Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Metabolism Myths - Busted!

Prevention Oct 2008While thumbing through Prevention's October issue today, I came across this article and thought it was worth passing on.

"There are probably more myths about metabolism than there are about the Loch Ness Monster and Bigfoot combined. The reality: Your body does burn 2 to 5% fewer calories with each decade after age 40, and women tend to put on about a pound a year as a result, but these changes are not inevitable. Simple tweaks to your daily routine can up your calorie burn and compensate for the deficit, keeping you from succumbing to age related weight gain."


1.) Your body burns more calories digesting ice cold beverages and foods.

True. Different studies have suggested that five or six ice cold glasses of water could help you burn about 10 extra calories a day equaling about 1 pound of nearly effortless weight loss each year.

2.) Drinking the right amount of water can help you burn more calories.

True. All of your body's chemical reactions, including your metabolism, depend on water. If you are dehydrated, you may be burning up to 2% fewer calories.

3.) Dieting drops your resting metabolic rate, making it harder to keep weight off.

True. For every pound you lose, your resting metabolism drops by about 2 to 10 calories a day. Lose 10 pounds, and you now have to eat 20 to 100 fewer calories to maintain your trimmer physique, not factoring in exercise. However, you can prevent your metabolic rate from slipping while you get slim. One way is to lose fat but maintain muscle. You can do this by reducing calories and increasing aerobic and resistance exercise. Crash diets (fewer than 1,000 calories a day) may result in a higher percentage of muscle loss.

Tip: Lose weight by cutting 250 calories a day and burning 250 calories per day through exercise. That will help you retain or even gain muscle while you lose a greater percentage of body fat.

4.) Hot foods will fire up metabolism.

True. Capsaicin, the bioactive compound that makes chile peppers exude heat, can turn your metabolism up a notch while also enhancing satiety and reducing hunger. Studies show that eating about 1 tablespoon of chopped red or green chile pepper which is equal to 30 mg of capsaicin resulted in up to a temporary 23% boost in metabolism. In another study, 0.9 g of red pepper was given in capsule form or naturally in tomato juice before each meal. The researchers noted that the individuals reduced their total calorie intake by 10 or 16%, respectively, for 2 days after and still reported being full.

Tip: Sprinkle red pepper flakes onto pasta dishes and into chilis and stews; fresh chile peppers work well in salsas and add a fiery flavor to many other dishes.

5.) Eating more protein will rev up your metabolism.

True. Protein provides a metabolic advantage compared with fat or carbohydrates because your body uses more energy to process it. This is known as the thermic effect of food (TEF). Studies show that you may burn up to twice as many calories digesting protein as carbohydrates. In a typical diet, 14% of calories come from protein. Double that (and reduce carbs to make up for the extra calories), and you can burn an additional 150 to 200 calories a day.

Tip: To reap protein's rewards, strive for 10-20 g at each of your meals. Try an 8 oz cup of low fat plain yogurt with breakfast (about 13 g), a ½ cup serving of hummus with lunch (about 10 g), and a 3 oz salmon fillet for dinner (about 17 g).

6.) Eating a grapefruit before every meal speeds metabolism.

False. Grapefruit won't work miracles for your metabolism, but it can help you lose weight. Half a grapefruit before meals helped individuals lose about 4 pounds in 12 weeks, according to a study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food. The reason: Its fiber and water fill you up on fewer calories, so you eat less at your next meal.

Tip: Instead of soup or salad, try a juicy piece of fresh fruit before your main course.

7.) Lifting weights boosts your metabolism more than a cardio workout.

True. When you strength train enough to add 3 pounds of muscle, you increase your calorie burn by 6-8% meaning that you burn about 100 extra calories every day. Aerobic exercise, on the other hand, doesn't significantly increase your body's lean muscle mass.

8.) Celery is a "negative calorie food" because digesting it uses up more calories than it provides.

False. The thermic effect of food does cause your body to burn up calories as it processes meals, snacks, and beverages. But this process accounts for anywhere from 0-30% of the calories you eat (protein, for example, takes more calories to digest than fat or carbohydrates). A medium size rib of celery has only about 6 calories; its TEF is approximately half a calorie.

9.) Tea revs your natural calorie burn.

True. Catechins found in green and oolong teas can boost the body's fat burning fire. One study of Japanese women compared the effects of drinking green tea, oolong tea, or water on various days. Just one large cup of oolong tea increased calorie burning by up to 10%, a boost that peaked 1½ hours later. Green tea raised metabolism by 4% for 1½ hours. Other studies show that drinking two to four cups of green or oolong daily (about 375 to 675 mg of catechins) may translate into an extra 50 calories burned each day about 5 pounds' worth in a year.

10.) PMS cravings are related to the boost in metabolism before your period.

True. If there is a silver lining to PMS, it's that our resting metabolic rate may increase during the part of the menstrual cycle known as the luteal phase. The metabolic boost we get from being "hormonal" can equal as much as 300 calories a day which is why our appetite increases during this phase.

11.) If you have limited time, exercise at a higher intensity for a metabolic afterburn.

True. People who exercise at very high intensities experience a postexercise boost in resting metabolic rate that is larger and lasts longer compared with those who work out at a low or moderate level. Up the effort of your workout and you can expect to burn at least 10% of the total calories used during the workout in the hour or so after exercising. So, if you do a combo of walking and jogging for 4 miles (about 400 calories) instead of just walking, you may burn an extra 40 calories in the next few hours.

Source: Prevention, October 2008

Related Article: How to Supercharge Your Metabolism

© 2008 Thanks for taking the time to read A Junk-Foodaholic's Journey to a Healthy Lifestyle. Please feel free to peruse my blog for more great content.

My Other Websites: Are Your Vitamins Safe? Whole Food Nation Affiliate Link


The Mom said...

What an awesome blog you have!!! I am on a mission to lose weight, and for sure would love to hang out at your blog, very inspirational! I gave you an award....Sex Diaries of a Mom ;)

Rachel said...

Great article. My husband has always told me that I should not diet as the 'starving myself part' slows my metabolism (although he seems to like me better slim). The article shows that it is not the dieting but the fact that we have a smaller mass that slows the metabolism so weighing less will always lower metabolic rate.

Laura said...

Hi Sex Diary Mom! Thanks for the award (blushing)! I'm glad you like my blog. I think your blog is awesome!

Laura said...

Hi Rachel! I've done so much damage to my metabolism it's pitiful. The good news is that we can heal our metabolism through proper diet and exercise. I'm glad you liked the post. :)

Raquel said...

HI Laura, once again, thank you for these tips. I didn't know about tip #7. I think I will wait if I'll be 80% of my goal then I'll start lifting weights.

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