Metabolism: Facts vs. Myths

by in Healthy Tips, April 5, 2013

Lifestyle and its impact on metabolism is always a hot topic. Find out what really affects how your body runs.

Myth: Eating at night causes weight gain
There’s no magical evening hour where foods just turn to fat. Once your calorie intake exceeds expenditure you can put on the pounds — no matter what time of day. On the other hand, if you need more calories after dinner, have a light and sensible snack.

Myth: Eat spicy foods to burn calories
There’s an element of some spicy foods (like chili peppers) that may help suppress appetite and create a short-lived increase in body heat. BUT don’t rely on these tactics to shed pounds – they could do more harm than good, especially if you’re prone to heartburn.

Fact: Eating throughout the day fuels metabolism
Eating sensibly throughout the day keeps energy and blood sugar levels more stable. This can also help prevent overeating later in the day.

Myth: Green tea revs up metabolism
With plenty of antioxidants to offer, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a daily dose of green tea. While rumors swirl about the weight loss benefits, numerous studies have failed to find solid evidence. The caffeine found in green tea might give you a quick boost, but it’s no magic bullet.

Fact: Exercise boosts metabolism
It’s fairly simple: exercise raises heart rate and higher heart rate means more calories burned. Folks who exercise at high intensity can reap the benefits after exercise has ended according to a 2011 study. Need more incentive to get moving? Another study found that women who don’t get enough exercise are at greater risk for Metabolic Syndrome, a combination of several risk factors for chronic disease such as high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.

Myth: Skinny people have a faster metabolism
Skinny doesn’t always mean faster (metabolically speaking) or healthier – thin folks are at risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes as well. Genetics can play a role in your metabolic rate and that will affect how efficiently (or inefficiently) calories are burned they burn calories, no matter what your body type.

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana’s full bio »

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