There is probably one question I get more than any other…is there anything I can do to speed up my metabolism? Metabolism, or how our bodies convert the food we eat into energy, provides power for all our body’s functions. It also often gets the blame when weight loss is slower than expected. What are some of the myths that exist about metabolism, and can you do anything to speed it up?
Myth: Eating spicy foods or green tea speeds up your metabolism.
Truth: Although you might get a temporary boost from these foods, no food group causes significant changes in metabolism.
Myth: Eating after 7 pm slows down metabolism.
Truth: Weight gain associated with evening eating has little to do with metabolism and more to do with the food choices we make. It’s easy to mindlessly snack in front of the TV or to have an extra alcoholic beverage after dinner. Also, skipping meals earlier in the day can lead to overeating in the evening. Try to space out your calories during the day evenly, and you’ll be less hungry at night.
Myth: Skipping breakfast slows your metabolism.
Truth: Breakfast has the reputation of being the most important meal of the day, but research studies are mixed on whether eating breakfast has any appreciable effect on your metabolism. Skipping breakfast, however, can lead to overeating later in the day, which can cause weight gain. Also, research from the National Weight Control Registry, which tracks the habits of those who successfully lose weight AND keep it off, finds that the vast majority eat breakfast on a daily basis.
Myth: You can’t do anything to change your metabolism.
Truth: While genetics play a significant role in our metabolism, you’re not doomed. Lean muscle mass helps increase metabolic rate. Exercise, both cardio and resistance training, make your muscles more metabolically active, which helps you burn more calories even when you’re not at the gym. While it’s true that our lean muscle mass decreases as we get older, keeping active, particularly with resistance training can help slow that loss.