Metabolism in the Body

Metabolism - a process in the body of a working together of a complex network of hormones and digestive enzymes that not only convert food into fuel but also affect how efficiently you burn that fuel. It establishes the rate at which we burn our calories and, ultimately, how quickly we gain weight or how easily we lose it.

Metabolic Rate

Not everyone burns calories at the same rate. Metabolism is influenced by:

Metabolism and Diets

That's one reason it's almost always easiest to lose weight at the start of a diet, and harder later on. When you are very overweight your metabolism is already running so high that any small cut in calories will result in an immediate loss. Then, when you lose significant amounts of body fat and muscle, your body needs fewer calories to sustain itself.

Increasing Your Metabolism

Among the best ways is exercise. This includes aerobic workouts to burn more calories in the short term, and weight training to build the muscles that will boost your metabolism in the long run.

Generally, the more muscles you have, the higher your resting metabolic rate, and the more calories your body will be burning. Every pound of muscle burns 35 calories a day, while each pound of fat burns just 2 calories per day. While 30 minutes of aerobic exercise may burn more calories than 30 minutes of weight training, the weight training has a longer-lasting effect on boosting metabolism.

Eating Frequency to Increase Metabolism

Small, but frequent, meals help keep your metabolism in high gear, and that means you'll burn more calories overall. When you put too many hours between meals, your metabolism actually slows down to compensate. If you then eat a huge meal, at the same time your metabolism is functioning as if you're starving, your body wants to hold on to every calorie.

Fat-Burning Foods

Any food will increase your metabolism, mostly in the first hour after you eat. Protein generally requires about 25% more energy to digest. A high-protein snack might rev metabolism a little more than a carb-heavy food with the same number of calories. Other than that, it's not clear that any food has special powers to boost metabolism significantly. Red Pepper or green tea have been rumored to speed up metabolism, but the studies have thus far been inconclusive.

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