When it comes to metabolism, everything usually comes down to manipulations to speed it up with pills or green tea. But metabolism is a much more complicated process. We have gathered scientific facts that will help you better understand your metabolism and use this knowledge to lose or gain weight.

1. Metabolism takes part in every cell of your body

Many people talk about metabolism as a muscle or organ that they can control. In fact, metabolism is a series of chemical processes that convert calories from food to energy to sustain life processes, and this happens in every cell in your body.

The human body needs its energy at rest to support its own life – for breathing, circulation, and digestion of food. Different types of tissue have different needs, and to function, they need different amounts of calories. Vital organs — the brain, liver, kidneys, and heart — account for about half of the energy produced. And on the adipose tissue, digestive system and muscles – everything else.

2. You burn most of the calories at rest

Your body burns calories:

  • at rest (basal metabolism) – the energy received is used for the functioning of the body;
  • in the process of assimilation of food (known thermal effect);
  • with physical activity.

According to studies, most of the calories you burn per day are at rest during metabolic processes. Physical activity, compared with basal metabolism, accounts for a small part of energy consumption – from 10 to 30% (if you do not play sports professionally or your work does not require hard physical labor). About 10% of energy is spent on food digestion.

3. The metabolic rate can be different in different people, and the researchers don’t understand why

This is true: the metabolic rate in two people of the same height and size can vary greatly. While one person can eat anything in huge quantities and his/her weight does not change, the other person has to carefully count calories for maintaining body weight. But why this happens, scientists can’t say for sure: the mechanism of controlling metabolism has not been fully studied.

However, researchers found indicators that affect the metabolic rate: the amount of muscle and adipose tissue in the body, age and genetics (although it is also not entirely clear why some families have a higher or lower metabolic rate).

4. Metabolism slows down with age

This happens gradually with everyone, even if the ratio of muscle and adipose tissue remains the same. When you are 60, you will burn fewer calories at rest than at the age of 20. The researchers note that a gradual slowdown in metabolism begins at the age of 18.

5. You can’t significantly speed up the metabolism for weight loss

Everyone is constantly talking about how to speed up metabolism for weight loss: do sports and build muscle, eat certain foods, take supplements. But in fact, it is very difficult to do. Some foods can actually speed up metabolism, such as coffee, chili, hot spices. But the change will be so minor and short-term that it will not have any effect on your waist. Building muscle is a more effective option. The more muscle and less fat, the higher the metabolic rate. This is because muscles need more energy at rest than adipose tissue.

6. People with a slow metabolism can lose weight

Weight loss is possible with a slow metabolism. On average, 15% of people with slower metabolism, according to Mayo Clinic, shed 10% of their own weight and keep a new one. Anyone who wants to lose weight will be able to achieve this goal by changing their lifestyle. It is also important to correct your lifestyle, it will help to control weight and prevent obesity.

About the author

Amelia Grant

I am Amelia Grant, journalist, and blogger. I think that information is a great force that is able to change people’s lives for the better. That is why I feel a strong intention to share useful and important things about health self-care, wellness and other advice that may be helpful for people. Being an enthusiast of a healthy lifestyle that keeps improving my life, I wish the same for everyone.

Our attention to ourselves, to our daily routine and habits, is very important. Things that may seem insignificant, are pieces of a big puzzle called life. I want to encourage people to be more attentive to their well-being, improve every little item of it and become healthier, happier, stronger. All of us deserve that. And I really hope that my work helps to make the world better.

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