Essentially the harder he has to work to break down such foods, the more calories he will burn in the process. A 2004 study found that high-protein products, such as eggs, chicken, lean red meat and fish, trigger a 20-30 percent higher thermic effect than carbohydrates (5-10 percent) or fat (0-3 percent). hundred). More protein is also advisable as we get older as it helps maintain our muscles.
Saira Hameed, consultant endocrinologist at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and author of The Full Diet, says you don’t need to eat it in abnormally large amounts. We’re talking a two-egg omelette, not six, says Hameed. But the metabolic benefit of this is that protein is the macronutrient that fires up the metabolism most powerfully.
2. Prioritize sleep
Loss of sleep can hamper your metabolism by activating your body to store fat instead of burning it. A study published in Sleep Medicine last month found that among more than 5,000 respondents, even one hour fewer eyes closed each night (compared to the recommended seven to eight hours) was linked to a 12g increase in visceral fat, the type that lines the organs, increasing the risk of metabolic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
Numerous studies have shown that poor sleep also leads to worse dietary decisions and reduced insulin sensitivity, making you metabolically groggy, according to a University of Chicago paper. Failure to process insulin properly means that more energy that enters the bloodstream will be stored as fat.
3. Do squats
Even if you can’t exercise with a bad diet, increasing your calorie burn certainly helps. Exercise, at least in the short term, can boost your metabolic rate, Mosley explains. While moving more isn’t thought to affect you in the long run, burning more calories can help keep weight gain at bay.
But what about building our muscles to increase our metabolic rate in the long run? It is widely believed that strength training will increase your metabolism. The jury is definitely out, Roberts says, noting that studies have indicated mixed results. While lifting may not do much for your metabolism in studies to date, staying strong is important for health in old age.
Experts recommend regular resistance training, such as squats and push-ups, to maintain muscle mass as you age, a process that may explain the decline in metabolism after age 60. Maintaining lean muscles will help maintain your metabolic rate.
According to the US National Council on Strength and Fitness, 6 kcal per pound of lean muscle mass is burned per day, compared to 2-3 kcal per day per pound of normal mass, so it makes sense to maintain muscle mass.
4. Drink coffee or green tea
According to a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 100 mg of caffeine per day increased the participants’ resting metabolic rate by 3-4 percent; another, published in the British Medical Journal last month, suggested that high blood levels (through coffee or green tea) may reduce body fat and the risk of type 2 diabetes.
While among the most decisive lifestyle factors when it comes to helping our metabolism, Hameed cautions that there is a fine line between boosting metabolism and overdoing caffeine due to its less positive health impacts, such as speed up your heart rate or make it difficult to fall asleep. So what’s the sweet spot of caffeine? Drink two to three cups a day, but stop at noon to make sure it’s out of your system before bed.
5. Avoid crash diets
It’s a cruel irony that weight loss becomes more difficult the more you lose weight, says Chris van Tulleken, physician and author of Ultra-Processed People. He believes that weight is the only variable in our control, when it comes to the main determinants of our metabolic rate but, perhaps crueler still, is the fact that if you went on a diet, your metabolism could adjust to the reduced calories and increased exercise regimen.
A 2016 study of participants in The Biggest Loser, a weight-loss reality TV show, found that six years after their involvement their metabolisms slowed down. The researchers measured body weight, fat, metabolism and hormone levels at the end of the program and again six years later.
Research showed that their metabolism had slowed down significantly, and when they regained weight, their metabolism didn’t return to its previous levels. Those who had maintained a lower weight after the show had ended had to do so by sticking to a significantly reduced diet, the study found, with one contestant losing 17 points while gaining nearly half that back, but ate just 800 calories a day.
A 2022 reinterpretation of the results, published by one of the original study’s researchers, suggested that the metabolic slowdown was so great among competitors because of weight loss as a result of long, sustained bouts of physical activity, but added that they were Further longitudinal studies are needed. .
So how can we lose weight but also prevent our metabolism from taking a nosedive? Harvard Public School of Health says women shouldn’t go below 1,200 calories a day and men shouldn’t go below 1,500. Many dieters say they don’t reduce their intake by more than 200 to 300 calories a day.
If you need to diet, research suggests that low-fat diets slow down your metabolism more. In a 2012 study in the New England Journal of Medicine, 21 people were placed on both a low-fat diet and a high-fat ketogenic diet. Both diets resulted in a drop in metabolic rate, but the keto diet was far less harmful. On the ketogenic diet, their metabolic rate decreased by 95 calories per day, compared to 423 calories per day on the low-fat diet.
6. Give your gut a boost of fiber
Eating more fiber is an easy way to boost your metabolism that isn’t generally known, says Roberts, who co-authored a paper on its benefits in 2017. All foods with fiber are good, she adds, such as green vegetables, [and] legumes such as chickpeas. Also high-fiber cereals (like granola or bran), which are an easy source of fiber that you don’t need to cook.
The benefits are thought to come from the fiber which increases the production of short-chain fatty acids in the gut microbiome and slows down the rate at which food is absorbed. You may also want to give ultra-processed foods ample room as they can disrupt the microbiome, increase and decrease insulin sensitivity, further messing with your metabolism.
7. Get tracking
Your metabolic rate can be measured and monitored via a range of devices, such as Lumen, a portable monitor you breathe in to measure your CO2 levels. Not dissimilar to a magnified pen or thumb drive, it tells you how many calories you’re burning and tracks whether you’re burning mostly carbs (high CO2 in your breath) or mostly fat (low CO2 levels), and is controlled via a smartphone app.
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