a pound of fat that requires just two calories per day. There are various ways in which you can build muscle. Strength training, body weight workouts, and HIIT are practical ways to make your muscles.
Increase Caffeine Intake
Studies have shown that caffeine intake can temporarily boost metabolism in your body. Also, research suggests that the effect is higher for people with a sedentary lifestyle. You can increase your caffeine intake by having coffee. Another option is energy drinks that are full of caffeine. However, it would help if you take caffeine in moderation as an excess of it can also have unintended side effects. Along with moderation, sugar or artificial sweeteners free caffeine drinks before workouts may help better.
Drink Enough Water
Keeping your body hydrated can significantly improve your metabolism. Some research substantiates this claim. Also, this is because your body needs water in sufficient quantities so it can adequately process calories. Some estimates suggest that drinking an adequate amount of water can help you increase daily calorie loss by as much as 50 calories. You can increase your water intake by simply drinking more water or increasing the intake of fruits and vegetables that are high in water content.
Drink More Green Tea
You can also add green tea to your routine. Research shows that green tea is key to improving metabolism and losing weight. Green tea is high in compounds known as Catechins. These increase the number of calories burnt as your body digests green tea. You can safely have 1-2 cups of green tea every day. However, research claims that green tea’s effects on metabolism are not universal, and different persons may respond differently. You should try it for yourself and see if green tea benefits you.
Manage Your Stress Levels
In today’s fast-moving world, stress is considered normal and commonplace. However, it takes a toll on your health and metabolism indirectly. Increased stress produces abnormal amounts of cortisol in the body, leading to irregular eating patterns. These random eating patterns affect your metabolism negatively.
Get Good Sleep
Lack of quality sleep is directly associated with poor metabolism. There is substantial research that has shown this. It decreases the number of calories you burn and disrupts the secretion of various hormones. For example, sleep deprivation negatively affects ghrelin levels (the hunger hormone). Also, this causes eating disorders and impacts metabolism negatively. Though the amount of sleep varies from person to person, several studies have suggested that average adults need at least 7 hours of quality sleep per night.
A single strategy from the above may have limited benefits. However, combining the abovementioned strategies applied consistently over a long period can get extraordinary results and significantly boost your metabolism.
A few of the most common metabolic disorders are below:
Diabetes is perhaps the most common type of metabolic disorder. As per a study by WHO, more than 422 million have diabetes worldwide. Both types of diabetes (Type 1 and type 2) can be genetic or acquired. The T cells attack the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Over time, this can lead to excess sugar in the body, potentially damaging other organs.
In Gaucher’s disease, fat accumulates in specific body organs: primarily in the spleen and the liver. The fat can also get into the bone and weaken them. Common symptoms include abdominal pain, skeletal abnormalities and blood disorders. In rare cases, it may reach the skull and affect the brain and eyes.
It is an inherited metabolic disorder that causes amino acids (also known as phenylalanine) to build up in the body. It is due to a genetic disorder in the PAH gene. This disorder is mainly untreatable though one can manage it well. People suffering from this disorder have to avoid amino acids in their diet.
Maple Syrup Urine Disease (MSUD)
It is another inherited disease in which the patient cannot process amino acids of certain types. Also, this leads to a harmful build-up in the patient’s blood and urine. It is treatable only if found at a young age. In most cases, if not treated within a few months of birth, MSUD can lead to death.
Glucose Galactose Malabsorption
It is a condition in which the body is unable to absorb sugars. As a result, the glucose is transported to the stomach and causes diarrhoea, weight loss and dehydration. Some symptoms may be even more severe. These include the development of kidney stones due to calcium deposits.
The HealthifyMe Note
A metabolic disorder occurs when your body has too much or too little of a substance. There can be various reasons that can cause a metabolic disorder. These involve genetics, lack or excess of certain hormones or malfunctioning an organ (like kidney or pancreas).
Metabolism is a process that is essential to convert your food into energy. A good metabolism is vital for your overall health and well-being. Also, it is crucial for sustaining basic life processes. In addition, it is essential for effective and quick weight loss as well. The better your metabolism, the more calories you will burn at rest. Though there is little you can do to alter your BMR, there are undoubtedly easy steps that you can take to improve your overall metabolism.
The most obvious measure is to increase your physical activity. Of course, you must sleep well also. Minor modifications in your diet (eating more protein, eating spicy and adding green tea to your diet) can also yield significant results in the long term. Drinking sufficient water is another meaningful and simple way to improve metabolism. There are several metabolic disorders that you may get if you do not take care of your metabolism.