Common Myths about Metabolism

Metabolism – the mysterious word we throw out there with either words of praise or words of frustration depending on which way our weight is headed. If we can’t lose weight, despite what weight loss busting activities we may be engaging in, then it’s because we have a “slow metabolism”. If we are losing weight then some of that success is attributed to a “faster metabolism”. Either way, it’s obvious, that metabolism is playing a big role in our weight loss efforts.

Can eating spicy foods containing chile pepper really increase metabolism? Find out the answers to this and many of the common myths about metabolism.

Can eating spicy foods containing chile pepper really increase metabolism? Find out the answer below.

Metabolism is simply the amount of calories your body burns every day. This amount can fluctuate greatly depending on your activity level, diet and the amount of muscle you have. In the weight loss world there is a lot of focus on using certain techniques to boost metabolism, thus helping your body burn more calories each day. Some of these are based on facts, while others are based on myths. So today’s post is about exploring some of the common myths about metabolism so that we can judge for ourselves whether some of these techniques will be of benefit or not.

Common Myths about Metabolism

Overweight people have a slower metabolism than thinner people – FALSE. It turns out that people who are overweight or obese actually have a higher metabolism than people who are much thinner. The reason is because their bodies have larger muscles and organs that require more energy to function, even at rest. (I feel like I owe the skinny mini in my office and apology – I have been cursing her fast metabolism for years, lol.)

Weight loss makes your metabolism run slower – TRUE. It is estimated that for every pound of body fat you lose your metabolism slows down by 2-10 calories a day. So if you reach your weight loss goal of losing 20 pounds, then you will have to consume up to 200 calories less per day in addition to sticking with your current diet just to maintain your weight loss.

Fasting, skipping meals and starvation diets slow down metabolism – TRUE. These types of eating habits cause the body to conserve energy, not release it. This is why it is recommended that you eat small meals consistently throughout the day as this helps to keep your metabolism running efficiently.

Consuming cold beverages and food increases metabolism – TRUE. Well, don’t get too excited because the effect is rather small (only about 10 calories a day), but drinking ice-cold beverages or eating ice-cold foods do require the body to burn a few extra calories.

Eating protein increases metabolism – TRUE. Protein requires your body to use more energy to break it down and digest it. It is estimated that it takes your body twice as many calories to digest protein as it does to digest carbohydrates.

The more muscle you have the faster your metabolism will be – TRUE. Lean muscle burns calories even when your body is at rest. It is estimated that by adding just 3 pounds of muscle to your body you can increase the amount of calories your body burns by 6-8%, which works out to be about 100 calories a day. Over a period of a year, this small amount of muscle gain will be responsible for helping you lose up to 10 pounds.

Drinking green tea increases metabolism – TRUE. Both green tea and oolong tea contain compounds called catechins that temporarily raise the metabolism.

Eating grapefruit helps to increase metabolism – FALSE. Eating grapefruit does not affect your metabolism, but it does have some benefits, including lots of fiber, vitamins and minerals. The fiber is particularly helpful in making you feel full for longer, which is why grapefruit is a recommended food in many diets.

PMS causes an increase in metabolism – TRUE. Typically, a woman’s body will burn up to an additional 300 calories a day during the luteal phase (time between ovulation and first day of the next period). This increase in metabolism may be masked by other PMS symptoms, such as water retention and food cravings that will cover up any evidence that your body is burning more calories during this time (for more information, see the post “PMS Increases Metabolism and Weight Loss“).

As we get older our metabolism slows down – TRUE. Hormonal changes, a loss of muscle mass and a less active lifestyle all contribute to your metabolism slowing down as you age.

Eating spicy foods increases metabolism – TRUE. Although the effect is only temporary, eating foods spiced with chile peppers that contain the compound capsaicin can increase the metabolism as high as 20%.

Keeping your body hydrated increases metabolism – TRUE. The many chemical reactions involved in metabolism all require water. If you are dehydrated your metabolism will not run as efficiently.

Other Related Posts and Articles you May Find Interesting: “Five Ways to Naturally Increase Metabolism”, “How to Speed Up Metabolism”, “What Causes a Slow Metabolism” and “How Dehydration Affects Metabolism”.


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