Insulin may be best known as the hormone responsible for fat and weight gain. Although that’s true, there’s another hormone that’s just as influential when it comes to your body’s ability to control weight and burn fat known as leptin.
Leptin is a hormone you may have heard of before since it’s intricately related to insulin. In fact, leptin works opposite to insulin – insulin stores fat and leptin burns fat. Interestingly, what influences leptin is the amount of fat you have on your body. The more fat you have the more leptin will be available, so you can burn off the fat.
Everyone’s fat, metabolism, carbohydrates, and proteins work at a different rate, which explains why some people can eat pizza and burgers every day and not gain a pound, while others diet and count calories and can’t lose weight.
Just because you have a slow metabolism, doesn’t mean you should give up. There are several ways to increase your body’s metabolism, including:
Reduce the carbohydrates you eat
The first step in burning extra fat is to reduce your carbohydrate consumption to a minimum. You shouldn’t eat more than 15 or 20 grams per day.
This way your body can’t use glucose or sugar as a source of energy. It then goes into a different state where it gets the energy it needs to function from fatty acids and fats you have stored.
Get your omega-3’s
Why does eating lots of fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, herring, and tuna) help amp up metabolism? Omega-3s balance blood sugar and reduce inflammation, helping to regulate metabolism. They may also reduce resistance to the hormone leptin, which researchers have linked to how fast fat is burned.
A study in Obesity Research found rats that ingested large doses of fish oil while exercising lost weight. Take omega-3 fatty acid supplements; Hyman recommends 1,000 to 2,000 milligrams per day. Hate the fishy after-burp? Try flaxseed oil, walnuts, or eggs fortified with omega-3s.
Guzzle your water cold
Chase your morning joe with an ice-cold glass of H2O. Researchers at the University of Utah found that volunteers who drank eight to 12 eight-ounce glasses of water per day had higher metabolic rates than those who quaffed only four glasses. Your body may burn a few calories heating the cold water to your core temperature, says Madelyn Fernstrom, Ph.D., founder, and director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Weight Management Center.
Make some muscle
Not only does muscle weigh more than fat, but it uses more energy, too. The average woman in her 30s who strength-trains 30 to 40 minutes twice a week for four months will increase her resting metabolism by 100 calories a day. That means you’re resetting your thermostat to keep running at that rate even on the days when you don’t make it to the gym.
Additionally, turn to (green) tea
Green tea has long been heralded for its antioxidant polyphenols. But new evidence shows the active ingredient, catechin, may crank up metabolism. Researchers conducted a series of studies in dieters and found that those who went green lost more weight than those who didn’t, suggesting that catechins may improve fat oxidation and thermogenesis, your body’s production of energy, or heat, from digestion. But how much do you have to drink? According to one study, if you drink five eight-ounce cups of green tea a day, you can increase your energy expenditure by 90 calories a day. Sounds like a lot of tea, but it’s not hard to do if you also drink it iced.