Metabolism always comes up when talking about weight loss. It is not surprising as weight loss is all about burning calories and metabolism is the process that makes it possible.
Metabolism and its role in weight loss are under debate. The Internet is flooded with pills, miracle teas, and powders claiming to speed up your metabolism and help you lose weight quickly and effortlessly. Whether they work or not is an entirely different topic of debate.
In this blog, we will see what is metabolism and the role it plays in weight loss.
What is metabolism?
Metabolism is a set of biochemical reactions that convert the food we eat into energy as well as utilizes the energy produced to synthesize compounds needed by the cells to function efficiently.
Food is our fuel and metabolism is the engine, just like in a car, that burns the fuel to keep it running. Unlike an engine, we can’t switch on or off metabolism at our will. It is an ever-running process taking place in every cell of the body, whether we are active or at rest.
Metabolism is responsible for pretty much everything we do from getting dressed in the morning to lifting a spoon to eat. It keeps us breathing and makes our wounds heal.
What is metabolic rate?
The metabolic rate is the rate at which the body utilizes the energy being produced. Higher the metabolic rate more calories you burn. Now, calories and energy are one and the same. (A calorie is the unit of energy measurement.)
Our body uses energy in three different ways-
- To maintain basic metabolic functions of the body like breathing, circulation, temperature regulation, etc., known as the Basic Metabolic Rate (BMR).
- To Digestion the food we eat.
- To fuel the physical activities like running, different types of exercises, sports, etc.
What determines your metabolic rate?
The metabolic rate differs from person to person and is dependent on several factors-
- Genetic: We all have that friend who, regardless of what he/she eats, never gains weight. Some people, on the other hand, tend to put on weight despite being careful. Well, that’s genetics at work and some people are just lucky.
- Body size and composition: Bulky people have a higher metabolic rate. It is the percentage of muscle mass as opposed to the fat stores that affect the metabolic rate.
- Gender: Men tend to have a higher metabolic rate compared to women. This may be because men have higher muscle mass than women.
- Age: Metabolic rate decrease by 10 % every decade as we age. Infants and kids have a higher metabolism compared to adults. This one reason why weight loss becomes difficult in the elderly.
Metabolism also increases in the case of pregnancy, lactation, and illness.
Metabolism and weight loss
Does metabolism affect weight loss?
Yes, it does. Metabolism controls how energy is used in the body which has a direct effect on your weight.
Regardless of whether you have a slow metabolism or fast, the body is programmed to store the unused energy as fat. The increase in fat stores and surplus energy lowers the metabolic rate and promotes weight gain.
Similarly, in the case of starvation or lack of food, the body cuts down the energy expenditure and starts saving instead. This again lowers the metabolic rate, adding to the weight.
How to boost your metabolism?
The basic metabolic rate (BMR) is the minimum energy we require to live and fairly remains constant. But the energy we spend on physical activity and digestion can be increased to our advantage.
The following few changes can help you rev up your engines to burn more calories and accelerate weight loss.
Balance your plate:
A well- balanced diet ensures that you get all the essential nutrients- carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals. Our body has a unique set of reactions to metabolize each nutrient. We need all the nutrients to function efficiently.
Deficiencies of one or more nutrients can bring the process of metabolism to a halt, reducing the total energy expenditure and making weight loss difficult.
Push Up On Proteins:
Food high in protein increases metabolism in three ways. Firstly, Proteins require a great amount of energy for digestion. Secondly, proteins help increase muscle mass and lastly, they promote satiety which helps to reduce the calories consumed.
There are a lot of opinions when it comes to carbohydrates and fats, but everyone agrees proteins are important. Proteins are your go-to food when it comes to weight loss
Fill up with fiber:
In the current scenario, fiber is fabulous. The role of fiber in heart health and diabetes is undisputed. When it comes to weight loss, fiber is your knight in shining armor.
Fiber helps in weight loss by increasing the metabolic rate and promoting satiety. Foods high in fiber require more energy for digestion and at the same time keep you full, reducing the caloric intake. A perfect recipe for a healthy weight loss.
Shush out the sugar:
Sugar and other refined carbohydrates add up the calories without useful nutrients or nourishment to the body. As we pointed out before, the energy that is not used is converted to fat leading to weight gain.
Therefore, Sugar is a big ‘No’ for weight loss diet and a healthy metabolism.
Exert with exercise:
After eating healthy food, physical activity is what keeps the metabolism running and fat burning. Exercising regularly increases overall energy expenditure in the body.
Other than this, you can include some moving around in your routine. Ditch your vehicle and go walking where possible. Take the stairs while climbing instead of a lift. As a rule, try fitting in 30 minutes for five days a week to support healthy weight loss.
Don’t fall for the fads:
We all want quick and fast weight loss solutions. After all, Slow is boring. That is why people go for fad diets for weight loss.
Now, what is a fad diet?
A fad diet is a diet that is popular for a time, similar to fads in fashion, without being a standard dietary recommendation, and often promising unreasonably fast weight loss or nonsensical health improvements.
This definition says it all. Fad diets are dangerous and restrict food groups with potential health benefits and necessary nutrients. No matter how popular they are or how many people claim they go results, the fact is fad diets do not work. Instead, they lead to several nutritional deficiencies and harm your metabolism.
Metabolism is not an organ or a muscle that can be flexed or manipulated. We need more research to fully understand metabolism and its role in weight loss.
Several products in the market claim to boost metabolism and promote quick weight loss. But let’s face the truth; there are no short cuts to weight loss; No magic pill or formula that will simplify it for you.
Losing weight and staying healthy requires you to eat good food and be physically active, everything else will eventually fall into place.