10 Metabolism Facts You Need To Know For Weight Management
The World Wide Web is an amazing resource. You can get virtually any information you want immediately, from a computer hard drive or server somewhere in the world. But exactly how do you separate truth from fiction? Regarding metabolism, which is how your body processes the food you eat in order to live, there seem to be a lot of sources of misinformation on the Internet.
From myths about exactly what metabolism is to how it can be increased, there are some partial truths and downright lies which are circulating that could put your fat burning, weight loss and healthy lifestyle efforts at risk. The following Top 10 Metabolism Facts have been taken from substantial research and studies conducted by respected health organizations and professionals, and can give you a better understanding of the true nature of this amazing process that goes on in all living beings.
1) Thyroid – One tiny gland controls your entire metabolism
The thyroid is shaped like a butterfly, and located towards the front of your neck. Near your Adam’s apple, this gland is responsible for your metabolic rate. That describes the rate at which your body converts food into energy. Your metabolism provides fuel for all of your various bodily functions. From how fast your heartbeats and how well it pumps blood throughout your body, to your circulation and breathing, your metabolism dictates how well all those processes operate.
When your metabolic rate increases, you create energy and burn calories faster. This can also lead to fat burning and weight loss, and this metabolic process is controlled entirely by your thyroid. When your thyroid is underactive, you can have a problem with weight gain.
2) Your resting metabolism is responsible for up to 70% of your natural energy burn
BMR (basal metabolic rate) describes how quickly your body uses energy while you are resting. This just does not mean while you are sleeping, it also means when you are in a non-active state, such as sitting. Basically, your body uses a certain amount of energy to regulate all the many physiological processes that allow you to live.
This leaves just 20% of your total energy expenditure through exercise. Thermogenesis created by the foods you eat makes up 10%. So if you speed up your BMR, you burn more calories and fat. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to increase your resting metabolic rate, including taking advantage of the next Top 10 Metabolism Fact.
3) Certain spicy foods can actually increase your metabolism
You know that certain spices and condiments are spicy and hot. They can cause you to sweat, and even get your sinuses clear and your eyes wide open. They also have reputations for burning calories, but this is often discussed as a metabolism myth. The truth is, the main molecule that is responsible for the burning sensation you get from some spicy chilies does increase thermogenesis (the way that increased heat generated in your body helps burn calories).
Capsaicin is a compound belonging to the capsaicinoids family. This wonderful antioxidant has been linked to pain relief, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal benefits, and fighting cancer. And that fired-up, warm sensation that it delivers through chilies and other foods creates heat that raises your BMR, burning calories and fat.
4) Genetics influence your metabolism, but they do not dictate it
Your genetic makeup, and that of your ancestors, will have an influence on a lot of your bodily functions. This includes your metabolism. But just because your parents, grandparents and great grandparents had slower metabolisms does not mean that you are predestined to a slower metabolic rate.
Thermogenic research has come forward in the last few years to reveal that your thoughts, environment and the food you eat are more important in dictating your metabolic rate than your genetic makeup. This means that your dietary and lifestyle choices are more responsible for you being over or underweight than your family tree.
5) Bigger people generally have higher metabolisms
One of the longer-lasting myths regarding the rate at which your body processes food for energy concerns your size. It has long been believed in physical fitness circles that smaller, slimmer people have much faster basal metabolic rates. After all, this would explain why they are so thin and trim, right?
Actually, this is false. Your body is an amazing machine. And it dictates how you produce and spend energy according to your needs. It gives people with larger bodies a faster metabolic rate, because more energy needs to be produced for that bigger body to function. Smaller people have less of an energy need, so the rate at which their body processes food into energy is naturally lower.
6) Low-calorie diets are not the best way to lose weight
If you consume fewer calories, you will lose weight. That belief seems to make sense at first glance. If your body needs 2,000 calories a day to operate, and you consistently, day after day, for an extended period of time give it only 1,200 to 1,500 calories, you should lose weight, right? Actually, this does not always occur. The human body is designed to survive under any condition. This includes in times of feast or famine.
So when you drastically lower the amount of calories you give your body to operate, your metabolism slows down automatically. This is because your brain actually receives a starvation signal. And when human beings were first evolving, they did not eat on a regular basis. When they did consume calories, their body hoarded these in fat stores so they could process them later for energy. Low-calorie diets can often trigger that starvation response in your body, and you actually gain fat and weight.
7) More muscles = a higher metabolic rate
When you build a strong, lean, muscular body, your BMR goes up. This happens a couple of ways. While you are performing exercise, either aerobic or anaerobic, you burn calories, which release the energy required for your workout. If you also happen to be working your muscles to a state of stress, they actually suffer miniature tears. This happens when you overexert yourself, to the point of muscle fatigue.
That leads to the second way that lean muscle mass raises your metabolism. For anywhere from a few hours to as much as 38 hours after your workout is over, your muscles repair, growing stronger than they were before. This process uses a lot of oxygen, increases your circulation and burns calories even while you are resting. To raise your metabolism and burn more calories and fat, start building a stronger body.
8) Men have naturally higher BMRs than women do
Often times women complain that their male coworkers, family members and friends can eat all day without putting on much weight. Actually, this is a natural occurrence. Women have a tendency to develop more fat tissues than men. This begins to evidence itself in the teen years.
Our ancient ancestors were hunter-gatherers, while the women were more inclined to keep the cave in order and look after the children. The actual processes of labor and childbirth also require lots of extra calories and fat. This means that women are designed with a slightly lower average metabolism than men. However, it does not mean that their metabolic rate cannot be increased through exercise and smart eating.
9) You can eat more often to increase your metabolism
This does not mean increasing the amount of calories you eat in a day. You simply want to spread your daily number of calories across 5 or 6 meals and snacks. This happens because your metabolism is raised when you eat. Your brain signals your body that you are receiving calories. This gets your BMR elevated slightly.
And if you eat at the same time each day for those 5 or 6 snacks and meals, something wonderful happens. When your next eating session rolls around, your brain remembers that this is one of those times of day which you will be ingesting calories. Your metabolism actually increases before you even start eating. So spread your caloric intake out over 5 or 6 eating sessions every day to boost your metabolism, burn fat and lose weight.
10) A good night’s rest can boost your metabolism
Have you ever noticed that you feel sluggish and tired after a poor night’s sleep? That is simply natural. Your body did not get the rest that it needed, so your metabolic rate lowers, and you have less energy. Several studies have shown that when you do not get the proper amount of sleep on a consistent basis, you move less the next day. This means you burn fewer calories, and your BMR drops.
Often times you will reach for a sugar filled coffee or snack to give you an energy boost. That poor night’s rest ends up with a double whammy – your sweet treat or energy drink causes you to gain weight, as does your lower metabolic rate. Make sure you get the proper amount of sleep every night to give your metabolism all the help it needs to operate properly.
Wrapping Things Up
Your metabolism can be thought of as your energy control center. It turns food into energy, and then sends that energy to all your organs and body parts. This drives every function in all living beings. And simply by moving and exercising, you can elevate your resting metabolic rate. Building muscle can also increase the rate at which your body burns calories, as well as sleeping restfully every night.
Eating 5 or 6 times a day rather than the performing the traditional breakfast – lunch – dinner routine will also get your metabolism pumping, as will eating some spicy foods. The bottom line is that weight and fat loss comes from a higher rate of metabolism, which is something you have personal control of.