The 3rd in our series of Fitness Fundamentals, about which there is a plethora of myths and not a huge amount of factual understanding, is METABOLISM. This is a fascinating yet poorly understood topic, and one that we all need to get if we are to be truly successful and healthy.
You may have heard how some superfoods or diets will “kickstart your metabolism” like a magic bullet and change your life. Well… It’s simply not true. If you prefer to think of it as an alternative theory or alternative fact, then I wouldn’t bother wasting your time reading any more of this blog!
Every year, particularly at the beginning of the New Year, we are bombarded with generic advice, much of which is solely based on economic gain (not yours), and which doesn’t have a thread of evidence to support it. Let’s be honest with ourselves folks, you cannot form an educated opinion without solid, scientific facts. Food companies peddle nonsense to support the so-called health benefits of their products because hitherto, there hasn’t been any evidence to prove categorically otherwise, and because it’s probably good for business. And even if they are “healthy” they might not be for you.
In recent years there have been some advancement in understanding metabolism and how it’s much more complex than we thought.
You are NOT AVERAGE. You are SPECIAL!
Everyone is unique blah blah blah… I know you like to wear what everyone else wears and you have an iPhone just like another billion suckers but you really are special when it comes to how you respond to the foods you eat.
Have you ever had an annoying friend, who eats what they want but they never get fat, whilst you have to starve yourself to stay the same size? Well, now we know why. Metabolism, our genetic makeup and the bacteria in our gut are the most significant factors in determining our weight and our response to food and exercise stimuli, and we have very little control on how well we respond to these.
A fascinating study is currently ongoing, pioneered by Professor Tim Spector (a brilliant man, heavily involved in genetic epidemiology, including Covid-19), who has pioneered the Twin Study and Zoe Project (https://joinzoe.com/), which studies how people respond to foods to better understand our genetic make-up, microbiomes and lifestyle in relation to metabolism, diet, weight, obesity and metabolic disease.
The study revealed that apart from eating plants and avoiding processed foods, there is no such thing as a healthy diet covering all people, which is both very exciting and exhausting for anyone who just wants to simply understand what is healthy and what isn’t. The twin study also reveals significant differences between genetically identical, identical twins.
What you need to know:
What factor effects your metabolism?
1. Your dietary habits & lifestyle
2. How your body copes with sugar & fat
3. What gut biomes you have and how those metabolise your food choices
4. Your activity levels
The truth is ALL OF THE ABOVE! The only way to know where you stand on the above is to get these markers tested. Why not register with the Predict Study via https://joinzoe.com/ or get your blood tested for the above markers. Gut biome analysis as well as diet habits can be done through some specialised nutritionists.
We know that a balanced diet with plenty of plant-based foods is a good choice. We also know that processed and fast-food isn’t. You already have the knowledge to make better choices for yourself.
Activity, activity, activity
So important, I had to say it thrice.
Any activity is better than none and activity is the single consistent element that you can control. The more you do, the more your metabolism will be maintained at a level that means a successful and healthy life, and more of an appreciation of the person looking back at you in the mirror.
Don’t let lockdown or the cold freeze you into inactivity – Get and stay active!
So strap on those shoes, hop on the bike, pavement or mat, and get busy reclaiming your metabolism.