‘Metabolism’ is a bit of a buzz word, and there are many store-bought products that claim to be ‘miracle workers’ for the metabolism.
Ultimately, genetic factors including age, gender, size, and hormones are the major determinants of metabolic rate, and there is no quick fix solution for speeding it up or for losing weight at an abnormal rate.
However, these four lifestyle changes can genuinely help improve metabolic health and will encourage the body to burn through more energy each day without squeezing in ridiculous levels of cardio exercise.
Cutting calories from your diet is not a long-term solution for weight loss, according to studies that show a low-calorie diet slows down the metabolic rate.
In this study from the Pennington Biomedical Research Centre, a group of individuals who consumed only 890 calories every day for three months had their calorie burning rate drop an average of 633 calories per day.
Eating breakfast, eating regular, small meals, and eating enough calories to keep the metabolism running properly throughout the day are all important factors for metabolic health.
Strength training can be a better option than cardio as muscles continue to burn more calories into the hours after working out as the muscles repair themselves.
Muscle has also been shown to burn three times more calories than an equal amount of fat on the body, so regular resistance training and increasing your muscle mass is going to cause your body to burn through more calories when you are resting.
This study from the Medicine in Science Sports and Exercise Journal showed that after 12 weeks of doing resistance training twice per week, there was a significant increase in both CHO metabolism (the breaking down of energy in the form of carbohydrates) and lipid metabolism (the break down of fats).
Studies such as this one by Science Advances show that sleep deprivation has an adverse effect on individuals’ metabolic tissues.
Lack of sleep was shown to disturb the function of the body’s adipose tissues, which are the connective tissues responsible for the storage of fats.
So getting at least 7 hours of sleep each night will help allow the body to function at optimum energy consumption levels and allow your metabolism to do its job properly.
About 10% of metabolic rate is accounted for by the Thermic Effect of Food, which is the term for the amount of energy used in digestion of foods and storage of nutrients.
Proteins take the most amount of energy to break down and have a positive Thermic Effect on the metabolism, while foods high in processed sugars have a negative Thermic effect, resulting in a higher chance of obesity and diabetes, and a slower metabolic rate.
This study from the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that individuals who consumed higher levels of fructose over a 10-week period experienced a substantial decrease in their daily energy expenditure.
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