The types of metabolism are as individual as people. No two are alike. However, there are ways to determine how to best eat a healthy diet that suits your individual metabolism type.
Understanding what your metabolism does will go a long way toward helping you eat in a way that promotes a healthy diet and minimizes the chance that you'll gain weight. It's always best to discuss any weight concerns you might have with your doctor.
What Is Metabolism?
Your metabolism is the rate at which your body burns the calories you take in, and the rate it expends energy. Your metabolism is working even when you're sleeping by burning off the calories of the dinner you ate a few hours earlier.
Don't feel like you are limited to a lifetime of excess weight just because of your genetics. It will, however, take a long-term approach.
Types of Metabolism
Some people have fast metabolisms, others have so-called normal metabolisms and still others have slow metabolisms. It is true that those born with the genetics that cause their metabolic rate to be higher than normal will burn up calories quicker than most people, according to a January 2019 article in the journal PLoS Genetics. These people are sometimes said to have a dual efficient metabolism.
But just moving can change that metabolic path, as can eating healthy. These habits can sustain you over a lifetime. Unfortunately, however, you will see your metabolism slow as you age, according to a January 2019 article by Consumer Reports. After age 30, you can lose 3 to 8 percent of muscle mass alone per decade.
To combat this, eat enough protein. If you eat fewer calories, Consumer Reports says you may eat less protein, which can accelerate your muscle loss.
Eat More Protein
Eating more protein, especially as you get older, will help you to improve your muscle health, according to a February 2017 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Improving your muscle health will help your metabolism, According to Zhaoping Li, MD, PhD, a professor of medicine and director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition at the David Geffen School of Medicine.
Li suggests people over 55 eat about 20 grams of protein per meal, or about 20 to 25 percent of a typical meal. Use an online calculator to see how much protein the USDA recommends you eat each day, but it's about 0.8 grams per kilogram (divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 to determine your weight in kilograms), of body weight, according to a June 2015 report in Harvard Health Publishing.
A study in the June 2015 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition says that higher levels of protein help control weight by boosting metabolism and help the metabolism become more fat or protein efficient.
Food and Energy
Your metabolism converts food into energy by combining what you eat and drink with oxygen and releasing it into your body as energy. As your body rests, you are still burning calories. That's because your blood is circulating, and you are breathing. It's also the time for your cells to do some repair.
This is where your basal metabolic rate comes in. That's the amount of energy you need to exist. By eating, you are providing the fuel for that energy. So if you are more active, you will need more fuel, and thus, more calories. This is why it's so important to move more if you want to rev up your metabolism.
Eating and Training
If you add in high-intensity interval training to your protein-based diet, this will actually help to speed your metabolism, burning up the calories you've consumed at a faster pace, says an April 2018 article in Harvard Health Publishing.
This doesn't mean you have to do long periods of uncomfortable training. Short bursts of activity, about 30 seconds, interspersed with three to four minutes of less intense activity, can help your metabolism. Interval training also allows you to do your workout in less time.
This workout also leads to more calories burned. That few minutes total time of vigorous exercise will keep your metabolism burning calories at a higher rate than if you had exercised at a lower rate.
- Consumer Reports: "How to Maintain Your Metabolism"
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: "Dietary Protein Is Associated With Musculoskeletal Health Independently of Dietary Pattern: The Framingham Third Generation Study"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "How Much Protein Do You Need Everyday?"
- USDA: "DRI Calculator for Health Professionals"
- PLoS Genetics: "Genetic Architecture of Human Thinness Compared to Severe Obesity"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "The Truth About Metabolism"
- Mayo Clinic: "Metabolism and Weight Loss: How You Burn Calories"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Carbohydrates"