Metabolism is a term used to describe all chemical processes in the body that are to do with maintaining the living cells. Usually, when talking about metabolism, the term refers to how quickly we digest and process food. This is the metabolic rate. People with a higher metabolic rate have more chemical processes happening, so require more energy. This means they tend to eat more because the food gets digested and turned into energy. If you have a lower metabolic rate this food gets digested and stored as fat. Metabolism is affected by a number of things such as your weight, your age, your gender and even the time of day!
But what non-circumstantial events and activities affect your metabolism?
Your thyroid is the gland that is responsible for producing the hormone thyroxine. It is this hormone that helps regulate your metabolism so you burn as much energy as you need. Normally it can tell what your metabolic rate should be but there are various medical conditions that can cause it to go out of whack. If it gets bigger it will produce too much thyroxine causing you to gain weight and if it shrinks the opposite happens. You sometimes hear people in movies say they're overweight because of glandular problems. This is the thyroid. So it could well be true, but there are a lot of other more likely reasons that could also account for weight gain...
Does having more muscles give you a higher metabolism?
According to Claude Bouchard of the Pennington Biomedical Research Centre, a pound of muscle burns 3 times more calories than a pound of fat while at rest. So yes having more muscle will give you a higher metabolism. However, the difference is only 3 calories per pound to 10 calories per pound. So gaining 3-5 pounds of muscles will result in about an extra 30-50 calories a day being burned. But over the course of years, this will have a big effect.
What about when you exercise?
When you exercise you use up glucose stored in the muscles. When you finish this glucose needs replacing so your metabolism gets faster to help repair. Your muscles also need to repair which uses up calories. I talked before about high-intensity interval training when I discussed how HIIT leads you to an oxygen deficit. This then leads to your metabolism increasing to help replenish your body.
Drinking 500 ml of water can increase the metabolic rate by 30% according to an article in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. This means that if you drink 2 litres of water you will burn around an extra 100 calories a day. Again this doesn't seem like much but this is the same as 2.4kg of fat being burnt off in a single year!
Caffeine does increase your metabolic rate. It has the chemical epinephrine which sends a signal to your fat cells telling them to breakdown and release into your blood. But coffee and tea themselves have calories and a whole host of other possible side effects so its not the best way to increase your metabolism.
Green tea is a popular part of diets that's meant to aid weight loss and promote a faster metabolic rate. The studies that have been done on green tea and metabolism have produced mixed results.However, water increases your metabolism so a glass of water with some stewed leaves in it is bound to as well right? Also hot drinks do burn more calories because your body needs to work to cool you down after the drink has heated you up.
So overall there are a lot of factors that play a role in your metabolism. Since it can only be measured with specialist equipment and controlled experiments, I think it's best not to think about it and simply let nature run its course! And before you go be sure to give Flat Calm Livings Facebook page a like!