Our Nutrition and the Effect on Metabolism

30 June, 2019
The metabolism is related to muscle mass and weight control. Sometimes we make mistakes with our nutrition, but it's important to correct them and keep on learning about it.
 

Metabolism is a set of processes that depend on each other and continuously produce cells. Consequently, it’s a big topic to consider when we’re trying to lose or gain weight and start a new diet. Additionally, we now know that nutrition has an important effect on metabolism.

Metabolism and weight

Surely, you’ve seen the word “metabolism” thrown around in many situations. For example, when we’re trying to lose weight, getting a good night’s sleep, or even in cases of overeating.

People say that a slow metabolism is a cause when they can’t lose weight. Therefore, a fast metabolism is when we don’t see the effect of the food we eat in our bodies. And so, the daily burn of kilocalories depends on the basal metabolism. In other words, the energy we spend on a resting period for the basic operation of the body.

However, did you know that this depends on the muscle mass in the body? And so, if we have high muscle mass, we’ll burn more calories, and therefore, lose weight faster.

One of the main mistakes people make when they analyze nutrition and its effect on metabolism are related to “restrictive diets“. If we lack nutrients and calories, the metabolism slows down and the body doesn’t store fat.

Nonetheless, when we start eating normally, the body creates excess calories because the metabolism is still slow. When this happens we encounter the rebound effect, gaining weight more quickly.

Therefore, this means that the best way to lose weight and keep it off is to have a constantly fast metabolism. So, how can we achieve this? The answer is simple but not very intuitive. Just eat everything, but in smaller quantities.

 
Thin woman with a fast metabolism

Myths and facts about nutrition and its effect on metabolism

The metabolism of our body is a natural process through which our body works to satisfy basic energy needs. We can’t blame it for not losing weight, as many seem to do when they’re in that situation.

And so, there are certain myths, among them is if you have a slow metabolism, you’ll be overweight your whole life. This is completely false!

Here are some other myths you should know about the effects on metabolism.

1. Metabolism slows down with age

People say that after 35 years old, your metabolism slows down and as a consequence, it’s harder to lose weight. However, as we said, muscle mass has a direct effect on metabolism, and we do lose muscle with age. The solution to this problem is quite simple: go out and exercise to increase your muscle mass.

2. You must eat five times a day to activate the metabolism

We’ve all heard that we should eat five times a day and that this is the base of any good nutrition plan. However, instead of eating five meals, we should just concentrate on eating every three to four hours. This way, we won’t use muscle mass as a source of energy and slow down the metabolism.

 

Additionally, by doing this we avoid being as hungry by the next meal time arrives and therefore reducing the amount of food we eat.

3. Some foods have a certain effect on metabolism

In reality, we can’t talk about foods, but we can talk about nutrients. Therefore, low-fat proteins are the best way to maintain or increase muscle mass. And so, if we add some physical activity to this, we can make our metabolisms speed up.

4. Breakfast can affect metabolism

The advice that says that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, is completely true. A healthy, strong breakfast has a great effect on metabolism, keeping it high for a long time. Consequently, fasting for long periods of time make the body use muscle mass as a fuel source. Thereby slowing down the basal metabolism.

A positive effect on metabolism

Turns out that the body is a precise clock, and we need to pay close attention to give it all it needs. Since we are diurnal beings, our metabolisms tend to be more active during the day than at night.

How can we help the metabolism speed up?

Thus, if you eat too much at night, your body won’t be able to process all that food. Consequently, you’ll probably gain a few extra pounds here. Remember that your body doesn’t burn fat when it’s asleep.

 

Meanwhile, we recommend that you eat within a 12-hour window during the day. This is about the same amount of time we’re active. And so, for example, if you start your day at 8 am, your last meal will be at 8 pm. Also, remember to eat a meal every three to four hours.

Although there are certain internal factors that we can’t modify, we can alter other ones to balance things out. Thus, we recommend exercising regularly, mainly aerobic exercises to reach this objective.

And so, cardio exercises are a great way to burn calories and weight training is perfect to increase muscle mass. Therefore, balancing your routine with these two types is great for your main objective.

 
  • Roach, B., Dominiczak, M., Horton Szar, D. (2013). Lo esencial en metabolismo y nutrición. In Lo esencial en metabolismo y nutrición. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781107415324.004