What exactly is metabolism? Metabolism is the amount of energy (calories) your body
needs each day to complete daily body functions such as organs function, basic
activity, etc. It’s basically a
set amount of calories your body burns each day. We supply our body with the calories it needs for energy
with the foods we eat, thus, calories are very important. However, a lack or excess of calories
can affect our bodies in a negative way.
Your BEE (Basal energy expenditure) is calculated based on your age,
height, and weight. Your level of
metabolism and daily caloric intake greatly affects your weight and overall
health. Lets look at a few common beliefs
about metabolism and state once a for all if it’s a fact or myth.
Question 1: Some people say they gain weight easily
because they have a “slow metabolism”, is this true?
Studies show that people of the
same age, height, gender, and body composition will only have a difference in
metabolism by up to 3%. However,
keep in mind that overweight people have a slightly higher metabolism when
compared to thinner people. Think
of it as the more you weigh the harder your body has to work.
Question 2: Can exercise increase your metabolism?
This is true but very minimal. Studies show that even if you increased
your muscle mass by 15% it would only lead to a 5% increase in RMR (resting metabolic
rate). So if you ate 2000 calories
each day you could eat an extra 75 calories.
Question 3: Does metabolism slow down with age?
Unfortunately this is very
true. Starting at age 30, your
metabolism decreases every decade by 2-3%.
Question 4: How does dieting affect my metabolism?
If I’m a chronic dieter will it permanently slow down my metabolism?
Crash dieting can have a drastic
affect on your metabolism. After 2
weeks of starvation your RMR can drop by up to 15%! Studies also show that once
you cut your calories down to 1200, your metabolism will slow down. However, once you start increasing your
calories again, your metabolism will be brought back to normal. And as far as the second question goes,
no chronic dieting will not permanently slow down your metabolism.
Question 5: Will eating more frequently increase my
Sorry the answer is no to this as
well. However, it will affect your
insulin and glucose levels which will result in less hunger and may lead to
more weight loss!
Question 6: Does working out increase my metabolism
for hours after I’ve finished?
This is true, if you workout hard
enough. After an intense workout,
your body can burn extra calories several hours post exercise. This is equal to about 15-20% of the
calories burned during your workout for several hours after.
Question 7: Is it true that eating spicy foods will
increase my metabolism?
Uhh, no! If only it were that easy! Spicy foods have shown to cause a slight increase in
metabolism but the effect is so minimal that it does not make a difference as
far as weight loss is concerned.
Estelle L. Benoit, RD, LDN