Metabolism is one of the keys to efficient weight loss and general health. As noted by Lyssie Lakatos and Tammy Lakatos Shames in their book, "Fire Up Your Metabolism: 9 Proven Principles for Burning Fat and Losing Weight Forever," many diets are unsuccessful because they only target immediate weight loss, without considering the diet's effect on metabolism. To truly gain control of your weight, a healthy metabolism must be fostered. In addition to lifestyle changes, there are supplements available to speed metabolic rate. However, their efficiency is debated, and many produce undesirable side effects.
What is Metabolism?
Lakatos and Shames sum up the meaning of metabolism quite well: "Simply, metabolism is the way your body uses calories from the food you eat. The speed at which it does so is your metabolic rate." A person with a high metabolism will lose weight quickly, whereas someone with a lower metabolism will have a more difficult time shedding pounds. Whether a person has a low or high metabolic rate depends on various factors, such as genetics, lifestyle and diet. The extent of the influence of each of these factors is still being studied. As noted in dietitian.com's online article, "Metabolism and Your Metabolic Rate," men often have higher metabolic rates than women, due to increased testosterone production.
Artificial supplements that speed metabolism are often advertised as metabolism boosters, or simply as diet pills. These supplements claim to aid in weight loss, increase energy levels and decrease sleep problems.
Types of Metabolism Supplements
Supplements can be natural or artificial. Exercise caution when choosing an artificial supplement (in the form of a pill), as some use ingredients that are not FDA approved (in particular, animal thyroid). Dietawarenessinstitute.org provides a helpful list of the top four most effective diet pills. These include MetaboSpeed, Adipex-P, Certiphene, and Lipo 6.
Natural supplements are also available. Some foods that boost metabolism include green tea, garlic, apple cider vinegar, chili, mustard, complex carbohydrates and proteins.
Over-the-counter supplements may have undesirable side effects, such as diarrhea, heart rate increase, sweating, nervousness and twitching, tremors, and bulging eyes.
In January of 2005, the Mayo Clinic undertook a fascinating study of patients who claim to have low metabolism, led by Dr. James Levine, an endocrinologist. Patients who were obese due to what they called 'low metabolism' were less active than normal patients, even after losing weight. This study suggested that, rather than obesity causing low metabolism, a low metabolic rate could in fact cause obesity. The study provided major headway in the study of metabolism and obesity. According to Dr. Levine, the study demonstrates that "the calories that people burn in their everyday activities are far, far more important in obesity than we previously imagined." Perhaps the best metabolism supplement is regular activity.
- Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Jason Rogers
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