What Is Metabolic Rate
Your metabolic ratealso called basal metabolic rate or resting metabolic rate is the amount of energy needed to power basic bodily functions. These functions include heartbeat, breathing, brainpower, and all other processes that keep you alive.
Depending on how active you are, about 60% to 70% of daily energy expenditure goes towards RMR and the rest towards physical activity. Spontaneous physical activity , is a decent chunk of the total, about 10%. Fidgety people burn more calories.
Metabolic rate is closely tied to weight regulation. The lower your metabolic rate, the fewer calories you burn, the more weight you gain when you eat X number of calories.
This is overly simplistic, of course. When it comes to gaining or losing weight, a fat calorie has different effects than a carbohydrate calorie. And you have to account for leptin, insulin, and a bunch of other hormones.
Thats for another post. For now, lets accept this basic principle: If you eat more calories than your metabolism uses, you will generally gain weight.
The opposite is also true. If you eat less than your metabolism uses, you will generally lose weight.
Put even more simply: If the energy in doesnt equal energy out, your weight will change. This concept is called energy balance.
Many experts have seized upon this principleignoring all other variablesto design their weight loss programs. These programs are typically calorie restriction diets, and they work for weight loss.
May Increase Your Life Span
There are several reasons that intermittent fasting may positively impact our life span weight loss, decreased blood pressure, and most of the benefits we listed above may all contribute to prolonging our life while also increase our quality of life at the same time.
Intermittent fasting has been found to affect longevity in animal studies, having beneficial effects on life span and markets for health, stress, metabolic response, and age-related diseases .
These findings are hard to confirm in human trials as there are many factors that affect epidemiological studies and many different types of fasting. But at the end of the day, some of the benefits of intermittent fasting may increase our quality of life overall and reduce our risk of developing chronic diseases.
What Is Starvation Mode
Starvation mode is the bodys natural response to long-term reductions in calorie intake. Scientists also refer to this phenomenon as adaptive thermogenesis. When you start losing lots of weight, your body will try to conserve its energy stores by reducing the number of calories you burn. This wont prevent you from losing more weight, but it will probably slow down your weight loss a bit.
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No To Fruit Juices And Soda
Fruit juices are major culprits in gaining weight. A glass of OJ, for instance, will give you 22 grams of sugar.
Then, a sweetened cereal has over 20 grams of sugar for every bowl. Consuming a high amount of sugar will tell your metabolism to slow down. As a result, it burns fewer calories while adding more fats.
Sodas, too, can slow down your metabolism.
They are sweetened beverages containing high fructose corn syrup. But fructose cant be metabolized and turned into direct energy, unlike glucose.
In that case, if you consume a lot of sweeteners, it can surely slow down your metabolism.
How Does Intermittent Fasting Work
Intermittent fasting is a type of diet that specifies certain windows of time in which food intake is allowed, says Artur Viana, M.D., clinical director of a metabolic health and weight loss program and assistant professor of medicine at Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut. While most strategic eating plans focus on what food is consumed, intermittent fasting is all about when you eat.
It doesnt involve regulating the type of food eaten or the amount of carbohydrates, fat or protein in the food, making it unique to the mainstream diet world, according to Dr. Viana.
Most people use intermittent fasting with the goal of losing weight, says Dr. Viana. For that purpose, intermittent fasting works by ultimately decreasing the overall amount of calories somebody takes in.
Another suggested benefit is the prevention of metabolism slowdown that can occur with weight loss, but it hasnt been proven, Dr. Viana points out. Meanwhile, other effects, such as improvement in cardiometabolic parameters like hypertension, dont differ much from other forms of calorie restriction, like traditional dieting, according to Dr. Viana.
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The Ramadan Fast: A Shift From Normal Eating Patterns
A typical eating pattern in most cultures includes three main meals, often accompanied by snacks in between . Alterations in this normal pattern can have important implications to energy balance. Some of the more common fasting regimens include intermittent fasting , periodic fasting and time restricted fasting .
Changes in Feeding Patterns and Energy Intake during Various Fasting Periods. The five feeding and fasting patterns are: normal feeding, , calorie restriction, intermittent fasting , Ramadan fast and prolonged fasting and starvation. Hourly Differences in Feeding Patterns between Various Fasting Models: hourly timings of feeding and energy intake are indicated per day in relation to fasting periods and reflected in glycaemic control . , Daily and Weekly Differences in Feeding Patterns Between Various Fasting Models: daily and weekly feeding patterns are mapped against calorie intake which can be regular such as in in normal feeding , indicated by single colour arrows or a combination of low, normal or high calorie intake as in intermittent fasting , indicated by mixed colour arrows. Ramadan fast is unique as it combined low and high calorie intake as indicated by the two single colour arrows. The first week is broken down into seven individual days. Weekly indications follow thereafter.
Does Intermittent Fasting Slow Metabolism
When it comes to food, there is no shortage of debate and discussion, especially once you get onto the topic of weight loss. People often majorly disagree about the best way to lose weight along with what foods you should be eating.
One aspect of this debate is connected to intermittent fasting. This is a specific type of diet that is effective for weight loss, at least for some people.
The approach is basically a form of autophagy diet and, as a result, has an emphasis on hunger.
For example, one of the most popular versions of intermittent fasting is the 16:8 diet, where you only eat for 8 hours each day. Even though it sounds tough, many people find the diet surprisingly easy. But, one of the most comment questions is: Does intermittent fasting slow metabolism?
After all, weve all been taught that skipping meals is a bad idea because it slows down your metabolism, making weight loss harder. At the same time, the idea of grazing was promoted specifically because eating more frequently is supposed to help with metabolism.
So, whats the reality?
Does intermittent fasting slow metabolism? And, if it does, is this a diet type that you should avoid entirely?
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Ways To Boost Your Metabolism While Intermittent Fasting
If youre reading this right now, chances are youre interested in intermittent fasting for weight loss.
Now, intermittent fasting works perfectly well on its own.
But what if I told you there are secret tricks to help you burn even more fat and lose even more weight even faster? Would you try it?
I bet you would!
The key is to rev up your metabolism to help you turn your body into a fat-burning furnace of a machine!
Today Im going to share with you seven of the top metabolism-boosting tricks to use with intermittent fasting, so you can finally earn that body you crave and deserve.
*This post contains affiliate links
Intermittent Fasting And Weight Loss
Weight loss is the primary motivator for many to try intermittent fasting. Reports of weight loss of 3 to 8 percent of body weight lost in 3 to 24 weeks have been reported. For a 200-pound person, this is approximately 6 to 16 pounds. While weight loss from fasting isn’t debated, research studies vary as to whether intermittent fasting is an effective long-term dieting method.
There are other health perks though that appear to come from intermittent fasting. When compared to traditional dieting, research suggests that intermittent fasting:
- Causes greater fat loss in abdominal area
- Causes less loss of lean body mass
- Improves cholesterol numbers and fasting insulin
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What Other Stressors Are You Missing
Like we mentioned, fasting is a physiological stressor like any other and many people are going to react differently to stress.
- If youre more fat adapted then youll experience less stress from food deprivation.
- If youre less emotionally resilient, then youll interpret the fast emotionally as more stressful than it actually is, thus releasing more glucocorticoids.
- If youre not sleeping enough youll be more tired, more insulin resistant, and prone to storing food as fat.
- If youre not getting certain nutrients youll have less serotonin, which will disrupt the HPA axis even more and makes you prone to being anxious which will then again reinforce the feedback loop.
As you can see, there are many things that determine what your metabolic rate is going to be like and how many calories you have to eat to maintain your bodys functioning.
You have to know whether or not fasting is an additional stressor that exceeds the positive beneficial hormetic zone or are you simply under-adapted to a specific type of a fasting protocol.
Nibble On Dark Chocolate
In a study conducted by Swiss and German researchers, lucky participants ate about 1.5 ounces of dark chocolate daily for two weeks. Ultimately, these chocolate nibblers had lower stress-hormone levels and a more regulated metabolism than a control group. Scientists speculate that chemicals in cocoa, such as flavonoids, play a role in regulating metabolism by alleviating stress that can cause your fat-burning engines to go on the fritz. Should you think this is a license to go wild, take heed: Were talking small amounts of high-quality dark chocolate. Researchers say 1.5 ounces is enough.
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Truth About Metabolism During Fasting
Metabolism is the process of burning calories to fuel your body.
When your metabolism is high, you burn calories much more efficiently.
When your metabolism is low, youre more likely to put on some extra weight.
When you fast, youre trying to manipulate your metabolism.
But, its a little confusing to understand how it works when youre fasting.
So, Im going to first go over how your metabolism might change when youre fasting.
Why Does Starvation Mode Happen
This metabolic slowdown is the bodys way of protecting itself from starvation. If this mechanism didnt exist, humans would have been extinct a long time ago. When we lower our food intake, our bodies start to break down fat stores so they can be used for energy. Unfortunately, our bodies also start to break down a bit of muscle. Muscle is a key factor in determining metabolism or metabolic rate. When muscle is lost, metabolic rate slows down. When muscle is gained, metabolic rate goes up.
The good news is that it takes a while to get into starvation mode. Most people will only see their weight loss slow down after theyve lost about 5-10% of their initial body weight, which generally occurs after 3-6 months of fasting.
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It Can Improve Metabolic Flexibility
Another big benefit of fasting, especially for those who crave food every few hours, is associated with your metabolism. Fasting for even short periods can increase your metabolic flexibility, which is your ability to switch between burning sugar and burning fat, says Petrucci, citing research from the University of Alabama that found people who simply restricted their eating to the hours between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. became more metabolically flexibleTime-restricted feeding study shows promise in helping people shed body fat. The University of Alabama at Birmingham. Accessed 06/21/2021. . This is important, because when youre metabolically flexible, you dont crash and burn when you go for a long time between meals, she says.
Who Shouldnt Try Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting isnt for everyone. You should always check with your doctor before trying a new diet, even one thats proven to be beneficial. The following groups of people should avoid IF:
- People who suffer from diabetes or other blood sugar problems
- Children under the age of 18
- People with a history of eating disorders
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women
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Intermittent Fasting And Metabolism
Surprisingly, research suggests that the effect of intermittent fasting has the same or less negative effects on metabolism compared to traditional dieting. The reason why many think intermittent fasting improves metabolism is due to less loss of lean body mass and greater fat burning. It’s impossible to lose weight without losing a little lean body mass, but research suggests that a lower percentage of lean body mass is lost when losing weight with intermittent fasting than with traditional dieting. Preserving more lean body mass means the body’s calorie-burning slows less. At the same time, short fasting periods cause the body to tap into fat stores and burn a greater percentage of fat mass for energy.
Types Of Intermittent Fasting
The 5:2 and 16:8 approach are the most common types of intermittent fasting and differ in their daily approach.
5:2 Fasting Method: Two non-consecutive days out of the week are considered “fast days” in which only 25 percent of daily calorie needs are consumed . On the other five days, you eat at your normal calorie level. Some have taken this method one step further by doing a 4:3 approach where a “fast day” is alternated with a day of regular intake.
16:8 Fasting Method: All daily calories are eaten within an 8- to 10-hour window that you choose, but nothing is eaten the other 14 to 16 hours in the day. People often skip breakfast and choose an 8-hour eating window like 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
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Does Intermittent Fasting Cause Starvation Mode
Actually, no! And heres another bit of good news: intermittent fasting may actually help preserve muscle mass during weight loss.
With traditional dieting or calorie restriction, 25% of the weight lost is muscle mass and 75% is fat. In contrast, with intermittent fasting, only 10% of the weight lost is muscle mass and about 90% is fat. Therefore, fasting diets can actually help to retain muscle and keep your metabolism from grinding to a halt.
Pay Attention To Your Body
You want to do intermittent fasting, but your body might not be ready for it just yet.
The first fast you do, you might feel dizzy, tired, or even irritable.
It might be a good idea to start slowly.
Maybe start with an 8 hour fast and then slowly work your way up to 16 hours over the course of a few weeks.
If you happen to notice that your body isnt handling the fast well, trust your gut.
Even though breaking your fast wont help with weight loss, you dont want to destroy your body at the same time.
It might be time to break the fast if youre feeling dizzy or like you have low blood sugar.
No fast is worth possible sickness or injury.
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A Fast Is Hard To Sustain
Fasts, whether long-term or intermittent, may sound doable in theory, but in practice, hunger often gets the better of you. When you do break a fast, it’s unlikely to be with carrot sticks and plain breast of chicken — but with something like pizza or cookies. You’ll may regain the weight you worked hard to lose, and risk returning to old, unhealthy eating habits that made you gain weight in the first place.
Eating Frequently Boosts Your Metabolism
Many people believe that eating more meals increases your metabolic rate, causing your body to burn more calories overall.
Your body indeed expends some calories digesting meals. This is termed the thermic effect of food .
On average, TEF uses around 10% of your total calorie intake.
However, what matters is the total number of calories you consume not how many meals you eat.
Eating six 500-calorie meals has the same effect as eating three 1,000-calorie meals. Given an average TEF of 10%, youll burn 300 calories in both cases.
Numerous studies demonstrate that increasing or decreasing meal frequency does not affect total calories burned (
One study that compared eating three or six high-protein meals per day found that eating three meals reduced hunger more effectively .
That said, responses may depend on the individual. If frequent eating reduces your cravings, its probably a good idea. Still, theres no evidence that snacking or eating more often reduces hunger for everyone.
SUMMARY Theres no consistent evidence that eating more often reduces overall hunger or calorie intake. Rather, some studies show that smaller, more frequent meals increase hunger.
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Frequent Meals Can Help You Lose Weight
Since eating more frequently doesnt boost your metabolism, it likewise doesnt have any effect on weight loss .
Indeed, a study in 16 adults with obesity compared the effects of eating 3 and 6 meals per day and found no difference in weight, fat loss, or appetite .
Some people claim that eating often makes it harder for them to adhere to a healthy diet. However, if you find that eating more often makes it easier for you to eat fewer calories and less junk food, feel free to stick with it.
SUMMARY Theres no evidence that changing your meal frequency helps you lose weight.