Friday, May 14, 2010


Increase Your Metabolism - wikiHow

How to Increase Your Metabolism

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

If you're trying to lose weight, increasing your metabolic rate can enable you to lose more weight without cutting more calories. The commercialism surrounding "metabolism-enhancing products" has made it difficult to separate fact from fiction (or advertising), but you can find a few research-based suggestions here.


  1. Understand what metabolism is. In the simplest terms, metabolic rate is the rate at which your body burns calories. Very few people have a fast metabolism, and overweight individuals generally have slow metabolisms.[1] However, a faster metabolism will enable you to lose more weight than your friend, even if you both have the same activity level, diet, and weight.
  2. Determine what is influencing your metabolism. There are some factors that you can control and change, and some factors that you can't.
    • Age - Metabolic rate decreases five percent per decade after age 40.[2]
    • Gender - Men generally burn calories more quickly than women because they have more muscle tissue.[2]
    • Heredity - You can inherit your metabolic rate from previous generations.[2]
    • Thyroid disorder - Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland) and hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland) can slow down or speed up metabolism, but only 3% and .3% of the population have hypo- and hyperthyroidism respectively.[3]

  3. Calculate your resting metabolic rate (RMR). RMR is often used interchangeably with basal metabolic rate (BMR). Although they are slightly different, estimating either is sufficient for the purpose of losing weight. To calculate your RMR, use the Mifflin-St Jeor equation (which is more reliable than the Harris-Benedict equation[4]). There are also calculators online that can do this for you:
    • RMR = 9.99w + 6.25s - 4.92a + 166g-161
      • w = weight in kilograms; if you know your weight in pounds, divide by 2.2 to get your weight in kilograms
      • s = height in centimeters; if you know your height in inches, multiply by 2.54 to get your height in centimeters
      • a = age in years
      • g = gender = 1 for males, 0 for females

  4. Adjust your diet accordingly. Your RMR will tell you how many calories you need to maintain your body at rest. Your daily consumption to maintain your weight should be:[5]
    • RMR x 1.15
      • E.g. RMR = 2000, so the maintenance intake is 2000 x 1.15 = 2300

    • To lose weight safely, do not exceed your maintenance intake or have a caloric intake lower than your calculated RMR.
    • Count calories by recording what you eat and looking up how many calories each food item contains (either on the food packaging or in tables provided in books or online).

  5. Eat small, frequent meals. Extending the time between meals makes your body go into "starvation mode," which decreases your metabolism as a means to conserve energy and prevent starvation. Skipping meals does not help you cut calories or lose weight; in fact, people generally eat less overall when they eat small, frequent meals. In addition to having four to six small meals per day[6], eating healthy snacks will also increase metabolism.[2]
  6. Drink iced water. As with food, depriving your body of water can encourage it to "hoard" rather than "burn". When your drink ice cold water, your body burns calories warming it to body temperature. More than ninety percent of the chemical reactions in your body occur in water, so make sure you drink an appropriate amount of water.
  7. Boost metabolism temporarily with aerobic exercise. Different activities burn different quantities of calories, but the important thing is to raise your heart rate and sustain the activity for approximately thirty minutes.
  8. Boost metabolism in the long run with weight training. Muscle burns more calories than fat does (73 more calories per kilogram per day, to be exact)[2] so the more muscle you build, the higher your resting metabolic rate (RMR) will be. Every muscle cell that you gain is like a little factory that constantly burns calories for you, even while you sleep, and revs up when you exercise. This is the only way to increase RMR, which accounts for 60 to 70 percent of the calories you burn daily.[7]





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Sources and Citations

  1. Slow Metabolism: Is It to Blame for Weight Gain?

  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6

  3. Thyroid Pathology. Auburn University. 2002. Pages 5 and 16

  4. David Frankenfield, Lori Roth-Yousey, and Charlene Compher. May 2005. Comparison of Predictive Equations for Resting Metabolic Rate in Healthy Nonobese and Obese Adults: A Systematic Review. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 105(5):775-789

  5. Sharon A. Plowman and Denise L. Smith. Exercise Physiology for Health, Fitness, and Performance. Page 236

  6. 6.0 6.1

  7. Boost Your Metabolism

  8. Diets. The Merck Manual

  9. Whole Milk at CalorieKing

  10. Skimmed Milk at CalorieKing

  11. 11.0 11.1

  12. R.C. Khanal and K.C. Olson. 2004. Factors Affecting Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) Content in Milk, Meat, and Egg: A Review. Pakistan Journal of Nutrition 3 (2): 82-98

  13. Magdalena Rosell, Niclas N. Håkansson, and Alicja Wolk. December 2006. Association between Dairy Food Consumption and Weight Change over 9 y in 19 352 Perimenopausal Women. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 84(6): 1481-1488

  14. Plain Soy Milk at CalorieKing

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Increase Your Metabolism. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

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