Metabolism – It’s Effect On Weight Loss
Does metabolism effect weight loss or does weight loss effect metabolism? Metabolism, as defined by Wikipedia, is the set of life-sustaining chemical transformations within the cells of living organisms. In short, it’s the breakdown of food and turning it into energy. Enzymes are crucial for metabolism because they assist organisms in driving desirable reactions that require energy and can’t occur by themselves. The word metabolism can also refer to all chemical reactions that occur in living organisms, including digestion and the transport of substances into and between different cells. Because metabolism is digestion on a cellular level and how your body’s chemical reaction between the food you eat and your body’s cells are influenced by your body style, it might be safe to assume that weight loss has more of an effect on metabolism than metabolism has with weight loss.
But then, it’s also safe to assume, metabolism has that much effect on weight loss, when you realize that the energy required to digest foods that increase metabolism is more than the energy required to digest the more simple foods like most fatty foods (meats and poultry) and grain foods (bread and pasta). This increased energy expenditure can be easily explained by the added nutrients obtained from these more complex carbohydrates and proteins rich foods. To understand this one needs to know the mechanics of metabolism. To understand this better, one needs to know the mechanics of metabolism.
Metabolism is usually divided into two categories.
- Catabolism which breaks down organic matter to harvest energy in cellular respiration (breakdown of foods for energy). According to Wikipedia; “Catabolism breaks down large molecules (such as polysaccharides, lipids, nucleic acids and proteins) into smaller units (such as monosaccharides, fatty acids, nucleotides, and amino acids, respectively). The pathways for catabolism and anabolism use different enzymes but are regulated by the same molecules, so they take place in different locations and organelles in cells to avoid interfering with one another.
- Anabolism which uses energy to construct components of cells such as proteins and nucleic acids (breakdown of foods for growth and cellular repair). Wikipedia says about anabolism; “Anabolic processes tend toward “building up” organs and tissues.”
Up for debate is the effect of exercise on the metabolic rate. Probably because it’s usually measured as a Basal Metabolic Rate or BMR which is done while the body is at rest (while awake). Aerobic fitness level, a product of cardiovascular exercise was previously thought to have an effect on BMR, but it was shown in the 1990’s not to correlate with it when fat-free body mass was adjusted for. There are studies that anaerobic exercise, however, does increase resting energy consumption (BMR), through increasing muscle mass, as anaerobic exercise includes resistance training (weight lifting, etcetera) intended for muscle building. This requires more digestion of proteins which require more energy to digest, thereby increasing metabolism.
From this, it may be safe to assume that foods high in protein will raise metabolism simply because they’re harder to digest and they’re turned into anabolic hormones under the right conditions to increase muscular cells instead of producing more fat cells which are my much easier to metabolize. Fat is metabolized directly into fat whereas metabolizing proteins require enzymes and amino acids to synthesize proteins, requiring a lot more energy to metabolize. Carbohydrates which require more energy than fats to metabolize but not as much as protein provide the catabolic metabolism which provides energy for the body to move. These cells are stored as fat, as instructed by the insulin that turns them into fat. They are not used until your stomach empties out and your body produces the fat burning hormone, glucagon. This is the key to burning the fat you’ve stored and are trying to get rid of.
Although it’s difficult to find any concrete evidence that a higher metabolism causes weight loss on its own, what a higher metabolism can do is give you more energy by better utilizing the foods you eat, making exercise much easier so you can burn more fat. A healthy source of protein like eggs, chicken, or nuts and upping your intake of high-fiber foods like vegetables is one of the best ways to increase your metabolism because these foods are richer in the micro-nutrients that our cells need.
Foods That Boost Metabolism
Foods or drinks that are known to help our metabolism
Water – Drink plenty of water every day. You would need to drink more than 2 quarts or liters of water a day. Dehydration slows down metabolism because it fools the body into thinking that it’s going into a conservation mode. Water is key to just about everything. Fat is water soluble in your body and water actually helps to remove from the fat through exercise.
Green Tea – has a variety of enzymes, amino acids, carbohydrates, lipids, sterols, polyphenols, carotenoids, tocopherols, vitamins, caffeine and related compounds, phytochemicals and dietary minerals, all important for metabolism.
Lean Turkey – eating lean meats that are protein-rich help us to build up lean muscles which essentially helps us to lose body fat. Studies have shown that lean muscles promote a faster metabolic rate.
Hot peppers – hot peppers have shown to speed up metabolism rates and cool cravings for food. Capsaicin which is a chemical found in hot chili peppers expands blood vessels and accelerates excretion of sweat which can help to burn fat.
Eating low-calorie high fiber snacks is the key to weight loss. Weight loss can be achieved through the right kind of diet along with exercise. The key is to stay active and eat plenty of healthy high fiber food.
Foods that help your metabolism can easily be found in local supermarkets. Drink plenty of water and make time to relax to have some green tea. Drink green tea as well as coffee and make sure your diet is balanced with more high fiber foods.