Fatty foods may slow metabolism
After a week of delicious vacation meals, days of holiday parties filled with lots of sweets or just a few days of indulgent eating, it can be hard to get back on the healthy eating bandwagon.
Researchers at Virginia Tech University may have determined why this might be, according to a new study. They found that five days of eating fatty foods can change the way the body’s muscles absorb and process nutrients.
Study participants ate a diet consisting of 55-percent fat, and after five days the researchers found that they were not oxidizing glucose as efficiently.
“We have known for some time that excess calories can lead to excess body fat, which can lead to obesity and Type 2 diabetes,” says Rosemary Mueller, dietitian at Advocate Weight Management in Libertyville, Ill. “The more startling conclusion of this study is the speed with which biochemical changes happen with regard to metabolism.”
The study points to how the muscles themselves respond differently to this process when the body’s fat consumption is increased. This further effects how the body responds to insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas to help regulate blood sugar, Mueller explains.
As long as an individual is healthy and can exercise, Mueller recommends these habits to help increase a person’s metabolism:
- Build muscle – Incorporate strength training.
- Step up your workout – High intensity exercise delivers a bigger, longer rise in resting metabolism.
- Snack smart – Having a small meal or snack every three to four hours increases the thermic effect of food, which burns a little more calories. People who snack sensibly may even eat a little less at mealtime.
- Consider spicing it up – Spicy foods like red or green chili peppers may have a slight effect in increasing metabolic rate.
- Include lean protein for meals and snacks – Good sources include turkey, fish, white meat chicken, tofu, nuts, beans, eggs, low-fat dairy and very lean beef.
- Sip a little black coffee or green tea – Caffeine in regular coffee and caffeine along with catechins in green tea can increase metabolism for a couple of hours. Moderation is key, just sip a few cups per day.
- Avoid crash dieting if you are overweight – Calorie intake below 1,200 for women or 1,800 for men may adversely affect metabolism. If you need to lose a considerable amount of weight, seek out a medically sound program that offers a multidisciplinary approach or seek the advice of a registered dietitian.
About the Author
health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.