Whether your goal is to gain weight or lose it, metabolism is something that you need to understand. The word itself is often an explanation or a justification for someone’s shape. “She can eat anything, she must have a high metabolism.” Sometimes the word is used in nutrition advice “eating 6 small meals will speed up your metabolism.”
So what is your metabolism?
The Merriam-Webster definition is : the chemical processes by which a plant or animal uses food, water, etc to grow, heal, and to make energy.
So your metabolism is the sum of all chemical processes that our bodies use to break down food into usable nutrients, convert those nutrients to energy, then use that energy for bodily functions. To make that digestible for non chemists of the world, metabolism is generally broken down into three components.
So what does a high or fast metabolism mean?
Since BMR makes up the vast majority of your metabolism when someone has a “high metabolism” they generally are saying they have a high BMR. High metabolisms require lots of energy and as a result can give people the appearance that they can eat whatever they want and not gain weight.
Six small meals vs 3 meals?
The truth here is that eating 2000 calories at once or spread out throughout the day has little to no effect on your metabolism. It takes the same amount of energy to digest and metabolize 2000 calories no matter how you distribute it.
Side Note: 6 small meals can have a positive effect on dieters who suffer cravings. Eating more frequently can help stave off hunger and cravings. It just doesn’t affect metabolism.
So how do I increase my metabolism?
In theory this is quite simple: change your body composition. Increasing lean body mass (muscle) and decreasing fat body mass (body fat) will increase your metabolism. However, in practice it is not always so easy. Here are a few tips to help you out:
Be Informed, Be Fit, Be Happy