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How metabolism can influence body weight

Metabolism describes the process of the body expending energy and burning calories. Metabolism relies on the nutrients you consume in order to convert it into energy and the body will use that energy to breathe, circulate blood, repair cells and functions.

Metabolism can be fast, slow, or ‘average’ – it depends on many factors within human beings (e.g, age, exercise, weight, body composition, height, genetics). Gender can also be a factor as men tend to burn more calories than women, even while resting. BMR (basal metabolic rate) is the process of burning calories while doing nothing, people with higher muscle mass tend to burn calories faster.

If your metabolism is fast, you will burn more calories at rest and during activity. A high metabolism means you will need to take in more calories to maintain your weight. This can affect dietary needs and body weight as, if you are aiming to lose weight – you would want to be exercising more to replenish the food that has been consumed.

The importance of hydration

As well as food, water is a key part of this. Water will keep the body hydrated, therefore keeping the metabolism quick. Water is a key nutrient in the makeup of synovial fluid, which helps lubricate the joint and allows for ease of movement.

How to adjust your metabolism

There are ways to speed up your metabolism, and exercise is a key impact here. Eating more protein-based foods as well as focusing on weight training can speed up the metabolism due to the thermic effect – essentially meaning, it takes longer for your body to burn protein compared to fats and carbohydrates.

A slow metabolism burns less calories than a fast metabolism, and someone with a slow metabolism who eats more than they burn, would gain weight.

Foods that can make your metabolism burn slower:

  • Non Wholewheat/wholemeal foods e.g., White bread, pasta
  • Fizzy drinks (Coke, Pepsi etc)
  • Omega 6 fatty acids (found in Pork, Chicken Thighs)

What you eat can affect you positively as well as negatively – for example, eating too much of Omega 6 fatty acids will end up slowing down your metabolism, and as a result of that weight gain will occur.

However, it is also good to have certain fatty foods in moderation to ensure that the natural acids and sugar levels within the body are kept at a standard level. If at a low level, it can cause dizziness, headaches. And if at a high level, it can produce negative traits such as: Laziness, high blood pressure and weight gain.

Foods that can make your metabolism burn faster:

  • Protein rich foods (eggs, meat, fish, dairy)
  • Green tea
  • Spicy foods (ginger, masala)
  • Pulses and lentils

Eating these types of foods (above), is a great way to make metabolism burn faster, which will in turn, make it more likely for you to not gain weight as quickly when eating foods.

The Bottom Line

Although your basal metabolic rate is largely beyond your control, there are various ways to increase the number of calories you burn.

The strategies mentioned in this article can help you boost your metabolism and to have more knowledge on how to influence metabolism.

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Anish Mehan
Anish Mehan is an aspiring nutritionist/dietitian. By day, I am a technology recruitment consultant and by night, I am a part time Personal Trainer with a passion for fitness & health.

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