Have you heard of ‘Metabolic Cooking’?
Is Metabolic cooking, with its claims to be a means to help you “burn fat quickly” and “stay slim,” in fact, just another weight loss gimmick? If that is what you think the following will shed some light on the matter and might be beneficial to you.
The concept of metabolic cooking is largely based on a couple of somewhat obscure but well-known properties of the human metabolism and food.
One of the ideas relates to the body’s tendency toward adaptation.
It is an indisputable fact that organisms have an incredible ability to adapt. Maybe not so well-known though, is that when it comes to adaptation we humans often adapt in a rather negative fashion.
Let me illustrate with an example.
It has been duly noted by researchers that many overweight people eat most of their food within a relatively short time each day. This unusual eating pattern motivated some of these researchers to conduct an experiment with rats.
…Alas, poor rats.
They forced the rats into unusual patterns of fasting and eating to investigate the effects of what they dubbed a “stuff and starve feeding program.”
One group of rats was allowed after their fast to eat at any time they pleased. The other group was provided more than they could possibly consume, but limited to two hours in which to eat it each day.
Lo and behold after weeks of this nonsense (well, at least from the rat’s perspective) the body weight of the restricted feed time rats increased dramatically more than the rats which could eat at will.
What is really interesting though is that the restricted feeding time rats were then allowed for several weeks to eat at will all day long. They persisted in altered, obviously unhealthy eating habits to which they had adapted.
After these researchers dissected the poor rodents they discovered that “the increased body fat is associated with increased hexose monophosphate shunt enzyme activity in liver and adipose tissue homogenates.” (That’s just a fancy way to say, the rats became obese.)
They deduced from these experiments that a process of metabolic adaptation likely makes it very difficult for obese people to break free from their unusual eating habits. This essentially keeps them from adopting a pattern of eating smaller portions throughout the day, which is recommended for weight loss.
Another, but more widely-known form of this type of adaptation is experienced by millions of would-be weight losers following strict diets.
There is typically a swift reaction by the body initially wherein pounds fall away, sometimes rapidly. Alas, in many if not most dieter’s experience this is not an apparently sustainable solution.
It is often sad that these individuals with sufficient motivation and discipline to adhere to a strict diet do not understand what is happening. This is the point where the vast majority just give up.
The body adapts to this diet and the metabolism slows down. Thus further weight loss is stymied.
Metabolic cooking offers a means to avoid this by varying the types of food eaten daily to a degree that the body cannot adapt.
Another well-known but not widely known attribute of food lies at the heart of metabolic cooking. Foods all have what is termed a thermogenic factor. This simply means that different foods take more body energy to digest. The more body energy used to digest food the more calories burned in the process.
Unfortunately, many people attempting to lose weight are totally oblivious to the thermogenic property many spices have. Spices are known to have the ability to speed up your metabolism. This is especially true of hot spices such as Cayenne pepper, which has thermogenic properties that cause an increase in metabolism evidenced by an increase in body heat.
That is why really hot foods make you sweat.
Other spices, which have demonstrable benefits in stepping up your metabolism include, but are not limited to cinnamon, mustard, turmeric and ginger.
A third major factor within metabolic cooking aimed at avoiding the not so good effects of metabolic adaptation is to consume the right nutrients at the right time.
The oft suggested plan of eating every few hours, but not a full meal deal, has definite metabolic advantages. As well, what to eat at what time of the day plays a significant role in burning calories.
For example, if you skip a meal before some relatively strenuous exercise your body will favor seeking to break down muscle for the needed energy.
In need of energy in the absence of nutrients the body tends to break down muscle in favor of stored fat because it is easier. So, you will be burning significantly less stored fat than if you had have eaten and especially, included some carbohydrates.
On the other hand if you load up on carbohydrates then take a nap your body will convert them to fat for storage. Hence, we should load up on carbs first thing in the morning, especially before a physically active day. That way we won’t be burning muscle but rather fat. On the same note carbs should be avoided later in the day.
Metabolic cooking is more an adapted style of cuisine than a dietary program, and is built upon 3 principles:
- Avoiding the pitfalls of metabolic adaptation and its fattening consequences largely by eating a wide variety of foods.
- Making good use of the well-known thermogenic properties of different types of foods to help your body burn more fat and “spice” up your life.
- Taking advantage of the current vast resources of knowledge on human metabolism to determine the best times of day to eat the various macro-nutrients essential to our health.
The concept of metabolic cooking evolved out of the “extreme fitness” trend prevalent today. It has its roots in the muscle-building arena where those in competition search for that “technical edge” in their training.
Nevertheless, it is also a very effective method of weight loss and enhancing overall fitness.
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