A person’s metabolism is a very complex system. It has everything to do with how efficiently and quickly a body burns calories and how much food a person can eat daily without gaining weight. Experts are still learning more about the factors that help metabolism do its job. What they know for sure is that becoming a healthier and stronger person can fire it up — resulting in better health, an improved mood, and losing weight. Losing weight also happens from going on a diet that works well, and many people have found success on the keto diet. This high fat, low carb diet fires up metabolism and can help people shed weight. Learn more by checking out the Body Reboot book. Below are five things to learn about metabolism, and how to harness it.
A lack of protein slows metabolism
Did you know that not eating enough protein can slow down your metabolism? Health discusses why this is the case and why experts argue that by adding more protein to your diet, you can improve your metabolism and hopefully lose more weight. On the keto diet, you eat food that’s high in fat, and many of these foods are also high in protein.
If you’re not already on the protein bandwagon, get on board. Although the USDA suggests consuming 5 ounces of a protein source per day as part of a 1,600-calorie diet, many experts say that recommendation is conservative or even on the low side, particularly for healthy adults over 50. Your body needs amino acids—the building blocks of protein—to stay functional. “If you don’t eat a diet rich enough in them, your body’s forced to tap your muscles, which have a great reservoir,” says Wayne W. Campbell, PhD, professor of nutrition science at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. When you lose valuable muscle, your resting metabolism pays the price.
TRY THIS TRICK: Make sure you’re putting protein in every meal and snack—starting the day with 15 grams (about two eggs) is a great idea. And don’t overlook whey, one of two proteins found in milk. It’s rich in the amino acids muscles thirst for and can aid recovery after workouts.
Everyday Health supports Health’s thoughts on why protein can speed up your metabolism. Even though they argue that lean proteins are the way to go, we would say that fatty meats can help speed up your metabolism even more because your body burns fat faster than it does glucose.
While there are few superfoods proven to rev your metabolism, protein is one nutrient that actually may increase the amount of calories you burn. A study published in January 2012 in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that people who were fed more calories than they needed tended to have higher RMRs when they followed a normal- or high-protein diet compared with those who followed a low-protein regimen. For the best effects, Cederquist says, choose lean proteins, like chicken and fish, over fattier cuts, and consume smaller amounts throughout the day.
Here’s a summary of The Journal of American Medical Association study that Everyday Health mentioned above.
The role of diet composition in response to overeating and energy dissipation in humans is unclear.
To evaluate the effects of overconsumption of low, normal, and high protein diets on weight gain, energy expenditure, and body composition.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS:
A single-blind, randomized controlled trial of 25 US healthy, weight-stable male and female volunteers, aged 18 to 35 years with a body mass index between 19 and 30. The first participant was admitted to the inpatient metabolic unit in June 2005 and the last in October 2007.
Among persons living in a controlled setting, calories alone account for the increase in fat; protein affected energy expenditure and storage of lean body mass, but not body fat storage.
Metabolism works better with sleep
It makes sense that your body functions better with rest, but did you also know that your metabolism works better if you get enough sleep as well? Health gives us the scoop as to why that’s the case and why your body has a lot more success breaking down foods when you get more rest as opposed to being sleep deprived.
A single night of sleep deprivation can alter your metabolism and trigger weight gain, according to recent research from Uppsala University in Sweden. Lack of sleep tends to slow people’s metabolism, in part because that’s when your body repairs itself, which burns calories, says de Mille.
TRY THIS TRICK: Debating between an extra hour of sleep or working out? Do both! If you sleep in and then squeeze in 10 minute bouts of strength training throughout your day, you’ll give your metabolism an optimal shot at burning calories.
People who don’t sleep enough can have serious health issues and International journal of endocrinology vol. 2010 discusses how a lack of sleep affects our metabolism below:
Sleep disorders and diabetes are rapidly growing problems with grave public health implications. There is growing interest and evidence that sleep loss and sleep disorders have a significant impact on metabolism. Laboratory studies have clearly shown that sleep deprivation can alter the glucose metabolism and hormones involved in regulating metabolism, that is, decreased leptin levels and increased ghrelin levels. A majority of large epidemiological studies have suggested that chronic partial sleep deprivation is associated with an increased risk of obesity and diabetes. However, there are several areas where the data conflicts. The role of gender is not entirely clear. Ayas et al. and Mallon et al. have shown that while sleep duration does predict diabetes in women, the significance is lost once corrected for risk factors like BMI. The relationship of sleep duration to metabolic dysregulation is also found to be U-shaped in many studies (nurse health study, sleep heart health study, and Massachusetts male health study) suggesting that not only short duration but also longer duration may have the potential to disturb the metabolic equilibrium of the body. Paradoxically a similar U-shaped relation is also noted in several studies looking at the relationship between sleep and weight, with both short and long sleep leading to weight gain. Most epidemiological studies have relied on subjective self-reported measures of sleep duration.
Further studies are needed to clearly elucidate the role of gender, sleep duration, and metabolism with more objective measurements of sleep. Also needing to be clarified is the difference between sleep deprivations due to voluntary sleep loss versus Insomnia. A model of nonobese patients with OSA may help decouple the impact of adiposity on diabetes. Differences exist between human and animal response to sleep deprivation on weight. Mechanism explaining the complex interaction between sleep and metabolism need to be further explored if we hope to derive more clinical mileage with sleep becoming an important tool to fight the obesity pandemic.
Intermittent fasting may help increase your metabolism
Intermittent fasting is an excellent thing to try while on a low carb diet, and according to Abby Langer Nutrition it also helps speed up your metabolism. Luckily intermittent fasting becomes easier for people on the keto diet because a diet that’s high in fat make many feel less hungry. If you’re able to fast it can help you lose more weight and increase your metabolism!
A recent review of studies (some of them rodent ones, however), showed promising metabolic effects of IF, although ‘speeding up metabolism’ wasn’t one of them. ‘Metabolic’ effects in this case have to do with hormones associated with hunger and fullness.
This 2018 study suggests that intermittent fasting appears to be preventative in terms of keeping metabolism from slowing, but I think we need more research to really determine this. What I can say is that it appears that intermittent fasting doesn’t offer any advantages over regular calorie-cutting in terms of weight lost. Hm. Overall, intermittent fasting appears to be one more tool in the toolbox for people who would like to lose weight, but it’s not for everyone. I’d personally rather you concentrate on the quality of your food than the number of calories you’re eating or not eating.
Carbs are metabolism busters
This shouldn’t come as a surprise after everything we’ve discussed, but to reiterate, Everyday Health puts it plainly by telling us that carbs are no good for your metabolism. When you’re on a low carb diet, you’ll be cutting back on a lot of carbs, especially the bad ones. That makes sense because if you cut back on glucose, your body will have an easier time burning fat and helping you pave the way to a healthier lifestyle.
Most everyone knows to stay away from doughnuts and sodas when trying to lose weight, but other simple carbohydrates, like white bread and crackers, can also slow weight loss, Cederquist says. When you eat them, your insulin levels rise. The insulin then encourages the body to store the sugar for later use, as fat.
Eat This, Not That reiterates that eating simple carbs is challenging for a body to break down and if it’s hard for your body then it makes sense that it would also affect your metabolism!
It’s no secret that pasta, bread, and pizzas shouldn’t be on your list of go-tos when you’re trying to keep that belly flat. But when you do want to treat yourself, do it the right way. Large quantities of gluten, starch, and phytic acid may hurt your metabolism. In fact, when comparing the human body’s ability to digest grains, researchers agreed that choosing refined grains was a lot more damaging to our insides. The more simple a carb is (think: white bread, white pasta, and white rice) the easier it is for your body to break it down. This means your metabolism doesn’t have to work as hard to break these foods down. When you eat more refined grains, your metabolism revs up as your body works harder to break these nutrients down. Plus, these simple carbs end up spiking your blood sugar leading to extra fat storage.
Health conditions can influence metabolism
Don’t forget that various health conditions can affect your metabolism. Everyday Health discusses hypothyroidism as being one culprit in particular. For many, a low carb diet can improve their metabolism, but if you have a health condition and aren’t sure, it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor first.
Sometimes specific illnesses can affect the speed at which you burn energy, Cederquist says. People with hypothyroidism, for example, can have trouble losing weight because their bodies do not make enough thyroid hormone, according to the NIDDK. Graves’ disease, on the other hand, can result in too much thyroid hormone in the body and can cause dangerous weight loss. If you're concerned about your ability to lose weight, ask your doctor to check your thyroid to rule out any issues at your next visit.
Are you ready to rev up your metabolism?! You can do that by getting on the keto diet which we tell you all about in the Body Reboot book. Help us cover the cost of shipping and visit this page today to snag your free copy today!
Sources: Health, Abby Langer Nutrition, Everyday Health, NCBI: Journal of the American Medical Association; January 2012, Eat This, Not That, NCBI: International journal of endocrinology vol. 2010
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