It seems “fast metabolism” always gets the credit for the svelte bodies of the naturally in-shape; conversely, those who are struggling to lose weight often say the problem is a “slow metabolism.” But what is metabolism, and why are some faster than others?
Metabolism is the process by which your body converts food into energy. Bodies either use this fuel immediately, or store the fuel in muscle tissue, or as fat.
A few key factors determine whether you convert food into energy immediately or store calories for later. The first reason your body may be hanging on to excess calories is your basic structure. Taller people, or people who just naturally have more muscle, tend to burn more calories, even at rest, than others. Men also generally have more muscle and less fat than women, meaning that their metabolisms are faster. The final reason your metabolism may not be a fast as you’d like could be that calorie burning is a young person’s game. As we age, our bodies slow down and burn fewer calories than they did when we were in our youth.
However, while people burn calories at different rates, achieving a healthy body weight doesn’t have to be an impossible goal: in addition to a consistent exercise routine, a healthy diet can also help you lose fat and gain muscle mass; you just have to be vigilant when choosing what goes into your mouth, because those choices ultimately manifest in your body.
“Too often, our drink choices derail our diets,” says Alissa Rumsey, registered dietician and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Packing in calories as we sip sugary sodas or energy drinks is a surefire way to overload our bodies and cause them to store fuel as fat. It’s smarter to swap those empty calories for drinks that will do our bodies some good.”
According to Rumsey, we should trade sodas and sports drinks for tea and raw juices, which can aid weight loss and are also packed with antioxidants that can keep us healthier down the road.
“Research has shown that diets rich in antioxidants found in tea, fruits, and vegetables are associated with decreased risk of chronic diseases including cancer, stroke, and heart disease,” Rumsey says.
By staying focused on what you’re drinking as well as what you’re eating, you can stay healthy and kick-start weight loss. We have selected some surprising and delicious drinks to sip throughout the day to turbo-charge your metabolism.
Apple Cinnamon Water
Steeping an apple and some cinnamon in a pitcher of water creates a drink that helps to detox the body and jumpstart metabolism. Apples are one of the best fruits to eat when trying to lose weight because they contain pectin, which aids the digestive process. Cinnamon contains natural thermogenic properties to help burn calories quickly.
Beet, Carrot, and Apple Juice
Whole juices without any added sugar, such as this beet, carrot, and apple blend, aid in boosting metabolism. Plus, this combination tastes great, so you can choose a healthy drink without feeling like you’re missing out on amazing flavors.