you probably have heard about the word metabolism over and over. specially when it comes to weight management and weight loss. the reality is yes metabolism has a role in weight management, but it is far more important for our body than just weight management. so let’s look deeper into this process, metabolism, and see why it is so important.
What is metabolism?
According to Wikipedia, “Metabolism (from Greek: μεταβολή metabolē, “change”) is the set of life-sustaining chemical transformations within the cells of organisms. The three main purposes of metabolism are the conversion of food/fuel to energy to run cellular processes, the conversion of food/fuel to building blocks for proteins, lipids, nucleic acids, and some carbohydrates, and the elimination of nitrogenous wastes. These enzyme-catalyzed reactions allow organisms to grow and reproduce, maintain their structures, and respond to their environments. The word metabolism can also refer to the sum of all chemical reactions that occur in living organisms, including digestion and the transport of substances into and between different cells, in which case the set of reactions within the cells is called intermediary metabolism or intermediate metabolism.”
Metabolism can be broken down into two processes, Anabolism and Catabolism.
Anabolism: is the process of using energy to build base molecules into parts of the body.
Catabolism: is the process of breaking down molecules into their component parts and extracting energy
So in short, Metabolism is the process by which what we eat and drink gets broken down into smaller molecules which can be used either as energy, building and repairing tissues, or stored.
With out metabolism, there is no way for our bodies to obtain energy and function. The energy that comes from this process is being used for vital body functions such as heart rate, brain function, breathing, and many more.
Metabolism and restricted caloric diets:
Hopefully you already know that restricted caloric diets will actually slow down your metabolism and cause you to gain weight in a long run. Why does this happen? Here is the reason, our bodies like to regulate themselves, in order to keep us protected. when we dramatically decrease our caloric intake our bodies go into starvation mode, or what I like to call “panic mode”, meaning they think we are starving and the world as we know it is ending so they slow down the process at which they burn and use energy, hence slowing metabolism. Our bodies like to hold onto what they have.
Also, Very low-calorie diets miss key nutrients, which robs the body of raw materials like carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus or sulfur, which are supplied in carbohydrates, lipids, protein and water from our diets.
how to boost your metabolism? or can you?
Your metabolism is determined by several factors, including your genetic makeup, body composition (percent of muscle mass and fat), gender, hormonal health, level of activity and age. As you can see some of these factors are completely out of our control like our genetics and age, but there are some that luckily we can control, like our body composition and level of activity. So to answer the question, yes we can boost our metabolism, Hooray.
I think it is beneficial to know that studies have shown there are not much difference in the rate of calorie expenditure between individuals who identify themselves as having a fast metabolism compared to those who think they genetically have slower metabolism.
Luckily, there are some proven metabolism boosters that can kick-start the body into using calories more efficiently, protecting the body from disease and slowing down signs of aging. Here are some natural ways that can boost your metabolism:
- Eat enough nutritious foods for your body– it is very important to fuel your body with right kind of fuel such as unprocessed whole foods. To learn more about how to un-process your diet please visit a serious of blog posts that I wrote about clean eating (1,2,3).
- get enough sleep– click here to read about the health benefits of sleep
- Stay active- It is true that we start loosing muscle mass as we age, but we have control over that by staying active. A 2001 study published in the American Journal of Physiology showed that there wasn’t a significant difference in resting metabolic rate between groups of young and older physically active men who were matched for exercise volume and estimated energy intake.
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), has been shown to burn more fat compared to regular steady state cardio exercise. HIIT is a form of exercise that features intervals that vary between very intense effort and short periods of active rest. another benefit of these exercises is that they are much shorter than regular steady state cardio workouts and help the body to continue burning calories even after the workout is over, a concept known as after burn.
Another type of activity that will help you boost your metabolism is weight lifting. lifting weight increases your lean muscle mass, lean muscle mass burns more calorie compared to body fat.
4. Avoid inflammatory foods- To learn more about inflammation and how to avoid it, please click here.
Metabolism is one of the very important functions in our body that keeps us alive. There are many different factors that determine the rate of our metabolism, some of them are in our control and some are out of our control. But there are definitely ways to boost our metabolism, including staying active, eating enough nutritious foods (staying away from restricted caloric diets), resting, and avoiding inflammation.
what are some of your favorite ways to boost your metabolism? I love to hear from you.
Mean while as always,
Stay happy and healthy