When you type in Google “How to increase your metabolism” you get tips such as drink cold water, stand up more, lift heavy things and so on.
This is the fog we have to clear up.
Metabolism and digestion are two completely separate processes, ruled by many different, sometimes overlapping, factors.
Yet, they are often confused and mixed up.
You ate your lunch and then you do number 2.
“The food just runs through you. You have a fast metabolism.”
This is misconception number 1.
Pooping right after, or even while having a meal does not show you have a fast metabolism.
Metabolism refers to how the body cells use the energy we absorbed from food during digestion.
Metabolism is measured in calories (energy) a day to carry out all of the body’s necessary functions while at rest.
Your metabolic rate depends on age, sex, height, weight, body composition, presence of fever, and levels of various hormone levels—including thyroid and stress hormones.
Metabolism is all about enzymes, lipids, ATP, etc. All biochemistry and no poop.
Vigorous exercise can increase the resting metabolic rate for a limited time. Starvation and malnutrition can worsen it.
Caffeine, green tea, and capsaicin does not increase your metabolism.
So what is “Fast metabolism”?
On the other hand, there is digestion.
Digestion, in short is about how long it takes food to make it from the mouth all the way to the end of the colon. Digestion is measured in time units. And poop.
It is influenced through eating habits, exercise, and functional and metabolic disorders like diabetes.
Foods that speeds up digestion are high in insoluble fiber.
As the name suggests, they are not soluble in water and usually passes through digestive system faster.
Examples of such foods are bran, green and leafy vegetables, vegetable skins, seeds and fruit.
Foods high in soluble fiber, such as chia seeds, apples, oats and barley, root vegetables, etc. slows down digestion.
Speeding up transit time has nothing to do with speeding up the metabolism. Just like taking laxatives has nothing to do with increasing your metabolism.
Metabolism is preconditioned, inherited, blue printed.
You cannot change or tune up your cells to work differently.
Lets put it this way:
Train is your digestive system with transit time from point A to point B. Metabolism are people boarding and exiting the train. Each and every single person has a purpose, task and destination to be. And the result is a functioning body.
Now we know there is no such thing as “fast metabolism”. It’s fast digestive system.
But what does it happen when we say “The food just runs through you”?
It’s very simple and straightforward. It is called “gastro-colic reflex”.
What happens is, the food you just ate puts pressure to colon which moves food waste forward (peristalsis). To make room for new food you have to empty your bowel. What’s coming out is not the food you just ingested. No one’s digestive process is that fast!
Metabolic disorders and GI symptoms
There are disorders we need to address.
If you think you suffer from it, visit your doctor.
One of the many symptoms of a metabolic disorder can be a change in transit time.
Hyperthyroidism—an overactive thyroid gland—you will poop a lot more often than normal, and the stool may be loose or watery as the result of too-speedy transit.
Hypothyroidism—an underactive thyroid gland—may be prone to constipation.
Diabetes—affects how sugar is absorbed by cells into usable energy— sluggish rate of digestive transit as the result of damage to the nerves that control stomach emptying.
If you are concerned that a possible metabolic disorder could be causing you trouble, visit your doctor. He or she can check that risk with simple blood tests and refer you to an endocrinologist if needed.
Which One Do You Want to Improve Then?
“Fast metabolism” burns a lot of calories while at rest but a person could be constipated or have a slow digestive transit time.
“Slow metabolism” requires very few calories to maintain his or her body’s basic functioning at rest but a person can poop multiple times per day or suffer from chronic diarrhoea as the result of poor diet.
Clearing the fog and misunderstanding, are you looking to increase your metabolism or your digestion?
I hope you found the information that is useful to you. If you have any questions, want to share your experience or just chat on this topic, write a comment below. I’d love to hear your point of view!
Till next time,