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Metabolism is the process of converting food into energy, or storing it as fat for future use. The rate at which this happens varies from person to person, and those with a slower metabolism tend to burn calories less efficiency, storing more as fat. This is why overweight people usually have a slower metabolism than slimmer people.
The best way to raise your metabolic rate safely is to eat a balanced diet, supplying your body with all the nutrients it needs to keep the metabolism running smoothly. Also, take regular exercise, especially anything which raises the heart rate and which helps to build and maintain muscle.
Why Calorie-Controlled Diets Often Fail
Many people follow a calorie-controlled diet to try to lose weight. They successfully lose extra pounds, only to find that in a few months time they are back to where they started, or even more overweight.
With low-calorie diets, the body sees the reduction of food as a threat and slows the metabolic rate by as much as 45 per cent.
So when you've reached your ideal weight and go back to eating normally, you end up putting the weight back on because your metabolic rate has fallen so drastically, and the body now needs less food to maintain the same weight.
Many low-calorie diets also rely on manufactured and processed low-calorie, low-fat products. These foods are often lacking in essential vitamins and minerals and have very little nutritional benefit. Not only this, but by cutting down on fats you are depriving your body of an absolutely essential food, vital for the proper absorption of other foods, and it is more likely that you will feel hungrier quicker.
Fat is a very important part of a healthy balanced diet, but it has to be the right type of fat. Good examples of healthy fats are olive oil, sesame seed oil, flaxseed oil and coconut oil. nuts, seeds and oily fish also provide beneficial essential fatty acids. The worst fats are man-made trans fats or hydrogenated fats, found in many processed foods, and should be avoided.
Blood sugar Levels
Sugar is one of the most damaging foods for the body. It affects the digestive system, causing problems such as irritable bowel syndrome, bloating, stomach cramps and weight gain. Eating too much sugar can also trigger a process caused glycation in the body. This results in stiffening tissues, and hardening joints and arteries. This is one of the main reasons for the serious health complications that are associated with diabetes.
The body is designed to run on complex carbohydrates, proteins and fats, which release energy slowly. Foods like lean meats, fish, eggs, nuts whole grains, beans, lentils, vegetables and fruit are all good choices. These foods are converted into sugar more slowly which means they provide a more consistent energy level and longer relief from hunger. This also means the body has a better chance to actually use up food rather than turning it into fat.
Vital vitamins and Minerals
The body is dependant on vitamins and minerals to be able to digest food, and break it down into sugars (or glucose) to release energy to body cells. Without these nutrients, less energy will be produced and there will be a greater tendency to lay down fat.
The transport of glucose from the blood to the cells requires vitamins B3, B6, chromium and zinc. Studies suggest that the mineral chromium enhances fat burning. Clinical evidence has found that it reduces cravings, regulates blood sugar and controls appetite. Chromium is difficult to absorb and only about 0.5 per cent of what's eaten is actually retained in the body. Good food sources of chromium are chicken, beef, whole grain bread, eggs, peppers, nuts and beans.
The further breakdown of glucose into energy requires the B vitamins, Vitamin C, plus iron and co-enzyme Q10. Co-enzyme Q10 is a compound that is naturally produced in the body. It is used to promote cell growth and protect cells from damage. The richest food sources are meat, poultry and fish, and other good sources include soya beans and nuts.
A high-fiber diet is a good way to avoid putting on weight. Fiber is an essential part of a healthy diet and is vital for the body to function properly. It slows down the rate at which glucose is absorbed from food, giving the body more time to process carbohydrates, leading to lower blood sugar levels and improved metabolism.
Fiber keeps bowels regular and prevents the digestive system from becoming sluggish. It is bulky so helps you to feel full longer.
Wheat bran is one of the least effective forms of fiber and may prevent absorption of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. The fiber present in oats, vegetables, fruit, lentils and other pulses is much more effective and kinder to the gut.
The best way to ensure you are eating all the nutrients your body requires is by eating a varied diet. This also ensures optimum absorption of nutrients. A diet based around fresh food, with plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit, whole grain cereals, fats, and some fish, poultry and meat, will provide all the protein, fats, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins and minerals the body needs.
Cut the Calories
One of the main reasons for being overweight is eating too much and exercising too little. If you want to lose weight, you have to eat less, and once you've lost weight, you have to keep on eating less.
Studies suggest that a lower calorie diet is associated with a longer, healthier life, with a delayed onset of disease. Researchers have also found that limiting calories slows down age-related muscle loss. They have linked their findings with the fact that restricting calories may lower the production of harmful free radicals.
So instead of dieting and restricting calorie intake to help shed those extra pounds, adopt a healthy lifestyle by changing your eating habits and becoming more active.
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