Exposed & Solved: 7 metabolism myths busted!

Yes, "Exposed & Solved" is back with another episode. This time it's all about metabolic myths.

Before we jump right into it, let me quickly explain what metabolism actually is, in order to give you the full picture.

Basically, metabolism describes all the chemical processes that go on inside our bodies to keep us alive and our organs function properly, which requires energy. The minimum amount of energy our bodies need is called basal metabolic rate (BMR).

People have different BMRs. Body size, age, gender and genes play a huge role in determining your metabolic rate. Furthermore, muscle cells require more energy to maintain than fat cells. Hence people with more muscles have a higher BMR.

Now, let's get to the myths.

1. Eating 6 small meals throughout the day will kick start your metabolism

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Bro-science alert! This one's been around for quite a long time - too long if you ask me. Absolute nonsense! The only benefit you can get from eating many small meal is to handle your cravings and practice portion control.

The actual idea behind this myth is that for everything we eat, we burn some of these calories by digesting food. This is called thermic effect of food (TEF). Hence, if you eat more often, you burn more calories because your body has to digest more often.

The problem with this theory is, that the TEF is a certain percentage. So it doesn't matter if you eat once or 6 times per day, 10% of your calories is 10%.

And your metabolism will not fall asleep, just because you don't eat for a few hours. Our species would be extinct by now, if that were the case!

Weight loss is all about a caloric deficit, so don't worry if you can't manage to eat every 3 hours.

2. As you lose weight, your metabolism increases

Utter nonsense! Smaller people typically need fewer calories to maintain their weight, than larger people. One exception is a smaller person that has significantly more lean muscle tissue than a bigger person.

However, the more weight you lose the more your caloric needs decrease.

3. Juice cleanses and detoxes revitalise and jump start your metabolism

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Let me get this straight: Those "cleanses" and "detoxes" do nothing.

At the beginning of a cleanse you will feel energised, due to the high sugar content of the juices. But soon you will experience a "crash", because your body wants to save energy, since it doesn't get enough nutrients.

Being on a 500-calorie-per-day-diet forces your body to break down muscle tissue to use it for energy, in order to function properly. Less muscle tissue means a lower BMR.

4. Your metabolism slows down as you age

This one's partly true. A slower metabolism as we age isn't a must, though. Yes, your metabolic rate will decrease a tiny bit due the increased muscle loss as you grow older, but only if you become less active.

If you want to avoid that age-related drop, simply start weightlifting and stay active. Weightlifting provides also many other benefits, such as an increased bone mass and density, a reduced resting blood pressure and reduced back pain.

5. Metabolism slows down at night

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Nope, your metabolism doesn't stop working at night. If this would be the case, you wouldn't even get out of bed in the morning.

Remember that your metabolism consists of all the chemical reactions in your body. This includes maintaining ideal body temperature and cell repair, which don't just switch of when your head meets the pillow.

6. You have no control over your metabolism

WRONG! Again, muscle mass and body composition have a critical impact on determining your metabolic rate. If your body composition changes, so does your metabolism.

Hence, you can control your metabolic rate through resistance training to build lean muscle mass.

7. Everything you eat late at night turns into fat

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It really doesn't matter WHEN you eat, but WHAT and HOW MUCH you eat. So many magazines preach this "Don't eat carbs after 6pm"-crap. Don't believe it!

Losing weight at a sustainable pace means being in a caloric deficit over several weeks, which leads to a gradual release of excess stored fat. The calories you eat are balanced against the number of calories you burn. It's that simple.

The time of the day you consume these calories doesn't affect the long-term process. Therefore, just not eating after 6pm does not guarantee any weight loss.

Did I miss a myth? If so, please let me know in the comment section down below!

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