Everything You Need to Know About Metabolism



Metabolism. It’s a word many of us have heard for most of our adult lives, but so much of the information we’ve received about it is probably confusing at best and inaccurate (or plain false) at worst.

What is metabolism?

Metabolism is the bodily process of converting the food we eat and the beverages we drink into energy. Since our bodies require energy for everything from walking and talking to digestion and sleep, metabolism is a critical process that plays a huge role in how our bodies function.

Because our bodies are all different, some people have a more efficient metabolism than others. These differences in metabolism among individuals are how the concept of “fast” and “slow” metabolisms came about.

3 ways metabolism happens

Metabolism happens through three processes:

1. Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR): BMR is the number of calories your body burns to keep it functioning while at rest. BMR actually accounts for the largest number (65-75 percent) of total calories your body burns throughout the day.

2. Thermic Effect of Food (TEF): TEF is the energy your body needs to digest, absorb, transport and store the food you eat. It accounts for approximately another 10 percent of the total calories your body burns in a day.

3. The Thermic Effect of Exercise (TEE): TEE is the energy you need to perform active movements like running, walking, biking, stretching, lifting, doing housework and so on. It accounts for the rest of the calories you burn in a day.

Foods that can boost metabolism 

Whether you have a “slow” or a “fast” metabolism, there are things you can do to help your body burn calories more efficiently. As you might be able to guess based on the descriptions of TEF and TEE above, the types of foods you eat and the amount of movement you do can help. Here we’ll focus on TEF by suggesting a few foods and drinks you can consume to boost your metabolism.

1. Water

Hydration plays a big role in maintaining an efficient metabolism. Drinking enough water each day is an easy way to help your body metabolize food for a short period of time. Researchers note that a majority of the increase in metabolism from drinking water is due to the additional calories needed to bring the water up to body temperature.

2. Coffee

Several studies have reported that the caffeine found in coffee can help increase metabolism. However, the effects appear to vary from person to person, based on characteristics like body weight and age.

3. Tea

Not a coffee drinker? Don’t worry — tea can also provide a metabolism boost! The combination of caffeine and catechins found in tea (specifically oolong and green tea) may work to increase metabolism. However, as with coffee, the effects may vary from person to person.

4. Protein-Rich Foods

Foods that are high in protein, such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy, legumes, nuts and seeds, could help increase metabolism for a few hours since they require your body to use more energy to digest them. Research shows that protein-rich foods increase TEF the most.

5. Spicy Foods

Certain spices are thought to contain beneficial metabolism-boosting properties. Three specific spices that have been shown to increase metabolism in research studies include ginger, grains of paradise and cayenne pepper. Additionally, chili peppers contain capsaicin, a chemical that may slightly boost your metabolism by increasing the calories and fat you burn. It’s important to note, however, that many people can’t tolerate these spices at the doses required to have a significant effect on metabolism.

While the specific effects each of these will have on metabolism will typically vary based the amount consumed and by the individual, they’re worth giving a shot — especially since these foods and drinks can provide other health benefits to boot!

Quick Stress Relievers for a Healthier New Year

A new year means setting goals, and 2016 is no exception. As you welcome that promotion or shedding those extra pounds, however, it’s almost inevitable that new demands on your time and attention will increase. The result? You may be feeling a little additional stress even as you celebrate your success.

Stress can impact your health from your immune system to your hormones and weight, so remembering a few quick stress relievers is a worthwhile investment for a healthier 2016.

quick stress relievers


Don’t hold your breath. Stress tends to inhibit your breathing patterns, so make a conscious effort to breathe deeply. Here’s how it’s done: place one hand about an inch above your navel, and count to four as you inhale. Feel your tummy expand to be sure you’re breathing from your diaphragm rather than your chest. With increased oxygen, your body will start to relax.

Color. Think coloring books are just for kids? Think again. Adult coloring books have boomed in the past year or so after studies documented their effectiveness in reducing stress. With detailed, grown-up patterns, these gorgeous craft books are a quick and inexpensive way to de-stress anywhere you go.

Enjoy a cup of tea. Whether it’s black, green or chamomile, brewing a hot cup of tea is shown to have positive effects on the brain’s neurotransmitters. Making a cup of tea is easy to do anywhere from work to home—or pour it into a thermos for a stress-free commute.

Take it outside. One of the best ways to beat your stress? Heading outdoors. Light activity like a quick walk is known to boost your mood, and if you can’t seem to quiet your busy brain, an informative and engrossing podcast is a great alternative to music.

One of the most important resolutions you can make this year is to take care of the whole you, and that includes managing your stress levels. With a few easy tricks that won’t place additional burdens on your time, you’re well on your way to a healthier 2016.

To learn more about a new healthier you, contact Dallas Weight Loss Surgeon, Dr. Dirk Rodriguez today!

What foods should I eat after bariatric surgery?

15667114_mThe dos and don’ts of eating a balanced diet are fairly well-known: lean proteins, nutrient-packed veggies, low-fat dairy products and whole grains help maintain a balanced diet that keeps you trim and gives you the energy you need. From grab-and-go yogurts to single-serving packages of nuts, healthy foods are easy to incorporate into your routine.

But what about those who have recently undergone bariatric surgery? As your body heals from weight loss surgery, a balanced diet becomes more important (and, at first, more overwhelming) than ever. Luckily, with the help of expert advice and a few specially formulated supplements, following your post-op diet will become second nature.

Gastric Bypass

The Gastric bypass procedure reduces the size of your stomach and other parts of the digestive system, making portion control crucial to recovery. Shortly after surgery, you’ll be limited to clear liquids and broths that will ease your digestive system back into its functional role. Sip slowly and drink only 2 to 3 ounces of liquid at a time.

As you begin to tolerate clear liquids, you’ll be able to introduce thicker liquids or pureed foods. How can you meet your dietary requirements for protein, calcium and more? Try options like non-fat yogurt, cottage cheese or protein powders before gradually introducing items like hot cereals, lean ground meats or fish or pureed veggies. As you gradually add more to your diet, remember to keep meal portions small, and eat often throughout the day. Dr. Dirk’s own nutrition store offers a series of post-op calcium kits that ensure you’re getting what you need to keep up your bone density as you recover from surgery.

Gastric Sleeve

What’s life like after gastric sleeve surgery? While the timeframe for your post-operative diet may vary, the general principle behind the foods that you’re advised to eat remains the same as above: begin with clear liquids, and introduce thick liquids or pureed foods slowly. You’ll likely start with clear liquids, and move to liquids plus protein in the form of fat-free yogurt, thin applesauce or strained cream soup. As your body begins to tolerate more and different foods, you’ll begin to add soft vegetables, mashed fruit, scrambled eggs and other items like hummus. Finally, after about four weeks, you can expect to move towards a diet that includes solid foods in small amounts. Dr. Dirk’s post-op calcium kits are recommended for patients recovering form sleeve surgery, as well.

Lap Band

Eating after Lap Band Surgery is not as not as difficult as it seems. Once again, gradual introduction of new foods and tight portion control is the name of the game. A diet of clear liquids will progress to a “full liquid diet,” including protein shakes and soups. Soon, you’ll be working your way up to pureed foods at around two weeks post-op, a stage that will continue until you’ve recovered for about a month.

Finally, it’s on to soft solids (think fish, beans and other nutrient-dense foods), carefully introducing new foods one at a time. Be sure to include your calcium kit, formulated specifically for those recovering from lap-band surgery.

Your new diet may seem overwhelming at first, but if you keep the basic principles in mind, it will begin to make sense. Training your body to eat in smaller portions will become the new norm as you adapt to a healthy lifestyle and maintain an ideal weight.