Can You Really Boost Your Metabolism?

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Often times, we are told the way to get in shape and lose weight is to choose foods that “boost your metabolism”—i.e., help you burn more calories or burn them more quickly. It seems almost too good to be true. Choose the right foods, earn more leisure time and less time in the gym and still get the same great results? Is there any truth to this? Studies show that there are, in fact, specific  antioxidants and compounds found within certain foods and beverages that may help your body burn off some  excess fat. Of course, the best way to stay in shape is to eat a balanced diet and take part in some form of regular physical activity, but if you’re on the hunt for a boost to your regimen, consider the tips below!

Metabolism boosting power not only comes from what you eat, but also what you drink. Green tea contains catechins, antioxidants that are rapidly and extensively metabolized to help trigger the release of fat from cells (1,3). These catechins give your body the extra push to metabolize the food you eat throughout the day, making it easier to get the nutrients you need and get rid of what you don’t (e.g., excess fat!).

Another beverage  that has been shown to temporarily boost metabolism by up to 30% is water. One study showed that within 10 minutes, participants’ metabolism was notably boosted after drinking 500 ml (one standard bottle) of water (4). This response lasted for up to one hour, and is likely associated with the activation of adrenaline receptors. Though the metabolism boosting mechanisms of the two drinks are different, both are proven to give your body a hand in breaking down the foods you consume. While it’s not all in what you drink, adding more water is almost always beneficial, and adding a cup of green tea to your daily routine may add some spark to your balanced diet and exercise routine.

Making your body work a little harder also boosts your metabolism, and this extra work is easier than you may think. Registered Dietitian Lisa Jubilee suggests giving your body a kick and  adding some flare to your work day by  standing up at your desk for a few hours per day. It’s estimated that those who stand, rather than sit, at work burn an extra 50 calories per hour, which definitely adds up for those who work 8 hour days.

Sources:

1.    http://www.eatthis.com/best-ways-to-speed-up-your-metabolism

2.    http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20746339,00.html

3.   http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10408690390826464

4.   http://press.endocrine.org/doi/full/10.1210/jc.2003-030780

 

Combating A Slowing Metabolism as We Age

Avocado baked egg anyone? Eating high-quality protein foods can help build your muscles and increase your metabolism.

Avocado baked egg anyone? Eating high-quality protein foods can help build your muscles and increase your metabolism.

As we all grow older, many of us may wonder how age affects our weight, body, skin, and metabolism. Most of us are already familiar with metabolism since it is linked to weight loss. You or someone you know has probably even blamed a slow metabolism for his or her weight gain. Instead of speculating, it’s best to get into the details of metabolism, and its relation to weight - and finally answer the question: Can we control our metabolism, as we get older to prevent weight gain?

Metabolism is how the body uses food as energy and then burns that energy to keep you fueled throughout the day. It is affected by three major factors:

 Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR): The amount of energy (calories) needed to maintain homeostasis.

Food thermogenesis: The number of calories used up to digest and absorb food.

Activity level: The number of calories used to fuel the body during exercise.

Basal metabolic rate is largely determined  by gender, age, height, and weight. The calories needed to maintain this metabolic rate accounts for 60% of total calories burned each day. Basal metabolic rate (or BMR) is naturally at its highest during childhood and adolescence. But as we grow into adulthood, it begins to level off which can lead to weight gain if the diet and exercise level is not adjusted properly.

Aging takes a toll on the thyroid gland, the body’s central control for metabolism, which can in return slow metabolism and increase your chances of weight gain. Starting around age 30, the body’s metabolism naturally begins to slow down, and it slows by about 5% every 10 years after age 40 (1). This is usually due to the fact that our bodies tend to lose muscle and gain fat as we age. Gender also plays a role in determining metabolic rate, as women naturally have slower metabolisms than men. Men tend to have more muscle mass, meaning they require more calories on average.

So, the age-old question now becomes: what can we all do to combat a slowing metabolism as we age? The answer begins with the following three suggestions:

Build Lean Muscle Mass: As your BMR accounts for so much of your total energy consumption, it is important to preserve or even increase your lean muscle mass through exercise, especially strength and resistance training. Aim to strength train 2-3 times per week since consistently building up muscle mass will burn those extra calories. Doing high-intensity cardio exercises along with this helps produce an “after-burn’ where you burns extra calories even after your workout (3). If you currently have a disability and need to practice low-impact activities, begin with exercises like  chair yoga, walking up hill, Pilates, cycling or aqua aerobics.

Eat Well and Eat Often: In order to lose weight, you need to consume the right amount of calories for your body. The key is not to over eat or drastically under eat for your BMR. Eating too little can cause dips in blood glucose levels and glucose is the fuel to feed your brain. In order to gain lean muscle mass, you must eat enough nutrients for muscle growth. A good habit is to eat smaller meals with 100-200 calories snacks in between to keep blood-sugar levels balanced since they tend to fluctuate every three hours (3). Stick to a moderate calorie diet with plenty of protein-rich foods to promote muscle growth and strength. Some common sources of high-quality protein include: chicken, turkey, quinoa, beef, seafood, eggs, cottage cheese and tofu.

Don’t Skip the Sleep: Sleeping less than 7 to 8 hours a sleep per night may cause you to consume more calories the next day. According to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a single sleepless night reduces your resting metabolic rate by about five percent several hours into the next day (3). Simply put: more sleep equates to a higher metabolism so turn off that iPhone early at night and hit the sack for some quality rest.

 

References

(1) http://women.smokefree.gov/smoking-and-weight-the-basics/4-things-that-affect-your-metabolism.aspx

 

(2) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2929498/

 

(3) http://magazine.foxnews.com/food-wellness/how-boost-your-metabolism-after-40

 

(4) http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/fitness/Pages/Lowimpact.aspx

 

 

Best Things to Eat Before, After, and During Workouts

Have you ever wondered why you haven’t got those gym results you’ve been working so hard for, or why you get so tired during a workout?? This is a question that a lot of us come across, especially when we don’t know much about nutrition and fitness. You don’t have to have a degree in nutrition to know how to fuel your body properly, but you should know about the two macronutrients that are important as pre and post workout fuel: carbohydrates and protein.

Carbohydrates (“carbs”) are great sources of fuel for our bodies. When consumed, carbs break down into glucose, travel through our bloodstream, and get used for energy while the rest gets stored as glycogen in muscle and the liver. It’s important to build up glycogen stores prior to exercise so that our bodies have enough energy to power through a workout.

In addition to carbs, protein plays several roles in the body, including the repair of damaged cells, immune system maintenance, enzyme activity, and production of hormones, tissues, and muscle. It is great fuel source post workout, when muscle fibers are damaged and need to be rebuilt up.

Before A Workout

Prior to a workout, you want to fuel your body so it’s ready to perform at its peak level. Our bodies are like vehicles; in order for it to run properly, it needs proper fuel. In order for our bodies to perform at their optimal levels, we need carbohydrates. It is always good to have some protein along with the carb before a workout, but remember - keep the portion size fairly small. Eating a lot of food right before exercising can cause GI discomfort, so it will be hard to perform well.

These snacks will help you get through your workout feeling energized and let you be able to perform past moments of usual fatigue.

 

Apple + Nut Butter

Nut + Dried Fruit

Greek Yogurt + Fresh Fruit

Banana + Peanut Butter Sandwich

Oatmeal + Almonds + Fruit

Fruit + Cottage Cheese

 

During A Workout

During a game or a long workout ( >2 hrs) your body needs something that can be absorbed quickly and give you that energy boost you need so you can continue to perform without feeling sluggish. Here are some examples of easy snacks to eat during a long, endurance workout:

 

Fresh Fruit

Fruit Gummies

Juice

Energy Gel

Sports Drink

 

After A Workout

After a workout your muscle fibers are desperate for repair and glycogen stores are low.  Delaying nutrient consumption after exercise can affect muscular gains. Carbohydrates and protein at a ratio of 3:1 has been proven to benefit the body more post workout than eating carbohydrates alone. A carb/protein snack is best to be consumed within 15-30 minutes after exercise, and a full meal 3-4 hours later. The 30 minutes after a workout is called the “Anabolic Window.” It’s known to be the prime time for muscle development. Studies have showed that eating protein along with carbohydrate 30 minutes post workout increases fat free mass and glycogen stores 50% more than eating carbohydrate alone and two hours later.

These carb + protein snacks will help you recover from a strenuous workout. Don’t forget to eat a nutritious filled meal 3-4 hrs later to further enhance repair and fat free mass growth!

 

Whey Protein + Fruit Smoothie

Chocolate Milk

String Cheese + Apple

Tuna + Crackers

Boiled Eggs + Toast

Protein Pancakes

 

 

 

http://www.eatright.org/resource/fitness/exercise/exercise-nutrition/timing-your-nutrition

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20048505

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6571232

http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/whey-protein-recover-faster-7396.html

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3577439/

http://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1550-2783-5-17

 

LEAN BODY MASS & STRENGTH ENHANCEMENT SUPPLEMENTS

Many more people these days are concerned about their health and often find themselves standing in the nutrition supplements aisle at the store, starring and trying to decide on the right product. This objective can be tricky and a waste of money if you haven’t done your research. The sports nutrition supplements industry is skyrocketing and has just begun. This industry is predicted to double its revenue of $32 billion in 2021. Sports nutrition supplements’ customers used to be only gym rats and men, but now there are just as much women and “everyday” people interested in supplements. With all these new customers, more and more people are unknowledgeable about nutritional supplements and their uses. Beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate and beta-alanine are two supplements that have become the most popular in the sports nutrition world and have been studied for over ten years. These two supplements have been researched and proven to provide ergogenic effects such as building muscle mass and enhancing performance.

 

BETA-HYDROXY-BETA-METHYLBUTYRATE (HMB)

HMB is a derivative of the amino acid leucine. Therefore, HMB is found in foods with leucine, but in very small amounts (meat, catfish & citrus fruit). HMB has several physiological functions. It has been found to decrease levels of creatine kinase and lactate dehydrogenase (indicators of muscle damage and soreness) after resistance training. It reduces protein breakdown by interfering in two of the skeletal muscle cells catabolic pathways. HMB also enhances fat oxidation, and stimulates protein synthesis, thus producing an increase in lean body mass. HMB has greater results if consumed in a daily dose of 3g. Post ingestion, HMB reaches peak levels at 2.5 – 3.5 hours. Bioavailability does not increase if paired with another, if taken with glucose, it will slow digestion and absorption. For the best results HMB should be consumed little by little throughout the day in addition to practice of resistance exercise.

Benefits of Supplementing with HMB

1) Increase in Lean Body Mass

2) Increase of Strength

3) Reduction of Muscle Damage

4) Decrease of Muscle Soreness

 

BETA-ALANINE

Beta-alanine is an amino acid that is produced by our bodies naturally and enhances muscle carnosine concentrations. Studies have shown that 4-6g/day of beta-alanine for 4-10 weeks increases muscle carnosine by 60-80%. Carnosine delays muscle fatigue by neutralizing acid accumulated in the muscle as a result of high-intensity exercise. This is the muscles buffer capacity, which beta-alanine is 7-10% composed of and increases with highly trained athletes. Therefore, beta-alanine helps us to surpass restrained exercise performance. Beta-alanine’s mechanisms for its other results (increase in endurance, training volume, etc.) are still being studied. Beta-alanine can be paired with another ergogenic aid (creatine, multi-ingredient, or sodium bicarbonate) to enhance its properties and can be found in protein-rich foods such as, poultry, pork, meat, and fish. The side effect parethesia (tingling) has been found as a result of beta-alanine consumption. If this may happen, a low dose of 1.6g/day of beta-alanine for a long duration is recommended.

Benefits of Supplementing with Beta-Alanine

1) Improves Training Volume

2) Decreases Muscle Fatigue

3) Increases Lean Body Mass

4) Increases Muscular Endurance

 

US Ranked Best Overall Diet for 2015 - DASH Diet

 

Blood pressure is known to fluctuate throughout the day. When blood pressure on artery walls resume at a high level over time it causes arteries to harden and forces the heart to work extra hard to pump blood. This is high blood pressure, or hypertension (anything over 120/80 mmHg). 

Out of thirty-eight diet plans, the DASH Diet has been ranked as the “Best Overall Diet" by the US News & World Report of 2015 for the sixth year in a row. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute helped to develop the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Diet which was created to help prevent and decrease hypertension. After much research, the DASH Diet has been found to reduce the risk of numerous diseases: stroke, heart disease, some cancers, heart failure, diabetes, and kidney stones. 

The DASH diet consists of whole grains, low-fat dairy, fruits, vegetables, nuts, poultry, plant-based protein, and fish. It focuses on 2,000 calories/day, low sodium (1500-2300 mg/day), and is rich in fiber, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. DASH Diet cuts out the food that the usual “American” diet consists of: red meat, added fat, processed foods, and sugary sweets. Be sure to include physical activity along with your diet as research has found the DASH Diet plus weight loss and exercise to produce a greater drop in blood pressure compared to dieting alone.

**Speak with you doctor about your blood pressure medication if interested in the DASH Diet plan.

 

DASH Diet

● Low-fat or Fat-Free Dairy Products (2-3 servings/day)

● Fruits (4-5 servings/day)

● Vegetables (4-5 servings/day)

● Fish/Lean Meat/Poultry (6 oz/day or less)

● Whole Grains (7-8 servings/day)

● Nuts/Beans/Legumes (4-5 servings/week)

● Fats & Oils (2-3 servings/day)

● Sweets (5/week or less)

 

Consumption of these large servings may be a little overwhelming at first, but ease into this diet as you should any other. Gradually increasing your servings will come easier than drastically changing your diet all at once.

 

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/857014
http://www.latintimes.com/dash-diet-10-things-know-about-best-nutritional-plan-2016-362899
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/857014
http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/docs/public/heart/new_dash.pdf