Did you know you can boost your metabolism by eating a high fiber diet?
We heard many people blame their weight gain on a slow meta-bolism, but is it really true? Can a healthy fiber diet boost your meta bolism? When it comes to losing weight, metabolism is one of the most common words discussed by fitness and nutrition pros. Unfortunately, it is not surprising that there’s a lot of misinformation about how meta-bolism can hinder or help weight loss.
What is Metabolism?
Basic metabolism is a chemical process of converting the food you eat into energy. During this process, the calories in beverages and food are combined with oxygen to create the fuel your body needs. Even when at rest, your body still needs energy for all “hidden processes” such as digestion, blood circulation, breathing, growing, repairing cells, and regulating hormones.
The amount of calories your body needs to perform these basic functions is called the “basal metabolic rate,” which is what we call commonly “metabolism.”
Anabolism vs. Catabolism
Meta-bolism has two components or phases – catabolism and anabolism.
Throughout the day, the body experiences anabolic or catabolic states. Anabolism is the process that promotes the building of tissues and organs as well as the repair of damaged tissues. Catabolism is the degradative reaction that breaks down tissues and molecules.
Both processes are needed to keep a healthy body. In the catabolic state, the body breaks down large molecules from muscle tissues to release energy. In the anabolic state, the body utilizes energy to repair muscle tissues, grow new cells, and maintain healthy tissues.
Without anabolism, we wouldn’t recover from a strenuous workout, repair and regenerate muscle tissues. Without catabolism, we won’t have the energy to perform our daily activities. Both processes are essential, but what makes the difference is the duration of each of these metabolic states.
Top 3 Common Metabolism Myths
We generally want to improve metabolism. However, finding a reliable approach is not that simple. I will unravel the common metabolism myths to unveil what the research says about how to boost it.
Myth #1: Your resting metabolic rate is not affected by diet
False. A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed that consuming more fiber-rich foods can help increase weight loss and boost resting metabolic rate (RMR).
The study participants included 81 men and women who were given a whole food diet rich in fiber for six weeks. All drinks and food were given during the study. Participants had their stool and blood tested as well as their resting metabolic rate. At the end of the study, the high fiber group was found to pass more stools and had a higher RMR.
Since dietary fiber can’t be digested and absorbed, it takes longer to break down than other foods and requiring more calories to be burned. Fiber also binds with bile in the small intestine, blocking the absorption of excess cholesterol. Examples of high-fiber foods include flaxseed, chia seed, oats, and a leafy green vegetables.
Myth #2: Your metabolism is either fast or slow and does not change
You have probably heard this. Metabolism is like our fingerprint – it is unique for each individual. Whether metabolism is slow or fast is determined by basal metabolic rate or the number of calories a person burns while at rest. In essence, metabolism is genetic. A person with slow BMR burns fewer calories in a resting state while one with a fast BMR burns more calories even at rest.
While the body is resting, both muscle and fats burn the calories. For each pound of muscles, it burns 35 calories per day each pound of fat you burn fewer calories. If you have a slow metabolism, one way to boost your basal metabolic rate is to increase muscle density, which will help the body burn more calories.
Resistance training is an excellent way to increase your resting metabolic rate and reduce fat body fat. So even if you are “born with a slow metabolism”, you do not have to live with it.
Myth #3: Exercise only increases metabolism temporarily – while you are exercising
Have you been told this? The major part of your resting metabolism is utilized by your vital organs – the brain, liver, heart, etc. However, the biggest factor that affects your metabolism which you can control is the ratio of your lean muscle mass to body fat. Muscle burns more calories than fat since muscle requires more energy to function properly. If you have more fat, your meta-bolism will always be slower.
In order to build more lean muscle, you need to strength-train and eat properly. Exercise, particularly strength workouts, can increase your metabolism by breaking down and rebuilding muscle tissue. This process burns extra calories for up to 24 to 48 hours after every workout. When you exercise, the body actually uses calories after your workouts to cool down, recover, and normalize hormonal changes. This is called the “afterburn effect,” or medically termed as “excess post-exercise oxygen consumption.”
Struggling to lose excess weight? It could be because you have been thinking about meta bolism all wrong. Now that you know the truth behind these metabolism myths, you’ll be able to reprogram your approach to boost your metabolism and eat the right foods to get your body back on track.
References: Karl JP, Meydani M, Barnett JB, et al. (February 2017). Switching to wholegrains may boost metabolism. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/behindtheheadlines/news/2017-02-09-switching-to-wholegrains-may-boost-metabolism/  Westcott WL. (July 2012). Resistance training is medicine: effects of strength training on health. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22777332  Dr. Axe. The Afterburn Effect: How to Burn More Fat After You Exercise. Retrieved from https://draxe.com/afterburn-effect/