Common Misconceptions About Metabolism and Weight Loss

Posted on by Dr. Kells', DC, Weight Loss
How To Maintain Weight Loss

Lifestyle For Weight Loss

Keeping your metabolism high is crucial for losing weight and keeping it off. There are several common lifestyle mistakes or misconceptions that may be slowing down your metabolism. If you make these mistakes on a regular basis, it could make it hard to lose weight — and even make you more prone to gain weight in the future. Let’s look at some of the common mistakes people make when attempting weight loss and how to correct them.

Calorie Consumption

It is a common misconception that decreasing your calorie intake should automatically result in weight loss. While it can be true that decreasing caloric intake can lead to weight loss, eating too few calories can cause a major decrease in metabolism. It can be counterproductive for your calorie intake to drop too low.
When you dramatically lower your calorie intake, your body senses that food is scarce and lowers the rate at which it burns calories. Even when calorie restriction is more moderate, it can still slow metabolism. If you’re going to lose weight by calorie restriction, don’t restrict your calorie intake too much or for too long. It can make weight loss and weight maintenance more difficult and can even lead to weight gain.

Failure to Consume Enough Protein

Protein consumption is extremely important for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. In addition to helping you feel satiated, high protein intake can significantly increase the rate at which your body burns calories. The increase in metabolism that occurs after digestion is called the thermic effect of food (TEF). The thermic effect of protein is much higher than that of carbs or fat. Studies show that eating protein temporarily increases metabolism by about 20–30% compared to 5–10% for carbs and 3% or less for fat. Although metabolic rate inevitably slows during weight loss and continues to be slower during weight maintenance, evidence suggests that higher protein intake can minimize this effect.

Sedentary Lifestyle

In a day and age where more and more people sit behind a desk for work, people often make the mistake in believing they merely need to restrict caloric intake to compensate for the number of calories they are not expending through activity. Lack of physical activity may lead to a significant decrease in the number of calories you burn every day and impact your overall health. Although working out or playing sports can have a major impact on the number of calories you burn, even basic physical activity, such as standing up, cleaning, and taking the stairs, can help you burn calories. This type of activity is referred to as non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT). Working at a standing desk or simply getting up to walk around several times per day can help increase your NEAT and prevent your metabolism from dropping. Try to minimize sitting and increase your general activity levels.

Lack of Restful Sleep

Lifestyle For Weight LossQuality sleep is critical for good health. Sleeping fewer hours than you need may increase your risk of a number of illnesses, including heart disease, diabetes, and depression. Several studies note that inadequate sleep may also lower your metabolic rate and increase your likelihood of weight gain. Lack of sleep is made worse by sleeping during the day instead of at night. This sleep pattern disrupts your body’s circadian rhythms, or internal clock. Getting adequate, high-quality sleep and sleeping at night rather than during the day can help preserve your metabolic rate. When a person gets too little sleep, the body releases a hormone, ghrelin, which can make a person feel hungry. It also releases less leptin, a hormone that helps a person feel full. Getting enough sleep can help ensure that these hormones remain balanced. This can prevent a person from overeating. While the right amount of sleep varies among individuals, research suggests that adults need at least 7–8 hours per night.

Consuming high sugar drinks

Sugar-sweetened drinks are detrimental to your health. High consumption is linked to various ailments, including insulin resistance, diabetes, and obesity. Many of the negative effects of sugar-sweetened beverages can be attributed to fructose. Table sugar contains 50% fructose, while high-fructose corn syrup packs 55% fructose. Frequently consuming sugar-sweetened beverages may slow down your metabolism. Eating sugar signals our bodies to produce insulin to process it, which means that your body releases the hormone in anticipation of raised sugar levels in the blood. Over time, too much insulin output can lead to insulin-resistance, weight gain, and type 2 diabetes. Research shows that excessive fructose consumption promotes increased fat storage in your belly and liver.

Lack of strength training

Many people avoid strength training for fear that it will cause them to gain more weight, when in fact, it is a great strategy to keep your metabolism from slowing. Strength training has been shown to increase metabolic rate in healthy people, as well as those who have heart disease or are overweight or obese. It will help you build muscle which in turn does help increase your metabolism. Muscle burns a much higher percentage of calories at rest with an estimated 50 calories per day. Whereas body fat is much lower in calorie expenditure on a per day basis. Having a higher amount of fat-free mass significantly increases the number of calories you burn at rest. Even minimal amounts of strength training can boost energy expenditure.

Ways to Boost Metabolism

A person’s metabolism is the rate at which their body burns calories for energy. The speed of metabolism depends on a variety of factors, including age, sex, body fat, muscle mass, activity level, and genetics. While a person has no control over the genetic aspects of their metabolism, there are some ways to help speed up the rate at which the body processes calories.

  • Eat regular small meals throughout the day
  • Do strength training
  • Consume an adequate number of calories
  • Drink plenty of water


  • Reduce stress
  • Get enough sleep
  • Consume foods rich in Vitamin B
  • Drink more green tea


One of the keys to weight loss is understanding how the body works and understanding that metabolism plays a heavy role in the way the body uses and stores calories. Proper nutrition, sleep and activity can significantly impact how the body performs and its ability to maintain your weight loss goals.

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