No doubt you’ve already read or heard that once you reach the age of 40, the process of weight gain is irreversible. The set of mechanisms in our bodies which comprise our metabolism really do start to grind down a bit slower with each passing year after the age of 30. But, there’s no need to get pessimistic.
Actually, the rate with which the metabolism slows down is pretty minimal and the weight gain which usually happens in midlife is not due to having a slower metabolism at all. The truth is quite simple, and is often not so comfortable for some people to hear: as we get older, we become less active physically.
This may seem depressing to some people at first, but when you look at it from another perspective it’s really good news. There are lots of things we can do in order to counteract or prevent this slow and what seems to be an inevitable increase of weight. But before we go into the details on how to do this, let’s discuss the basics of what metabolism really is and what it isn’t.
How does the body burn energy?
There is a parameter known as the resting metabolic rate which represents a measure of the amount of energy we expend/burn when we’re resting. This resting metabolic rate is determined by multiple factors like height, sex, as well as the genes you inherited from your parents and regardless of what you do, it cannot be changed much.
If we put that aside, our bodies tend to enter three specific calorie burning phases, which depends on what we are doing. These three metabolism types are what the majority of people are referring to when they say they are doing certain things like exercising or eating spicy goods, which can boost the metabolism.
Most things people say will boost the metabolism, actually won’t
When we eat, we expend a small quantity of calories, approximately 10% of the total calories burned during the day. This is known as the thermic effect of food, and represents the first of the three phases we mentioned previously. There is a way to increase this expenditure, although not by much, by doing certain things such as drinking stimulating liquids like coffee and consuming a lot of protein.
Studies have shown that consuming certain foods and compounds like caffeine, green tea or hot peppers will make a difference, but not a very drastic one. Some of them might give you a metabolism boost, which will not be sufficient to make a dramatic decrease in your weight.
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