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Published on July 26, 2017

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3 common myths about your metabolism

"Metabolism" is a popular buzzword—especially when it comes to talking about body weight. I frequently hear misconceptions about what metabolism is and the belief that "mine must be broken" if you are having difficulty achieving a normal weight. A thin person is assumed to naturally have a fast metabolism, while an overweight person must have a slower metabolism. But is this the case?

Before I debunk some common myths about metabolism, let me define it for you: metabolism is the process by which our bodies convert the calories we consume into energy to function. Think of it like a furnace that powers everything we require in order to survive. Now, here are the facts to three common myths about metabolism:

Myth #1: I can't change my metabolism

Fact: Genetics do play a role in determining our metabolic rates, but so do eating and exercise habits. Eating in a structured manner by spacing meals and snacks out about every 3-5 hours throughout your day supports a healthier metabolism. The opposite is also true: skipping meals, especially breakfast, means a slower metabolism.

Since muscle burns more calories than fat, a leaner and more muscular body requires more calories to function than a body with a higher percentage of fat. You can achieve a healthier balance of lean muscle and fat by incorporating regular exercise and strength training into your routine.

Myth #2: I can eat certain foods or take a supplement to speed up my metabolism

Fact: I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but there is no magical food or supplement that will speed up metabolism. There have been studies that show green tea and spicy peppers may temporarily boost metabolic rates, but the difference is pretty insignificant. Eating food every morning shortly after waking will fire up your metabolism for the day, and eating a structured and balanced diet of vegetables, fruits, proteins and whole grains is the key to keeping that "fire" burning throughout the day.

There isn't any evidence supporting the use of supplements to boost metabolism either. These products aren't FDA-regulated, so you never know what you're ingesting. Save your money and don't take the risk of adverse side-effects.

Myth #3: Eating past 7 p.m. will ruin my metabolism

Fact: Eating a snack at 7:01 p.m. will not ruin your metabolism. However, eating throughout the evening hours when not physically hungry will likely result in a large amount of calories consumed when your body did not ask for it. It's the extra calories that cause weight gain.

If you go to sleep around 9 p.m., not eating past 7:00 may be a good idea to reduce incidence of reflux and help you sleep comfortably. But if you go to bed at midnight, chances are you will be going to bed hungry if you don't eat past 7:00.

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