First of all, we should start by defining what metabolism is. It refers to all the physical and chemical processes of the body that convert or use energy such as blood circulation, regulation of body temperature, respiration, muscle contraction, digestion, functioning of the brain and nervous system and the elimination of waste. In short, they would be all the processes involved in making the body’s machine work.
It is true that calories are related to metabolism, but they are not everything. “Nutrition is not well considered, there is a lot of talk about calories and not really talk about nutrition. For example, the difference between a piece of nougat and a handful of walnuts may have the same calories, but the nutrients in the walnuts will be absorbed and burned by the body while the additives in the nougat, such as refined sugar, will not “, explains Raquel Ramírez, dietician nutritionist, specialist in metabolic action.
Part of the calories in food is transformed into energy for the body, but there is another that is stored to be used in the future. These calories are stored in the form of glycogen, which is the main form of carbohydrate storage in the body and whose main function is to be a limited source of energy. They are also stored as triglycerides, a type of fat found in the blood. Although they have to be kept in the right measure, since a high level of triglycerides increases the risk of heart and arterial diseases.
Reduce fat tissue
The main intention of accelerating the metabolism or basal metabolic rate, is to reduce fat tissue, consuming more energy. “To accelerate the metabolism you have to carry out a set of habits and diet, it is not worth just exercising”, specifies Ramírez. It must be taken into account that the resting metabolism of each person also depends on factors such as height, age or sex, that is, fixed variables that cannot be modified.
That certain values cannot be modified is not something negative, but natural, it is called homeostasis and it is the ability of the organism to maintain a stable internal condition, compensating for external changes. The human body maintains a dynamic balance, thanks to various control systems such as temperature regulation and the balance between the body’s acidity and alkalinity.
For example, if the body did not have this property, by consuming more energy than it needs, the temperature would rise with the respective danger to health, making it impossible to consume more calories than the body requires. Specifically, specialists recommend don’t skip any meals, especially breakfast, since, during the night, the body slows down and begins to function the moment something is ingested.
“A food itself does not have the ability to accelerate metabolism, although there is a set of foods that can help it to activate. You have to eat fresh food and have a very clean diet, without preservatives ”, highlights the specialist. “Avocado, nuts or cocoa are good allies,” he adds.
The key is to play sports
Taking care of the diet is an extra of the main piece in the acceleration of the metabolism, the sport. Doing physical activity it is really what is going to make the difference in terms of fat burning, since, with movement, cells consume energy to continue feeding the body’s machinery.
The muscles begin to consume glucose, thus reducing the immediate concentration in the blood. When this is not enough, the body will consume carbohydrates and fat when it enters what is called the catabolic process, a phase in which the necessary energy is produced for all the activity that takes place in the cells.
The only metabolism activator is muscle mass, the more muscle there is, the faster it is activated and the more energy it takes to fuel that muscle. In addition, even when the exercise stops suddenly, after being physically active for a while, the body continues to consume the stored energy for some time until it returns to a state of rest. It is the adaptation that generates homeostasis.
Coffee is a trap
It is true that some substances, such as caffeine, can accelerate the consumption of fats and carbohydrates, acting on various receptors that regulate energy production, but this molecule has a double face. “Coffee causes internal stress that in turn causes the body to secrete cortisol, the stress hormone. When there is an excess of it, the burning of fats is reduced ”, says the nutritionist who specializes in metabolic action.