Metabolism has always been a subject that has fascinated nutrition scientists and made them speculate about it. After all, it’s the process that converts the food we eat into energy which is the fuel for everything we do. Even when you are not active per se, like when you are sleeping, the body needs energy for basic life functions like breathing and repairing damaged cells.
The number of calories that is needed to sustain these basic functions is known as the resting metabolic rate or RMR and it can have an effect on a range of things like your waistline size to your energy levels.
Being on a diet can slow down your metabolism
Every time you put yourself on a diet, your entire metabolism slows down and it often does that more than you would otherwise expect. Research has found that people who were formerly obese have a 2 to 5 % lower resting metabolic rate than those who have never had the need to lose weight. However, this drastic RMR decrease is something you can avoid.
Other research has proven that exercising on a regular basis can counteract this effect. And losing pounds at a slower pace can keep the metabolism humming. This is a good rule to follow: decrease your caloric intake up to 500 calories per day and try to burn as many calories by exercising. A deficit of 1000 calories per day can help you lose approximately 2 lbs. per week.
Stress slows down the burning of calories
Are you stressed out most of the time and you feel like you’ve gained weight recently? Recent research says that you’re not imagining it. It’s real. When you are stressed, your metabolism slows down and the reason for that is that chronic stress triggers the production of betatrophin which is a protein that inhibits an enzyme in charge of breaking down fat.
One study has found that women who had been in a stressful situation one day before they ate one meal high in fat burned around 105 fewer calories in a time span of 8 hours after the meal than those who hadn’t experienced any stress. The women that were stressed also had their insulin levels increased which directly contributes to storing more fat. This could add up to a gain of 10-11 lbs per year.
Intermittent fasting has been shown to help
Nutrition experts have largely advised that one should avoid fad diets which usually do more harm than good. However, research has now shown that fasting on alternate days, which is basically eating with no restriction for one day and then consuming only 800 calories the other, can help you lose weight without screwing with your metabolism. A study was done on women that had them follow this type of dieting for 8 weeks made them lose an average of 12 lbs.
When they compared their resting metabolic rate to participants who lost weight by decreasing their caloric intake by 25 % they didn’t see any big differences between the two groups. And what’s even more interesting, after a couple of days, most of the participants in the group that did intermittent fasting didn’t say they were feeling hungry. However, some experts say that this needs to be examined further in order to figure out the long-term effects of this type of dieting. If you decide to try it, consult with your doctor first.
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