Patients who tend to eat food high in refined sugars and/or saturated fat, food with poor nutritional value or those ones who are on a very restrictive caloric diet on a regular basis tend to have slower metabolism. When you are not eating enough calories to meet your RMR, your metabolism slows down to conserve energy, and your body naturally responds by storing fat for future use. Crash diets cause muscle and water mass loss, rather than fat, slowing down your metabolism. Also, patients eating a non-balanced diet can have a deficiency of vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids. The deficit of these macronutrients and micronutrients can affect the rate of our metabolism. To maintain your metabolism or change it for the better, eat a well-balanced diet, rich in complex carbohydrates, lean meats, low or non-fat dairy and healthy monounsaturated fats. Supplementation with whole food vitamins and minerals are encouraged to keep your metabolism up and running. Emotional stress causes your level of the hormone cortisol to rise, which can harm your metabolism. Increased cortisol levels can cause you to overeat, therefore, causing weight gain (fat gain). Often, individuals affected by life or emotional stressors could benefit from a regular exercise routine, helping release natural “feel good” brain chemicals (endorphins). Consult your physician if your symptoms are worsening or you feel that you need professional intervention. Individuals who are having accumulative sleep deprivation may be affecting their RMR. Chronic insomnia can cause a dysregulation of certain hormones (cortisol, insulin and leptin). Insulin is a hormone that tells your body to store fat. Sleep deprivation appears to have a harmful impact on carbohydrate metabolism. When carbohydrates are not metabolized properly, your blood sugar levels increase. High blood sugar levels spike insulin levels, signaling your body to store unused energy as fat. A research study examined the effects of leptin, a protein involved in appetite control and the sensation of satiety. “Subjects who participated in the study showed reduced levels of leptin during the period of sleep deprivation, and returned toward normal during the period of recovery sleep, suggesting that sleep may play an important role in metabolic regulation and possibly the etiology of obesity and the night-eating syndrome”. The metabolic rate can be affected by some drugs, such as antidepressants, diabetic medications, steroids, anti-thyroid agents and hormone therapies. Talk with your doctor if you suspect that a medicine is causing weight gain.
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