Metabolism- What You Need to Know

May 8, 2019
Baked Oatmeal
Happy Wednesday Gauchos! Today's blog post comes for intern Jasmine Jefferies! Enjoy!
We have all heard about metabolism and how it plays a part in weight loss, but what exactly is it? Your metabolism is made up of a number of components. 
The first component is your basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is the number of calories you burn every day just to keep your body functioning properly. Your BMR is actually responsible for about 70-80% of the calories you burn. Of course, BMR varies from person to person because it is dependent on factors such as age, genetics, how active you are, and gender.
The next component of your metabolism is called the thermic effect of food (TEF), which is the number of calories you burn in order to digest your food. This process is responsible for about 10% of the calories you burn. 
The third component is non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT)  which is comprised of the number of calories you burn by doing non-sport activities like fidgeting, cleaning, or walking through the grocery store. This procress is responsible for 10-20 % of the calories you burn. This component is really cool because some studies suggest that you can burn around 800 extra calories per day moving around a bit more. Some simple changes include activities like using a standing desk, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and accumulating activity during routine chores, like grocery shopping and cleaning the kitchen.
And the last component is, of course, the calories you burn from purposeful physical activity. If are adding the math up in your head, you can see that physical activity only account for about 5-10 percent of your metabolism.
In today’s society, there are many products and tools that claim to help boost your metabolism or burn fat fast. However, these things are a trap because your metabolism is regulated pretty well, so there is not much you can do to speed up your metabolism. Many people think they can boost their metabolism by working out. While working out is a great way to burn some extra calories and get your heart rate up, your metabolism will not increase by much. With that being said, working out does increase muscle mass. The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism will be because muscle is a constantly active tissue that continues to burn calories.
You also might have heard about eating small meals more frequently to boost your metabolism. However, it seems that more often than not, people begin to overeat while trying this method. As far as the foods you eat, there are a couple of factors that can optimize the thermic effect of food. You will get a slight metabolism boost if you consume enough protein from foods like chicken, eggs, and chickpeas. These foods will help keep you full for longer, meaning you will be able to manage your hunger more. 
And of course, many of us have heard about consuming things like green tea, apple cider vinegar, and cayenne pepper as a shortcut to losing some extra weight. While these things may help, they are actually not very beneficial in the long term. 
As far as other things you can do to “boost your metabolism”, sleep plays a critical role. Try to get the recommended 7-9 hours per night. Also, dietitians recommend limiting your consumption of sugary and processed foods. Lastly, you can incorporate foods that are rich in fiber like vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, and seeds.
Rather than spending money on a quick way to lose weight, focus on consuming whole foods that come from nature. When it comes to weight loss, there really is no shortcut. It only comes from dedication and hard work. Cutting corners with products that claim to increase your metabolism may only lead to failed attempts at weight loss. 

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