Metabolism facts and myths

, medical expert
Last reviewed: 20.11.2021

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Separate the truth from fiction and use it in your plan to get rid of excess weight.

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Your body burns more calories, digesting cold drinks and food

True. But before you get a headache from eating ice cream, think about the following. "A small difference in calories can not seriously affect your diet," explains Madeline Fernström, associate professor of science, founder and director of the UPMC Weight Management Center in Pittsburgh. On the other hand, various studies have shown that 5-6 glasses of cold water per day will help you burn 10 extra calories, which means losing about 1 pound of excess weight per year without any special effort.

Tip: Although the benefits for metabolism are small, the use of soft drinks such as tea, water and coffee, in any case, increases the potential for burning calories.

Using enough water will help you burn more calories

Truth: All the chemical reactions of your body, including metabolism, depend on water. If your body is dehydrated, you can burn 2% fewer calories, according to scientists at the University of Utah, who monitored the metabolic rate of 10 adults while they drank a different amount of water per day. During the study, those participants who drank 8-12 glasses of water a day had higher metabolic rates than those who drank 4 glasses.

Tip: If your urine is darker than straw-yellow, this may mean that you do not consume enough liquid. Try to drink one glass of water before each meal to maintain the hydration of the body.

Compliance with the diet reduces the metabolic rate at rest, which complicates the process of losing weight

True. For every pound of weight lost, your body starts to burn 2-10 calories a day less. Relieve 10 pounds, and you will have to eat 20-100 calories less to maintain a slender build, without taking into account the exercises. However, you can prevent the slowing of metabolism during weight loss. One way is to get rid of fat, but keep muscle mass. You can do this by reducing the amount of calories consumed and doing aerobic exercises and resistance exercises. Radical diets (less than 1,000 calories per day) can cause serious loss of muscle mass.

Tip: Relieve weight by discarding 250 calories per day and burning 250 calories per day with exercise. This will help you maintain and even gain muscle mass, and at the same time lose a large percentage of fat.

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Sharp food will speed up your metabolism

True. Capsaicin, a bioactive ingredient by which chili peppers have such a keen taste, can speed up your metabolism, and also provide a feeling of satiety and reduce the feeling of hunger. Studies show that eating 1 tablespoon of chopped red or green chili peppers, which contains 30 milligrams of capsaicin, causes a temporary acceleration of metabolism by 23%. In another study, participants were given 0.9 grams of red pepper in capsule form or as a natural component of tomato juice before each meal. The scientists noted that in 2 days the total caloric intake of the participants decreased by 10% or 16%, respectively, and the participants felt fed.

Tip: Sprinkle pieces of red pepper into a paste, a Mexican chili dish or stews; Fresh chili pepper can be added to sauces, and as a fire seasoning in many other dishes.

The use of a large number of proteins will speed up your metabolism

Truth: Protein more intensively affects metabolism compared to fats and carbohydrates, because the body uses more energy for its processing. This phenomenon is known as the thermal effect of food. Studies show that you can burn 2 times more calories by digesting proteins, compared to carbohydrates. In a typical diet, 14% of calories should be ingested with proteins. Double this figure (and reduce the intake of carbohydrates to avoid unnecessary calories), and you can burn an extra 150-200 calories a day, explains Donald Leiman, assistant professor of science, professor of nutrition at the University of Illinois.

Tip: To take full advantage of protein, use 10-20 grams of protein with each dish, Hickey says. Try to eat an 8-ounce cup of low-fat, plain yogurt for breakfast (about 13 grams), ½ cup hummuch for lunch (about 10 grams) and a salmon fillet in 3 ounces for dinner (about 17 grams).

The use of grapefruit before each meal speeds up the metabolism

Not true. Grapefruit does not work wonders with your metabolism, but it can help you lose weight. According to a study published in the Journal of Medical Nutrition, half a grapefruit before meals helped participants to lose about 4 pounds in 12 weeks. Cause: the fiber and water contained in the grapefruit satiate you, and so the next time you eat, you eat less.

Tip: Instead of soup or salad, drink juice or eat a fresh fruit, such as half a grapefruit or tangerine before eating the main dish.

Weight lifting activates the metabolism more than cardio exercises

True. When you do enough strength exercises to gain 3 pounds of muscle mass, you increase the burning of calories by 6-8%, that is, you burn about 100 extra calories a day. On the other hand, aerobic exercise does not greatly increase dry muscle mass. "The best way to build muscle is to do resistance exercises," notes Ryan Dee. Andrews, a certified dietitian, a specialist in power training from Colorado.

Tip: "You need to focus on exercises that involve the largest muscles and use two-part movements, as they will help you build more lean muscle mass," says Andrews. His favorite exercises include squats, push-ups and any exercises that combine the movements of the upper and lower parts of the body. In order to learn more about strength exercises that accelerate metabolism, visit prevention.com/burnfat.

Celery helps to reduce the number of calories, as its digestion takes more calories than enters the body

Not true. The thermal effect of eating really causes the body to burn calories while digesting food and drinks. But this process only uses up to 30% of the calories you consume (for example, digesting proteins requires more calories than fats and carbohydrates, see question 5). A medium-sized celery root contains only about 6 calories; its thermal effect is half a calorie. In fact, food that reduces the number of calories - it's just the fruit of our imagination.

Tip: Add celery to salads, stews and soups, as a low-calorie, but hearty product; but remember that it can not magically save you from overweight problems. Nevertheless, celery is a useful product: it contains phthalides, components that reduce blood pressure.

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Tea accelerates the natural burning of calories

True. Catechins found in green tea and oolong tea (red tea) can accelerate the process of burning fats in the body. The study, in which Japanese women participated, compared the effects of drinking green tea, red tea and water. Just one large cup of oolong tea increased the amount of calories burned by 10%, and after a couple of hours this figure increased by another 1 ½ times. Green tea accelerates metabolism by 4% per 1 ½ hours. Other studies show that consuming 2-4 cups of green or red tea a day (containing about 375-675 mg of catechins) can cause burning of 50 extra calories a day - which equals a loss of 5 pounds of weight per year.

Tip: Try replacing the morning cup of coffee with a cup of green or red tea, which also contains a dose of caffeine necessary to speed up the metabolism. Instead of milk or sweetener, add to the tea a squeezed lemon, which will help the body absorb more catechins.

Increased appetite during PMS is associated with an acceleration of metabolism before menstruation

True. If PMS has some advantages, it's that our metabolism at rest can accelerate during the menstrual cycle called the luteal phase (from the day after ovulation to the first day of menstruation). A surge in metabolism caused by hormonal processes can equal 300 calories a day, which is why our appetite rises during this phase.

Tip: Write down what you eat the week before menstruation and a week after it. Try to stick to your diet throughout the month, so that you can benefit from burning calories caused by hormones. If you still succumb to your desires, try to keep the sizes of portions under control.

If you are limited in time, exercise with more intensity to achieve the acceleration of metabolism.

True. People who exercise with very high intensity after exercise accelerate metabolism in a state of rest, and this acceleration is more intense and lasts longer than with exercises of low and medium intensity. Add energy to your exercises and you will burn at least 10% of the total number of calories in about an hour after exercise. If you use a combination of walking and running for 4 miles (about 400 calories) instead of a simple walk, in the next few hours you will burn an additional 40 calories.

Tip: Introduce in your exercises periods of great speed increases. Gradually get to 2-minute intervals 3 days a week.

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