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Sunday, December 23, 2012

How to Increase Your Metabolism 12-24

How to Increase Your Metabolism

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

If you're trying to lose weight, increasing your metabolic rate can enable you to lose more weight without cutting more calories. The commercialism surrounding "metabolism-enhancing products" has made it difficult to separate fact from fiction (or advertising), but you can find a few research-based suggestions here.


  1. Understand what metabolism is. In the simplest terms, metabolic rate is the rate at which your body burns calories . Very few people have a fast metabolism. Surprisingly, overweight individuals have relatively fast metabolism because they weigh more, but if their weight is staying constant then their metabolism is not fast enough to offset their caloric intake.[1] The bottom line is that increasing your metabolism will enable you to level your diet and weight. 
  2. Determine what is influencing your metabolism. There are some factors that you can control and change, and some factors that you can't.
    • Age - Metabolic rate decreases 5% each decade, after the age of 40 [2], partly because of decreased muscle mass.
    • Gender - Men generally burn calories more quickly than women because they have more muscle tissue.[2]
    • Heredity - You can inherit your metabolic rate from previous generations.[2]
    • Thyroid disorder - Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland) and hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland) can slow down or speed up metabolism, but only 3% and .3% of the population have hypo- and hyperthyroidism respectively.
    • Weight - different tissues of your body contribute different amounts to resting metabolism. Muscle contributes more than fat per unit mass and, because it is denser than fat, muscle contributes much more per unit volume [2], but this may not be practically significant [3]. See "Weight training" below.
  3. Estimate your resting metabolic rate (RMR). RMR is often used interchangeably with basal metabolic rate (BMR). Although they are slightly different, estimating either is sufficient for the purpose of losing weight. What these equations will show you is, that if you weigh more, your RMR will be higher! To calculate your RMR, use the Mifflin-St Jeor equation (which is more reliable than the Harris-Benedict equation[4]).  here are also calculators online that can do this for you:
    • RMR = 9.99w + 6.25s - 4.92a + 166g-161
      • w = weight in kilograms; if you know your weight in pounds, divide by 2.2 to get your weight in kilograms
      • s = height in centimeters; if you know your height in inches, multiply by 2.54 to get your height in centimeters
      • a = age in years
      • g = gender = 1 for males, 0 for females
  4. Adjust your diet accordingly. Your RMR will tell you how many calories you need to maintain your body at rest. Your daily consumption to maintain your weight should be:[5]
    • RMR x 1.15
      • E.g. RMR = 2000, so the maintenance intake is 2000 x 1.15 = 2300
    • To lose weight safely, do not exceed your maintenance intake or have a caloric intake lower than your calculated RMR.
    • Count calories by recording what you eat and looking up how many calories each food item contains (either on the food packaging or in tables provided in books or online).
  5. Eat small, frequent meals. People generally eat less overall when they eat small yet frequently. Consider eating fruits , oats or anything with a "high volume to calorie content" , eating healthy snacks will also increase metabolism.[2] A common myth is that fasting or restricting your consumption of food will send your body into starvation mode. While there is little or no evidence that supports this it is true that malnutrition is never the solution to losing weight and may pose a serious risk to your health and have adverse effects in the long run. [6]Image:Increase Your Metabolism Step 5.jpg
  6. Drink iced water. As with food, depriving your body of water can encourage it to "hoard" rather than "burn". When you drink ice cold water, your body burns calories warming it to body temperature. More than ninety percent of the chemical reactions in your body occur in water, so make sure you drink an appropriate amount of water.
  7. Boost metabolism temporarily with aerobic exercise. Different activities burn different quantities of calories, but the important thing is to raise your heart rate and sustain the activity for approximately thirty minutes.
  8. Boost metabolism in the long run with weight training. Muscle burns more calories than fat does (73 more calories per kilogram per day, to be exact)[2] so the more muscle you build, the higher your resting metabolic rate (RMR) will be. Every muscle cell that you gain is like a little factory that constantly burns calories for you, even while you sleep, and revs up when you exercise. This is the only way to increase RMR, which accounts for 60 to 70 percent of the calories you burn daily.[7] From a recent conservative estimate [8] one can extrapolate that in one year a person with 2.2 kg more muscle will burn calories corresponding to 1 kg of fat due to this muscle mass. Young healthy men typically have 35 to 50 kg of muscle mass [9] so the most muscular men in the range burn extra calories relative to the least muscular corresponding to 6.8 kg (15 pounds) of fat per year.


  • There are no "fat-burning" foods. You might've heard that certain foods (e.g. celery and grapefruit) increase metabolic rate, but it's just a myth.[10] While some foods and drinks such as red peppers and green tea have been studied for their potential metabolic rate increasing properties, there is no conclusive evidence that whatever influence they have on metabolism is significant enough to result in weight loss.[2] However, it has been proven that all foods do have what is called the thermic effect. Foods with protein have a 30% thermic effect, and are the most thermal of all foods. So that means if you eat a 100 calorie portion of meat, 30 calories from the food are required to break down the fibers in the protein and to properly digest it. Foods with higher amounts of fiber also have a high thermic effect. This is why people who eat 40% protein 40% carbohydrate and 20% mainly monounsaturated fat diets do very well, especially if they are carbohydrate sensitive and/or endomorphs.
  • Some sugar substitutes may adversely affect metabolism and weight loss.[11]
  • Very low-carb diets are said to burn more calories because the body expends energy changing fats and proteins into glucose. Glucose provides the energy for your body via a system of chemical reactions called the "krebs-cycle" or "tricarboxylic acid cycle."
  • Unless you are careful to choose whole foods naturally rich in vitamins, the low-carb approach may lead to vitamin deficiency. Some sources claim carbohydrates are necessary for absorption of vitamins. However, it is likely even standard low-carb diets provide enough, as some traditional food cultures like that of the Inuit are low in carbohydrates and do not result in deficiencies. Just to be safe, you may want to invest in supplements, though beware: many formulations are poorly absorbed under the best of conditions. Include omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, by eating at least 2-3 portions of fish a week, or if you dislike fish take fish oil supplements. Drink eight 8-oz. glasses of non-carbonated water (including green tea, tea and coffee) per day.
  • Be careful with dairy products if you are following the Atkins diet. Milk and products made with milk contain lactose, a carbohydrate. Yogurt has natural milk sugars in addition to fruit and sweeteners such as sucrose or high-fructose corn syrup. Consider getting your calcium from cheese. Some cheeses may have nearly zero carbohydrates. Avoid low-fat dairy products. Whole milk has 11 carbs[12]; skimmed milk has 12.3 carbs.[13] Whole milk also provides the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA and is the most significant food source of CLA,[14][15] a heart-healthy fat that may help increase your metabolism, lose more fat, and build more muscle. [14] Short- and medium-chain fatty acids (especially those in coconut oil) have long been promoted for weight loss and can easily be burned for energy. In a nine-year study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, whole milk and cheese helped prevent weight gain in women who had one or more servings a day while low-fat milk did not.[16] Low-fat yogurt or low-fat ice cream may have more sugar to compensate for the loss of taste. Soy products can also be an excellent substitute for dairy while you are on the Atkins diet. Plain soy milk has seven net carbs and one gram of fiber.[17]
  • Always consult a dietitian or doctor before making a major change in your diet and exercise routine.


  • Avoid smoking as a weight-loss method. While nicotine is a metabolism booster and appetite suppressant, the health hazards far outweigh any benefits.
  • Expect your metabolism to slow down as you lose weight. The more weight your body is carrying, the more calories your body has to burn in order to sustain itself, even at rest. When you begin restricting your calorie intake, you'll lose weight relatively easily because your body's high caloric needs are not being met. But after you begin to shed the weight, the body has less mass to carry and thus needs fewer calories. In order to continue losing weight, you will have to restrict your caloric intake even further in order to maintain a difference between what your body needs and what you are providing.[2] Let's go through a hypothetical example:
    • You are 200 lbs and your body needs 2500 calories a day to sustain itself.You cut down your caloric intake to 2000 calories.
    • You lose 25 lbs. Now your body only needs 2250 calories to sustain itself because it's carrying less weight.
    • If you continue with your 2000 calorie per day diet (the diet that helped you lose the first 25 lbs) you will still be losing, but at half the speed. In order to maintain a steady weight loss you will need to reduce your caloric intake further. However, it is at the utmost importance you do not try to consume fewer calories than your RMR!
    • Another possible problem: If you continue with your 2000 calorie per day diet (the diet that helped you lose the first 25 lbs) you may actually gain weight back because of varying levels of exercise. Let's say you lose 50 lbs. on your 2000 calorie diet. Your sustaining calories might be 1800. You're actually consuming enough calories to gain weight, but how would that happen if you had stayed on your diet? This can happen when your exercise has burned through many calories. If you slowed on exercise at this point you would actually gain weight again. The point here is to recheck your RMR when you lose weight and compare it to your consumption.
  • Don't overdo your diet or exercise program. Losing more than a pound a week can be detrimental to your health. As mentioned above, check with a physician or a nutritionist to determine what would be considered appropriate weight loss for your level of fitness before you start a new exercise or diet plan.
  • If you are pregnant or nursing, your caloric needs are increased. Speak to your doctor or midwife before restricting your diet or any specific food group.


    A video that gives tips on how to increase metabolism.

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