6 Mistakes That Slow Down Your Metabolism
Keeping your metabolism high is crucial for losing weight and keeping it off. However, several common lifestyle mistakes may slow down your metabolism.
On a regular basis, these habits could make it hard to lose weight and even make you more prone to gain weight in the future.
Here are 6 lifestyle mistakes that can slow down your metabolism.
1. Eating too few calories
Eating too few calories can cause a major decrease in metabolism. Although a calorie deficit is one way that weight loss can be achieved, it can be counterproductive for your calorie intake to drop too low.
When you dramatically lower your calorie intake, your body senses that food is scarce and lowers the rate at which it burns calories.
Even when calorie restriction is more moderate, it can still slow metabolism.
It's best not to engage in any kind of VLCD (very low calorie diet) and focus on eating the right kinds of food and getting moderate exercise.
2. Skimping on protein
Eating enough protein is extremely important for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. In addition to helping you feel full, high protein intake can significantly increase the rate at which your body burns calories.
The increase in metabolism that occurs after digestion is called the thermic effect of food (TEF).
The thermic effect of protein is much higher than that of carbs or fat. Indeed, studies indicate that eating protein temporarily increases metabolism by about 20-30% compared to 5-10% for carbs and 3% or less for fat.
Although metabolic rate can slow during weight loss, evidence suggests that higher protein intake can minimize this effect.
3. Leading a sedentary lifestyle
Being sedentary may lead to a significant decrease in the number of calories you burn every day. Many people have lifestyles that mainly involve sitting at work, which can have negative effects on metabolic rate and overall health. You've probably heard the expression:
"Sitting is the new smoking!"
Although working out or playing sports can have a major impact on the number of calories you burn, even basic physical activity, such as standing up, cleaning, and taking the stairs, can help you burn calories. This type of activity is referred to as non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT).
One study found that a high amount of NEAT could burn up to 2,000 additional calories per day. However, such a dramatic increase is not realistic for most people. Working at a standing desk or simply getting up to walk around several times per day can help increase your NEAT and prevent your metabolism from dropping.
4. Not getting enough high-quality sleep
Sleep is extremely important for good health.
Sleeping fewer hours than you need may increase your risk of a number of illnesses, including heart disease, diabetes, and depression.
Several studies note that inadequate sleep may also lower your metabolic rate and increase your likelihood of weight gain.
One study found that healthy adults who slept 4 hours per night for 5 nights in a row experienced a 2.6% decrease in resting metabolic rate, on average. Their rate returned to normal after 12 hours of uninterrupted sleep.
Lack of sleep is made worse by sleeping during the day instead of at night. This sleep pattern disrupts your body's circadian rhythms, or internal clock.
Getting adequate, high-quality sleep and sleeping at night rather than during the day can help preserve your metabolic rate.
5. Drinking sugary beverages
Sugar-sweetened drinks are detrimental to your health. High consumption is linked to various ailments, including insulin resistance, diabetes, and obesity.
Many of the negative effects of sugar-sweetened beverages can be attributed to fructose. Table sugar contains 50% fructose, while high-fructose corn syrup packs 55% fructose.
Frequently consuming sugar-sweetened beverages can slow down your metabolism.
In a 12-week controlled study, overweight and obese people who consumed 25% of their calories as fructose-sweetened beverages on a weight-maintaining diet experienced a significant drop in metabolic rate.
Steer clear of drinks containing sugar, as much as possible, including fruit juices - which are often presented as being healthy.
6. A lack of strength training
Working out with weights is a great strategy to keep your metabolism from slowing.
Strength training has been shown to increase metabolic rate in healthy people, as well as those who have heart disease or are overweight or obese. It increases muscle mass, which makes up much of the fat-free mass in your body. Having a higher amount of fat-free mass significantly increases the number of calories you burn at rest.
Even minimal amounts of strength training appear to boost energy expenditure. In contrast, not doing any strength training can cause your metabolic rate to decline, especially during weight loss and aging.
Engaging in lifestyle behaviors that slow down your metabolism can lead to weight gain over time. It's best to avoid or minimise them as much as possible.
That said, many simple activities can boost your metabolism to help you lose weight and keep it off.