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Busting Five Myths on Metabolic Health

Reviewed by

Shifa Fathima

Busting Five Myths on Metabolic Health

Energy is the fuel for every process that happens in our body from breathing to blinking. From where do we get this energy? It’s from the metabolism! Metabolism means the several biochemical processes that occur within our body to keep us alive and maintain life. Metabolism is responsible for the breakdown of food into energy, and the usage of this energy is to build the body and perform functions. So, basically, you get this energy due to the metabolism of the food you eat. But have you noticed that you may eat the same amount and type of food as younger members of your family yet, you keep adding extra kilograms to your weight? This is because metabolic rates are not one size fits all. Every individual is unique and has different energy requirements.

What is metabolic health?

Metabolic health is a concept that revolves around body weight, blood pressure, blood glucose levels at fasting and after meals, waist circumference, blood cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. When you have all these at normal levels without any medications, you will eventually have good metabolic health and you will be at a lower risk of developing any metabolic disorder/ disease. Additionally, poor metabolic health also leads to decreased brain function, energy, memory, mood, skin health, and fertility.

Myth 1: Workouts are the only ways to have good metabolic health

Fact: Regular exercise is essential to burn out calories. You also burn calories while resting and digesting food. The calorie expenditure during workouts lasts only for a while. If you binge over food in large quantities after the workout, you will not burn out the calories in a similar way and the accumulated calories will make you put on weight. (5)

You may build good metabolic health through strength training and building your muscle mass. (2) Hence, it is not the workout alone but the right type and portion of food that will improve your metabolic health and maintain a healthy weight as well.

Myth 2: Eating smaller meals during the day is good to improve metabolism

Fact: There is almost no evidence that relates smaller meals with energy expenditure or boosting metabolism. Most studies say that eating smaller meals does not make a statistically significant difference in metabolic rate. It is better to watch what you eat instead of snacking frequently. (5,6) While eating smaller meals can keep you away from overeating, you need to fulfill your hunger needs. It is better to eat as much as is needed to satisfy your hunger, instead of eating smaller meals and staying hungry. (1)

Myth 3: Crash diets can give you good metabolic health

Crash diets where you consume less food help lose weight initially. However, crash diets often backfire. When you create a huge energy or calorie deficit in your body by consuming a lesser amount of food, your body initially takes up the fat reserves to burn the calories. However, your body is programmed to get adapted, and so, it starts adapting itself to lower calorie intake. As a result, it uses up fewer calories for all activities or during rest. Your body may enter a famished state. It is of no use for metabolic health. Always remember that when you reduce the amount of energy (food) that you eat, your energy to stay alive (metabolism) also goes down.

Instead, you may prioritize eating the right type of food, instead of crash dieting to set your metabolic health right. (1,7)

Myth 4: Metabolic rates never change

Genetics plays an important role in every individual’s metabolic rate. Body type, age, and gender are also some other contributing factors. Hence, each of us has a specific type of metabolic health. However, you can change the metabolic rates by means such as building lean muscle mass. Staying active and using muscles for functions needs a lot of energy. People with lean muscle mass will use more energy for activities. By developing lean muscle mass and maintaining it, you may change your metabolic rate. (1,8)

Myth 5: With age, your metabolic rates fall

The metabolic rate of a middle-aged individual will not be the same as when he was a kid. It is not only age that is the culprit. Several other factors are responsible, like the lifestyle changes that occur with age. As you age, exercise goes on a back foot. You may often spend more time in sedentary activities, thereby gaining more fat than muscles. Therefore, weight gain is also a reason that reduces your metabolic rate. As a result, metabolic health gets affected. Regular exercise, smaller food portions, protein intake, and lean muscle mass can help maintain metabolic rates. There is only little truth that age will affect metabolic rate, don’t blame it completely on your age. (1) So, staying active and incorporating strength training into your exercise routine will help you boost your metabolism.

Bottomline

Don’t be let down by the wrong myths about metabolic health. Our metabolism is continuously functioning on a day-to-day basis, and our body is constantly breaking down food and storing the nutrition. Eating the right type and quantity of food, regular exercise, building muscle mass, and staying active help improve your metabolic health.

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