By: Meaghan Points MS, RD/LD
I found this article from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and really enjoyed how it broke down some basic myths that several people believe about metabolism. Feeling like you have a poor metabolism is one of the many things that can discourage us from trying harder to lose weight or to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, genetics does play a role in your metabolism rate however there are still things that can be done to help improve it! Read this article and get motivated to live a healthier lifestyle. Remember that the key to weight loss will always be a well balanced diet and exercise.
Claim: Our metabolic rates can’t change.
The truth: While it’s true that genetics help determine our metabolic rates, we can boost metabolism by increasing lean muscle mass. Muscle burns more calories per hour than fat, which means that people with lean, muscular bodies need more calories to function than people with a higher percentage of body fat.
Our muscle mass decreases as we age, and this contributes to a slower metabolic rate. But you can counteract this process by picking up the weights to help lessen this decline.
Claim: A diet of green tea and chili peppers will boost metabolism.
The truth: No magic food will speed up metabolism. Some studies have shown that green tea and hot chilies temporarily boost metabolic rates, but the lift isn’t enough to offset eating too many calories.
The path to healthy weight loss is through portion control and a balanced diet filled with nutrient-rich foods, not through a diet doused in chili peppers.
Claim: Eating late at night slows metabolism.
The truth: It’s the extra calories — not when you eat them — that cause weight gain. There is little evidence to support the fact that eating after 8 p.m. causes weight gain. However, you may be more likely to snack mindlessly in the evenings while watching television. Calories in these snacks add up, and that can cause weight gain.
Claim: Very low calorie diets and skipping meals can jump start weight loss.
The truth: Weight loss is all about creating an energy deficit — ingesting fewer calories than your body expends each day — but creating too large of a calorie deficit can backfire. Our bodies are smart and programmed for survival. Severely limiting calories can make your body think it’s entering a famine, and that it needs to do more with fewer calories. Your body adapts to the restricted caloric intake, and uses fewer calories to perform the same tasks.