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The Truth about Metabolism Boosters

If you are on the market for a weight loss supplement, you are going to be inundated with products claiming to “boost your metabolism instantly!”  The way that these weight loss supplements phrase it, you would think that your metabolism is the speed gauge on a car; to get a faster metabolism, you just need to press the accelerator.  The reality is that metabolism is much more complex than a speed gauge and it takes more than a weight loss pill to boost your metabolism.

Metabolism 101

Metabolism is not how fast you burn calories or food.  Rather, metabolism is how efficiently your body uses energy. Metabolic rate is regulated by numerous factors including natural chemicals, your activity level, and your body mass.  Your overall health is very important for maintaining metabolic rate.  If your body becomes deprived of essential nutrients or you become dehydrated, your metabolic rate will suffer.

What Metabolism Boosters Do

Most metabolism boosters are some type of stimulant, like caffeine from green tea or other “natural” weight loss supplements.  A new genre of non-stimulant metabolism boosters is becoming popular. They are called thermogenic supplements (thermogenic supplements: the hottest new weight loss pills) and work by increasing your body temperature so your body has to use more energy for heat. When you increase your metabolism, you will burn more calories for energy.  Thus, you not only will lose weight but also have more energy. Unfortunately, these benefits usually don’t last into the long term and could actually hinder your weight loss goals for the future.

Stimulant weight loss supplements (stimulant weight loss supplements: are they really going to shed fat from your body?) are particularly bad for the metabolism in the long run.  When you take a stimulant metabolism booster, your body eventually gets used to the effects of the supplement and develops a dependency.  A dependency is a physical condition in which your body needs a substance to function normally. Without the stimulant to keep your metabolism at its new normal, your metabolic rate will decline.  Another withdrawal effect of stimulants is that they cause increased appetite.  The combination of a slowed metabolism and increased appetite means that weight gain is almost inevitable when you stop taking a stimulant supplement for weight loss.  Non-stimulant thermogenic supplements do not have these potential side effects.  However, their effectiveness is debatable when it comes to significantly increasing metabolism.

When taken as directed along with a healthy diet and exercise plan, metabolism boosters can be effective tools in supporting weight loss. The key to remember though, is that a metabolism booster is not a weight loss solution; it should only supplement your existing weight-loss plan.

Exercise, Nutrition and Hydration are Key

To really increase your metabolic rate, the best solution is to first focus on nutrition and hydration.  Simply put, your body functions better when it has all the nutrients and water it needs to be healthy.  Exercise is another great way to increase your metabolic rate.  To get the best weight loss benefits from exercise, you should eat something light and then perform your workout.  When you exercise on an empty stomach, your body may break down muscle for fuel instead of fat.  When you give your metabolism a bit of fuel to run on, it will break down fat reserves instead of muscle once the fuel has run out.

Increased Muscle Mass = Increased Metabolism

If you want to increase your metabolism over the long run, you may be better off opting for a protein supplement instead of a declared metabolism booster.  While protein supplements won’t directly help you lose weight, they do support a long-term increase in metabolic rate.  The reason for this is because metabolism is directly linked to body mass.

The more mass your body has, the more energy it will expend daily.  So, if you have a mass of 180 pounds, your metabolism will go faster than when it has 160 pounds.  When you lose weight, your body will not need as much energy to sustain itself so your metabolic rate will decline.  This is the reason why so many people lose weight easily when they start a weight-loss plan and then have so much trouble getting off those last few pounds.

Instead of just focusing on shedding weight, you should be focusing on decreasing fat while increasing lean muscle.  On average, a pound of fat will burn about 2-3 calories per day whereas a pound of muscle will burn about 10 calories.  By taking a protein supplement and also going exercises for developing muscle (not just fat burning exercises), you can help keep your metabolic rate high over the long run in a way that metabolism boosters cannot.

References:

Bryant, Doctor Cedric X. “Q: One of the more common perceptions in some fitness circles is that strength training individuals lose weight because one pound of muscle can burn approximately 30-50 calories per day. Is this claim valid?” Acefitness.org. The American Council on Exercise. Mar/Apr 2006. Web.

Gibson-Moore, H. “Do slimming supplements work?” Nutrition Bulletin 35.4 (Dec 2010): 300-303. Web.

Darveau, Charles A., Raul K. Suarez, Russel D. Andrews, and Peter W. Hochachka. “Allometric cascade as a unifying principle of body mass effects on metabolism.” Nature 417 (May 2002): 166-170. Web.

DISCLAIMER

The content provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Our content is not medical advice and you should seek a licensed physician or health professional regarding all health issues. WEIGHTLOSS.US takes no responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, or application of medication which results from reading this site.