It’s one of the most frustrating dilemmas of aging – a sluggish metabolism. Unfortunately, as we age, we burn fewer calories a day. But don’t despair; there are easy ways to stoke your fat-burning potential. Here are three simple tips for cranking up your internal flame.
We all know that our energy declines as we age, and we have probably heard that our “metabolism slows.” But what does this mean in terms of premature aging and illness? Your energy metabolism is spread throughout your whole body. Every living cell in your body makes its own energy locally by combining oxygen from your blood with sugars and fats that are also delivered by your blood. These are combined in the “mitochondria” of each cell to make ATP, a form of energy your cells use to live. As a result of aging, energy metabolism degrades and becomes less effective. And why does this matter? Basically, this means that every cell in your body has less energy to do its job. And your organs have less energy to do their jobs. For instance, your liver has less energy so it detoxifies less. Your kidneys have less energy so they purify less. Your digestive system has less energy so it digests less. Your immune system has less energy so it protects you less. Your heart has less energy so it beats less strongly. And of course your brain, which consumes up to 25% of your total energy, thinks and remembers …
At this writing, plenty of Americans – in the East, Midwest and even the South — are enduring the winter of 2014-2015 chills. And so what do we do when the mercury plummets? Turn up the thermostat, of course! You see, we modern Americans have been programed to crank up the heat in the winter.
Cracking the code on aging remains one of the biggest challenges in science today. As recently as a decade ago, the general aging theory focused on the oxidative stress model. Basically, the idea was that aging is due to the sustained accumulation of cellular damage and a lifetime of reactive oxygen species and free radicals coursing through our veins.
There is something deeply primal about feeling hungry. However, from biological and psychological standpoints, the cause of that gnawing feeling is anything but simple. Indeed, it is a puppet with many masters.
Why is it that right after you eat that sweet desert, handful of dried fruit or heaping helping of mashed potatoes, your hunger rebounds with a vengeance?
Understandably, crash diets have long been popular with those who yearn to lose weight fast. There is no argument that starvation will result in weight loss. But what happens when we induce a metabolic starvation mode? And why do crash diets fail?
Recently, conflicting information has emerged on the topic of fasting, starvation and weight gain. On the one hand, there is the ‘starvation myth’ based on the theory that starving oneself to lose weight can cause weight gain. However, on the other hand, there is now compelling new research showing the beneficial effects of caloric restriction, e.g., weight loss, decreased oxidative stress, inflammation, and increased longevity.
Did you know that the typical adult gains between five and eight pounds in the short interval between Thanksgiving and New Year’s? It’s true! For many people, this signals a time for giving up on healthy eating practices.
I, for one, take little comfort in the recommendation to “age gracefully.” Is that really the only respectable action we can take when faced with the seemingly inevitable decline in mental and physical activity as we get older? Or is there evidence that we may be able to slow-down, possibly even reverse, some of those uninvited changes?