Why can one person eat like a growing teenager and not gain a pound, while another person’s every indulgence shows up on the scale? Chalk it up to individual differences in metabolism, muscle mass and physical activity. Metabolism is the process by which our bodies convert what we eat into the energy we need to survive and function. Tweet this It powers everything from breathing to blinking. A fast metabolism is like a hot furnace that burns through fuel (calories) quickly. A slow metabolism needs less fuel to keep a body running.
It’s tempting to throw up our hands and blame weight issues on a slow metabolism, but there are ways to support metabolism and maintain a healthy weight.
1. 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.
2. Eating small meals throughout the day will speed up your metabolism
This is false – let’s debunk why this isn’t true!
One of the biggest nutrition myths is that you will speed up your metabolism by eating every 2 to 3 hours. This is 100 percent false because it doesn’t matter how many meals you eat within a day. Whether you eat 3 meals a day or 6 meals a day, the speed of your metabolism will be the same. You are not going to lose more weight because you are eating more frequently.
When it comes to eating, you need to find a meal frequency regimen that works for your schedule. The advantage of eating every 2 to 3 hours is that it helps prevent you from overeating because you are not waiting too long before your next meal. Additionally, a small 2005 study suggests eating on a regular schedule can help even out insulin levels right after meals. However, it will not make you lose weight faster or increase the rate of your metabolism. This is one of the oldest diet myths in the fitness industry!
3. Claim: Very low calorie diets and skipping meals can jumpstart 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.
4. All calories are not created equal
This holds true!
Having an idea of how many calories you consume is crucial. It is important to keep in mind that your body processes different kinds of food differently! About 20-30 percent of all ‘protein’ calories you eat are burned throughout food digestion. About 6 percent of all ‘carbohydrate’ calories you take in are burned in the digestion procedure, and 3 percent of all ‘fat’ calories are burned in the food digestion process. Because protein is burned so rapidly, even without exercising, a majority of calories ought to come from protein when it pertains to weight reduction.
An ideal illustration is this: if you consumed 1000 calories of chicken and 1000 calories of ice-cream you would gain more weight with ice-cream. Only 3 percent of fat from the ice cream would burn in the digestion process, whereas 20-30 percent of the protein in chicken would burn in the digestion procedure. This process is called the Thermal Effect of Food (TEF).