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On Your Table Blog

March 15, 2019

Metabolism potions and pills

Metabolism potions and pills
photo courtesy Andrew West on Pixabay

by Elizabeth Meyer, RD, LRD

I’m not one of those people who can eat what they want, work out when it’s convenient and maintain my weight. I’m still pretty salty about it even though this is not a new discovery for me. And yes, I’m jealous of those who can get away with it! What makes me even more annoyed is when I see a commercial or some click bait ad. These seem so promising. BUT, I’m here to burst your bubble, rain on your parade and just simply remind you: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

First, let’s get a little background info on metabolism. It’s basically the process of your body converting your food into energy. We all need a certain number of calories just to keep our bodies functioning. This is your Resting Metabolic Rate (the number of calories it takes to basically just lay down and let your body perform the functions it needs to perform to keep us alive – heart beating, breathing, circulating blood, and hundreds of other things). In my case this is about 1300 – its more than what we think we need. When we get up and move, just doing daily activities, this number goes up. When we exercise, this number goes up. Depending on what your goals are, this means you could (and possibly should) eat more. Of course we still need to be making good choices most of the time.

Let’s look at a few of my favorite claims:

  • Drinking lemonade/lemon water with cayenne pepper – Thanks Beyoncé for making this popular. I’m not sure why anyone would want to drink a concoction like this. It’s not going to do anything but make you cringe and probably wish you hadn’t tried it.
  • Stop eating after 6:00 p.m. – If you tried this and you lost weight, it’s probably because you cut out snacking on junk foods, or just cut out calories from cutting yourself off from food four hours earlier than you normally do. Nothing changed with your metabolism. I promise.
  • Detoxes – Don’t even get me started on these. We have kidneys and a liver for this. You don’t need to do some fancy detox. It’s a waste of money and will likely only put you in a bad mood because you are likely going to be starving!

Let me give you a little hope though. Ready for the secret?? Muscle burns more calories than fat – we know this. Working out regularly - including strength training could be something that actually works. But that means you have to put in the work, make the time, and sweat a little. There is no easy fix to be healthy or lose weight. We want to hear that there’s a special pill or drink that will make us look “better,” more toned, skinnier, the list goes on (and I’m right there with you) but it doesn’t exist. No matter how convincing the claim is. Don’t buy into it. Buy into a workout routine and foods that are just plain good for our bodies.

Elizabeth is a registered dietitian and wellness education specialist at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota. She blogs for OYT once a month.