Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Ten Ways to Cut Down Fat

    It's one of nature's cruelest jokes: Some women can scarf down any mega calorie food that they want and not gain a single gram, while the rest of us only have to look at a cheeseburger to feel our jeans tighten.

    Yeah, it's hard not to envy those eat what-they-want chicks, especially when it comes to their bodies metabolism: The biochemical process that converts food into calories and then burns them off as energy. They seem to be blessed with one that's fast and efficient, something we've been told we can't control. But you can, as research shows. Though you won't go from someone with a slow-as-a-sloth metabolism to being an instant calorie incinerator, there are ways you can optimise the metabolism you were born with. How? With little tricks that help your body burn calories faster while you're at play and at rest, explains Madelyn H. Fernstrom, Ph.D., professor and director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Weight Management Center, US and author of The Runner's Diet. And nope, none of them involve weird diets, insane workouts, bizarre supplements, or going hungry.

    Whether you're trying to lose a few pounds or you want to maintain your current weight yet be able to eat more, check out these research-backed tips. You can decide to adopt a few or all nine either way, you'll see results. Have a Cool Drink Being dehydrated slows all your body functions, including metabolism, says Leslie J. Bonci, M.P.H., R.D., director of sports-medicine nutrition at the University of Pitts burgh Medical Center. So drink at least eight glasses of water each day. And make them icy: Drinking cold water may further up your ability to burn calories.

    Dine Exotically
    Chili pepper and mustard seed-two spices often found in Thai, Mexican, Chinese, and Indian cuisines-can help your body burn extra calories, thanks to a com pound in each called capsaicin, says Fernstrom. One study found that when people consumed nearly one tea spoon of mustard and almost one teaspoon of chili sauce, their metabolism surged an average of 25 percent. Order spicy Thai chicken or a vindaloo curry, which contain these spices. Adding that spicy taste and sensation to your meal may help keep you from overeating, says Bonci.

    Savour Tea or Java
    Research suggests that EGCG, an antioxidant in some hot or iced teas, can kick-start your body's engine. One study showed that when women consumed 300 grams-about the size of a mug-of oolong or green tea, their metabolism increased by 10 percent and 4 percent, respectively, for two hours. Tea also contains caffeine, which gives your metabolism a slight nudge. Other caffeine-rich options are coffee, energy drinks, and some sodas.

    Where Do the Calories Go?
    Between 60 and 70 percent of the calories needed for your resting metabolic rate go toward sustaining your heartbeat, breathing, and major organs like the brain and kidneys. The other 30 to 40 percent help maintain body tissues and muscle mass.

    Pump Iron
    Another muscle-mass booster (and thus calorie burner) is resistance training: Working with free weights or weight machines. After 10 weeks of basic strength-training two or three times a week, your resting metabolic rate could go up by six percent, so you'd burn an extra 75 to 100 calories per day, says Westcott. To build muscle, do at least one set (i.e., 12 to 15 reps) of exercises per 30-minute workout targeting your thighs, back, abs, shoulders, arms, and calves. Try to work up to two to three sets per session .

    Chow Down First Thing
    "After eight or so hours of not eating, your metabolism is stalled," explains Molly Kimball, R.D., CSSD, sports dietitian at Ochsners' Elmwood Fitness Center in New Orleans, US. "Breakfast is the fuel that will stoke your metabolism again ." A smart morning meal should have a 50-30-20 ratio: 50 percent complex carbohydrates, 30 percent protein, and 20 percent fat. No time? C'mon, even the busiest chick can whip up something. Think peanut butter on whole-wheat toast or cottage cheese and fruit . If you're super crunched, make a smoothie or parfait with low-fat yogurt, protein powder, fruit, and nuts.

    Load Up on the Bs
    "B vitamins are the oil that greases the wheels of your metabolic engine," says Mark Hyman, M.D., of the Institute for Functional Medicine, and author of Ultra metabolism . " If you can't get these five from your diet, take a multivitamin."

    Pile On the Protein
    Protein is a powerful calorie torcher. First, digesting protein takes more energy than digesting carbs or fat does, says Kimball. Also, consuming protein helps you build and maintain muscle mass, and the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, even at rest. In addition, eating protein makes you absorb sugar more slowly, so your blood sugar doesn't soar- and then plunge-after a sugary snack . So try to get 30 percent of your daily calories from protein-rich foods: Think lean fish, beef, and poultry; skim milk; nonfat yogurt; eggs; beans; and nuts.

    Eat Often,
    Just Smaller You would think that drastically cutting back on your daily calorie intake would be the secret to melting away pounds. After all, the less you ingest, the fewer calories your body has to torch, right? But it doesn't work that way. Scaling down your caloric count too severely tricks your system into thinking that food is scarce, prompting your metabolism to freeze…and your body to hang on to its fat preserves. On the other hand, if you eat more often rather than less, your metabolism gets fired up and stays elevated all day long, burning calories. "The very act of eating gets your metabolism going because your body has to break down the food during digestion, and that requires energy," says Bonci. By consuming five or so smaller, 300-to-500-calorie healthy meals about every four hours, your metabolism will chug along strong all day long without stalling, explains Dr Hyman.Read More
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