Most of us understand metabolism as a biochemical process that relates to the way our cells change the food we eat into energy. We use this energy to keep ourselves alive. It helps us breathe, move, think, and so much more.
You’d think we be grateful for our metabolism, but no. Most of us instead tend to blame it, for example, as a reason why we can’t lose weight. Our poor metabolism!
The truth is that our metabolism is rarely the culprit for why we can’t lose weight. Instead, it’s our behaviors that affect the way our metabolism works.
Want to learn more about metabolism and how the biochemical process works? Read on to get schooled.
Metabolism and Diet
You may believe that consuming certain foods or eating at a certain time of the day can affect your metabolism process. However, the speed of your metabolism stays roughly the same no matter what you eat. That’s whether you’re scoffing an indulgent chocolate pudding or nibbling on a crisp leafy salad.
There are a few exceptions to this rule, however, they aren’t positive weight-loss strategies. For example, it comes as no surprise that caffeine slightly increases the rate in which you burn calories in the short term. But as your body can become accustomed to caffeine over time, if you become a daily coffee or tea drinker the effects won’t last.
Products that promote themselves as metabolism boosters should be consumed with caution. Usually, they remain ineffective. Plus, they may possess some dangerous side effects.
Instead of worrying about how fast your metabolic rate is, instead focus on the way you metabolize food. That means following a healthy and varied diet.
Try to avoid fried foods such as potato chips and refined sugars found packed in soft drinks, candy, and many baked goods. These energy sources are most likely to end up stored as fat.
Instead opt for healthy foods such as whole grains, lean proteins, vegetables, and fruit which your body can use to fuel functions and activity.
Metabolism and Exercise
While you can’t do much to affect your resting metabolism, building muscle through exercise can help.
Even while you’re resting, muscle tissue uses more energy than fat tissue does. As women tend to have less muscle tissue than men, this is one reason why women burn fewer calories.
It’s also why older people tend to burn fewer calories than those younger. While the loss of muscle mass is a common part of the aging process, continuing to work those muscles can help combat it.
It’s important to note though that while building strength is a great way to boost resting metabolism, aerobic exercise is the key to slashing calories.
Not big on exercise? Even walking 25 or 30 minutes a day, five times a week can help keep you fit. And more intense activity such as running, swimming, or cycling burns even more calories.
Exercise has also been linked to increased amounts of brown fat. While it doesn’t sound positive, having more brown fat is a good thing! Our bodies contain a few ounces of brown fat which is often around our neck or shoulders and uses energy to keep us warm and toasty.
Metabolism and Weight
There are two main parts to the biochemical process. Anabolism helps your body grow new cells, store energy, and preserve body tissues.
Catabolism, on the other hand, breaks down fat and carbohydrate molecules to distribute energy that fuels anabolism. It also keeps you warm and allows your muscles to contract.
One of the hormones that help promote this cycle is insulin, which works by promoting anabolism after you eat.
Your current weight can affect this cycle. If you’re very overweight, for example, there’s a large risk that your body will stop responding to insulin. That means sugar stays in the bloodstream instead of being stored as energy. This is a condition we call Type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes can be harmful to your organs and can put you at further risk for health problems including heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. The good news, however, is that Type 2 diabetes doesn’t have to be permanent. Through exercise, a healthier diet, and even bariatric surgery, the effects of Type 2 diabetes can be reversed.
However, even if you lose a significant amount of weight your metabolic rate can still be affected by your previous weight. That’s one reason why maintaining a new figure is more difficult than losing weight in the first place.
While it’s still not understood what causes this, it may be related to hormonal changes following weight loss that slows your metabolism and makes you feel hungry more often.
To help with this problem, sometimes doctors prescribe mediations that suppress appetite. This helps people maintain healthy weight loss when teamed with an exercise routine and a healthy diet.
Understanding Your Biochemical Process
Remember the key to managing your biochemical process is not to worry about how fast it is, but instead how you metabolize food.
And if you happen to experience weight changes that you can’t explain, be sure to discuss it with your doctor. For all you know, it may be a link to an underlying medical condition.
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