Thursday, September 14, 2017

Metabolism Fact or Fiction.

Runner, Marathon, Military, AfghanistanI'm sure you've heard people complain about their slowing metabolism as they grow older or state something like "I can't eat anything or it shows up around my waist.  So that begs the question "What is metabolism?" and "What things do we know that are actually false"?

Metabolism is defined as the process our body uses to convert what we eat into the energy we use to live and function. It is responsible for everything from breathing to sitting and moving.  A slow metabolism needs less fuel to keep going while a fast metabolism burns through calories.  

We've all heard that we are stuck with what ever metabolism we were given.  While its true, our metabolism is determined by our genetic make up, we can do things to increase our metabolism.  One way is to increase lean muscle mass because muscle burns more calories per hour than fat.

Although our muscle mass decreases as we age we can still include weights twice a week in our exercise regime so we can keep our muscle mass up so our metabolism does not slow.

Another claim floating around the internet is that drinking green tea or eating chili peppers will cause our metabolism to speed up.  There are a few studies out which indicate they temporarily increase metabolism but not enough to counter eating more calories.  Its better to eat a good balanced diet with good portion control.

The third myth concerns eating late at night causes you to gain weight.  This isn't fully true.  Its eating extra calories, no matter when that cause people to gain weight.  Many times, people are more likely to much in the evening when they are watching television or doing something sedentary.

People believe that by cutting back on calories significantly, they will jump start weight loss but for most people, if the number of calories are cut too much, their bodies will begin to store energy in the form of fat because the body thinks it is starving.

Some people believe that both men and women have the same metabolism. This is not true due to the way each is built.  In general men have a higher metabolism because they generally have more leaner muscle mass than women and their organs are larger.  In addition, women have a layer of fat which does not go away.

Its been said if you skip a meal, particularly breakfast, you will kick your metabolism up so you burn more calories but its been shown by eating breakfast a person is less likely to binge eat later in the day.  As mentioned before it can actually cause your body to store fat in case of famine.

It appears the best way to keep your metabolism going, especially as you age, is to keep the amount of lean muscle mass your body has, exercise regularly, and eat a good balanced diet so you are not eating extra calories.

Let me know what you think.  I'd love to hear from people.

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