From eating chilli to give your metabolism a boost, to wolfing down breakfast to wake it up in the morning, there are many different metabolism theories out there. We separate fact from fiction
Large Meals Slow It Down
Turns out, the old notion of eating a meal every three to four hours to ramp up your metabolism is not entirely true. Whether you eat three large meals or seven small meals, it won’t have any effect on your metabolism. But this idea became popular because, if your goal is to lose weight, having lots of smaller meals helps to curb cravings and keep you energised. That, in turn, allows for better portion and choice control, so you won’t grab a sugar-laden doughnut at 4 pm.
Caffeine Speeds It Up
Verdict: True, but water is better
When you drink something cold, your body uses energy to warm it up to body temperature. So when you drink cold water, you don’t only burn calories to some extent, but you are also not adding any extra sugar or additional calories to the mix, making the process run more efficiently. On the other hand, drinks with a thermic effect, such as coffee, require more energy to be digested, also making your metabolism work harder.
Exercise Speeds Up Your Metabolism
Any form of movement will increase lean muscle, such as weight training, which boosts your resting metabolic rate (not to be confused with the general term ‘metabolism’) by up to 15 calories a day. Exercise such as high-intensity cardio will also raise your heart rate, burn more calories and raise your metabolic rate by up to 30%. The more fat-free mass (such as lean muscles and bones) you have, the higher your RMR will be, according to James Hill, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado. The lean muscle you build up has the ability to burn calories, even when you aren’t moving, resulting in a raised RMR. But like with all good things, it has to come to an end. As good as working out is, rest is just as important, or you’ll build inflammatory stress and throw hormones off course, resulting in your metabolism not being able to work efficiently. Once again, balance is key.
For more weight-loss tips, page through the February issue of Fitlife.